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The most recent PRINTING United Expo was held in Las Vegas from October 19-21. Being held in person after a few years without (for obvious reasons), Keypoint Intelligence was very excited to attend and see how the market has changed. As such, we sent several our principal analysts and upper-level managers to the event to network, attend keynotes and events, as well as see what devices were being exhibited.
In this blog, we have collected the impressions and insights from some of the analysts that attended to get their opinion on what was their favorite or most exciting aspect of PRINTING United.
German Sacristan, Principal Analyst of On Demand Printing & Publishing
Interestingly, 4over—a large online printer selling to print service providers (PSPs)—had a booth at Printing United. This showed that, in this unpredictable market, the trend of outsourcing is even stronger and more relevant.
A recent survey from Keypoint Intelligence pointed out that 88% of PSPs’ cost is related to production. This begs the question, in such a competitive and unpredictable market (especially these days when many PSPs do not know how much print they are going to get), why invest so much in production when you can outsource at an aggressive price? That way, you spend based on what you have sold and there is less risk. We see that trend growing—supported by the 4over booth at Printing United.
Johnny Shell, Principal Analyst of Functional & Industrial Printing
Neenah Coldenhove, Klieverik, and Mimaki showed Texcol, a revolutionary one-step waterless transfer technology. It allows printing with pigment inks onto a specially coated transfer paper that is paired with any one of a wide range of natural and blended textiles (woven or knitted), then processed through a rotary calender.
The main advantages to Texcol are the technology does not require any pre- and post-treatments on the fabric, there is significant cost reduction with 30%-50% ink savings, and it is completely waterless. Designed for applications in the growing digital décor segment, Texcol is recommended for curtains, pillows, textile art, as well as any decorative indoor and outdoor applications.
Eric Zimmerman, Principal Analyst of Wide Format Printing
Throughout 2022 we have seen tradeshows go from virtual to hybrid to fully live and in person. Earlier in the year, the feeling of optimism at the live tradeshows I attended was palpable. The elation of having the entire wide format industry in the same place was being celebrated by wide format printer manufacturers and PSPs.
Fast forward to last week’s Printing United show and that optimism (while somewhat cautious in Q1 2022) has turned to 100% confidence, and the future looks to be strong for wide format. The future is not without challenges, however. Labor shortages, supply chain stability, and demand for faster turnaround are driving PSPs’ purchasing decisions. The industry is presenting solutions in the shape of collaboration between software, printing hardware, and finishing equipment to provide PSPs with start to finish workflow solutions, allowing them to maintain profitability with limited (and often unpredictable) resources.
That said, the “rubber has met the road” and wide format is driving forward with confidence.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
While PRINTING United presented the excitement of in-person events in a post-COVID life, it also showcased some interesting points. New print systems, solutions, and supplies were shown that make us believe that changes are coming to our industry. We’re seeing new systems for fabric printing, wide format, and print services that are presenting new opportunities.
Clearly, there are things shifting many aspects of the print industry, but we believe that this event is showing us that there are changes for the better.
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