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Keypoint Intelligence

What Was Up at PRINTING United Expo 2023?

Some takeaways from what was seen on the show floor

Oct 22, 2023 8:00:00 PM


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This year’s PRINTING United Expo opened its doors on October 18 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Attendees packed the halls for three days, excited to see the new technology and product unveilings alongside announcements of broader developments in the market—and with an uplift from last year of up to 800 exhibitors, there was plenty on view. The concept of showing different printing applications in the commercial, publishing, transactional, wide format, and textile spheres continues to work well as it resonates with the trend for some print service providers to diversify their business to sustain and grow in a very competitive market.


PRINTING United also delivered relevant educational sessions covering exciting and timely topics such as labor challenges, how to price products, and the trends of strong applications like direct mail that were well attended.



We will be publishing a detailed show report very soon. In the meantime, here are some of our analysts’ impressions and insights on what they discovered at PRINTING United Expo 2023.


German Sacristan, Principal Analyst of Demand Printing & Publishing

One of the first things that stood out was the size of the HP booth; compared to last year’s immense footprint it had shrunk tremendously. A likely reason for this is that HP’s customer experience center is located close to the exhibition center and it had been utilized the day before the tradeshow opened to showcase HP’s portfolio to customers and visitors. The HP booth itself had a good flavor of the different printing applications that are offered to the market, although the only printing equipment on display was wide format.


Another noticeable change from 2022’s show was Xerox’s strong presence, with the spotlight firmly on its Iridesse Production Press. The booth was geared towards showing the best of its technologies and offerings—chiefly Xerox’s great quality color embellishment output and Genesis Initiative, a strategic CYMK+ business development program.


Fujifilm put on a very large and impressive booth, displaying most of its digital printing portfolio as well as promoting how much ground they cover in the marketplace. It was a strong exhibit with an emphasis on the commercial printing side, covering all manner of equipment from Fujifilm’s new entry-level production ApeosPro C Series all the way to their future color inkjet roll-fed solution Jet Press 1160CF. In addition, attendees had a sneak peek at the newly announced B2 electrophotography Revoria Press GC12500. The GC12500 can print double sided on a maximum paper size of 26" x 29.5" (the largest in the industry) and can handle a variety of paper weights from 64 to 450 gsm.


Canon presented just how tightly it covers the commercial digital printing market with the spotlight firmly on its new 135 ipm imagePRESS V1350 digital press, which made its US tradeshow debut on the floor. In addition, despite not being physically present, there was plenty of interest around Canon’s recently announced varioPRINT iX1700: a B3+ size press that will use a Canon high-definition printhead, which is different from its other varioPRINT iX-series.


Kodak and Konica Minolta chose to invest their marketing money elsewhere and were not present at this PRINTING United but, at the same time, Konica Minolta’s AccurioPress C7100 was on show at the Digital Print Solutions booth.


Ricoh presented two presses making their North American debut (the PRO C7500 and PROC9500), while announcing a mid-November order taking for their new B2 size PRO Z75 press.


Kyocera and Screen exhibited a new A3 sheet-fed inkjet printer prototype called the Kyocera TASKalfa Pro 55000c and Screen TruePress JET S320,which employs Kyocera printheads and Screen GA’s TruePress inks SC/SC+ (which do not need primer to print on coated papers). This printer fits in a space of growing opportunity…the same market area as the new Canon varioPRINT iX1700 and Fujifilm’s new B2 GC12500 electrophotography printer.



Jeff Wettersten, Principal Analyst of Labels & Packaging

PRINTING United Expo has an ambitious goal: unifying the world of print under one organization. As such, the show brings together a wide variety of suppliers and printers and attempts a level of navigation by grouping suppliers together by industry classification. As I walked through the show, it was usually apparent what the supplier did, but it was rarely apparent who they did it for. In packaging, we speak about the “zero moment of truth”—that 80% of purchasing decisions are made within three feet of the product. PRINTING United has a diverse group of attendees. Did your booth pass the zero moment of truth in drawing in new prospects?


This becomes especially relevant to the label and packaging space as PRINTING United is working towards bringing labels and packaging into the show’s roster. In the past, labels and packaging was not a key focus for the attendees at events like SGIA and PRINTING United Expo. Likewise, label and packaging suppliers and producers rarely attended these events. This is now changing. But while your brand is probably recognized in the markets you currently participate in, it’s not going to be familiar in the markets where you don’t. This means you shouldn’t force a prospect to stop and ask who you are and what you do. The message coming from the booth should immediately answer this question and entice the prospect to engage.


As mentioned above, the primary audience at PRINTING United Expo is comprised of the traditional SGIA/PRINTING United participants: wide format graphics, sign shops, and commercial printers. As such, the supplier base tends to align with this audience, as well. Technology discussions were typically focused on entry-level systems desired by the attendees rather than the full productions presses required by core converters.


What stood out for me:

  • Printing presses: The wide variety of equipment available at varying price points and output levels
  • Converting equipment: Five years ago, converting options were limited; today, this is no longer the case
  • Software: Software options have greatly expanded beyond the traditional management of pre-press activities to now enabling key initiatives driving productivity
  • Solution configurations: Printhead suppliers report a continued interest in developing print bars for adding digital capabilities to analog equipment for retrofit applications and in new equipment


Eric Zimmerman, Principal Analyst of Wide Format Printing

PRINTING United Expo continues to grow and expand each year and, with 1 million square feet of show floor, 2023 was no exception. With so much space and wide format print being only a portion of it, it takes some time to get your bearings. While the PRINTING United team does a great job of coordinating booth placement, if this growth trend continues next year, I highly recommend comfortable shoes and providing extra time to get from vendor to vendor. As a bonus, you will quickly meet your daily step count goal (no matter how large that goal is)…


No matter your needs, the show offered a solution for PSPs of all sizes.


Big Things in Small Packages

To address the continuously growing craft and maker market, we saw new offerings in the small (<30") space in desktop and roll-to-roll in several ink technologies.


In the desktop UV flatbed space, Epson showed its new A4 and A3 sized devices (proof of concept only, with names to follow) capable of direct-to-object printing on small surfaces for promotional items and personalized graphics.


In the eco-solvent space, Roland DG showcased its BN2 Series of roll-to-roll 20" desktop printer/cutter featuring complete front loading and offloading, CMYK+W options, FlexiDESIGNER VersaSTUDIO Edition Software, and many more features to allow PSPs to create apparel, decals and labels, small signs and posters, as well as art and photography.


In the aqueous segment, Canon showed the versatile line of imagePROGRAF GP-series with Radiant Infusion technology, which layers fluorescent pink ink with other inks during the printing process. The result effect enables bright and soft color reproductions, allowing for the creation of high-quality posters and eye-catching graphics for indoor use.


In the Middle of All Things

In the midrange throughput segment, the battle of ink technology continues in the roll-to-roll space. We saw offerings of UV (Mimaki UCJV300 Series print/cut and Canon Colorado M-Series) and Resin/Latex (HP Latex 630 series) to compete with established EcoSolvent roll-to-roll devices in this category.


There were some new offerings in the UV flatbed space, as well. Mutoh featured the XpertJet 1462UF 55.9" x 27.5" UV-ADA-compliant flatbed; Stratojet showcased its Shark EFB-3216 (2023 edition) 5' x 10' flatbed with 13 color capability; and Xantè was showing several of its UV flatbed printers, including the 24" x 36" X-33 and the 55" x 98" X-98.


Large and In Charge

With so much consolidation happening in today’s marketplace, we continue to see growth in high throughput devices for the wide format space. Agfa featured the Jeti Tauro H3300 UHS LED with Flex RTR system, enabling quick loading and media change from rigid to flexible by a single operator. Vanguard introduced its VK3220T-HS 3.2x2m flatbed with 4" clearance and print speeds up to 3800 ft2/hr (360 m2/hr) to maximize throughput. Lastly, Skyjet showed its unique SDL5000 16.4' ultra-wide format UV roll-to-roll printer that can print either two single-sided or one double-sided print simultaneously.


Keypoint Intelligence Opinion

New print systems, solutions, and supplies were shown that make us believe the trend to diversify and gain a foothold in different segments across all printing verticals is gaining popularity among print suppliers. Clearly, there are things shifting many aspects of the print industry, but this important event is showing us that there are changes and opportunities for the better.


For the labels and packaging space, drupa is a major focus for many suppliers. They anticipate press investigation and supplier vetting to occur during the first quarter, with decisions made after the show. Economic uncertainty and interest rates are weighing on investment decisions. Printers/Converters sitting on cash are moving forward, those concerned with the future are holding off. All suppliers expressed the importance of packaging has a growth driver for their business.


With so much economic uncertainty today, wide format PSPs want to ensure they invest strongly in products that will provide streamlined workflow, increased throughput, and application diversity. While there may not be one single product to address all these needs, within the combination of the above-mentioned new offerings and so many more on display this week, the 2023 PRINTING United Expo offered solutions for all PSPs, regardless of size and investment level.


Browse through our Industry Reports Page (latest reports only). Log in to the InfoCenter to view the upcoming full reviews of PRINTING United as well as other show reviews and research from our Labels & Packaging, On Demand Printing & Publishing, and Wide Format Print Advisory Services. If you’re not a subscriber, just send us an email at sales@keypointintelligence.com for more info.