As Sign and Digital UK 2015 prepares to open its doors, we take a peak at launches and introductions impacting the wide-format sector.
At a glance
Where: Halls 17 and 18, NEC, Birmingham.
When: 24 - 26 March, 2015
Times: 10am – 5pm, 24/25 March
10am – 4.30pm, 26 March
Cost: Free, but pre-register at http://www.signuk
There’s a bit more space between the Sign and Digital UK and Fespa shows this year, giving visitors a more realistic chance of getting to both. And giving exhibitors two, better spaced launchpads.
Last year, the official visitor figure for the Birmingham-based Sign and Digital event was 6,115, an eight percent increase on the time before. 858 of those visitors answered a survey conducted on behalf of Faversham House and provided information that event organiser Rudi Blackett said would “help us to ensure that the 2015 show continues to be a must-attend event for the sign making, digital solutions and digital printing industries. We will be implementing new features next year to reflect what the market wants to see – watch this space.”
Well the time has come to see if the show - which is expected to draw closer to 7,000 visitors this time around and will host over 180 exhibitors and various seminars and workshops - will deliver what those of you in the wide-format sector want from it.
At the time of going to press, details of the seminars, workshops and exhibition trails (Textile Trail, Retail Route and Materials World) had still not been finalised, but the full information will appear on the event website closer to the event.
On the stands
The website holds the full exhibitor listing as you would assume – but what we’ve done here is to highlight some of the newest and/or more interesting products/stands relevant to wide-format digital inkjet players.
Blackman and White
This will be the first UK exhibition appearance of the Versa-Tech cutter that will crease and kiss cut, and includes a router, drag knife, oscillating knife and driven rotary knife - all available on a conveyorised or flatbed heavy-duty table. It can cut standard widths and lengths up to 3.2m.
The new Mutoh 24in ValueJet 628 with eco solvent inks, and the ValueJet 1624 with new 1l eco solvent ink bags will be on show, as will the new Mutoh 426UF A3+ LED UV printer for printing personalised products, labels and gadgets.
An illuminated display LED panel called Pixalux will be launched. This double-sided, frameless panel combines LEDs with layers of acrylic and can be used for shelving, POP/retail displays, signage etc. The panel surfaces can be printed or can have vinyl graphics applied to present a variety of functional and design solutions without affecting the distribution of light. Mood and ambience can be altered at the touch of a button with adjustable white or RGB coloured LEDs embedded into the panels.
Finishing equipment specialist Friedheim International will demonstrate the Lasercomb ProDigi NEO 2517 large-format multi-function digital cutting system, its first outing at a UK event. The new model is one in a range of larger format machines specifically developed by Lasercomb for the signage, packaging and display industries.
A PC with colour touchscreen allows the ProDigi NEO operator to choose between automatic or manual modes, as well as accessing the tool database. The PC also provides operational diagnosis.
A modular tool concept is a key feature of system which will be demonstrated at the show with a 1kw milling spindle with tooling for handling several different types of materials, as well as an oscillating cutting unit.
Mimaki distributor Hybrid Services will show-off various new wide-format printers. The company’s national sales manager – sign and graphics, John de la Roche, said: “Sign and Digital UK 2015 will be the first opportunity for most visitors to see the completely new line-up of ten solvent printers and printer/cutters from Mimaki. The new CJV150 range of printer/cutters includes four different sizes of machine, from 75cm up to 1.6m.”
In addition to the integrated machine, Mimaki’s JV150 solvent or dye sublimation printer will be making its first UK outing alongside the JV300. The final part of the new wide-format jigsaw from Mimaki is the CJV300, the company’s top of the range integrated printer/cutter with speeds of up to 105m2/hr.
The event will see the European introduction of the 3.2m UV roll printer, the Jetrix RX3200. Available either as a four-colour (CMYK) or eight-colour (CMYK Light Cyan Light Magenta Light Black and Light Yellow) printer, the RX3200 uses 16 Konica KM series (14pl) printheads for output resolution up to 1440dpi. Print speeds are up to 169m2/hr in production mode – 36m2/hr in the best quality setting. Features include an easy winding system for heavy media and an automatic nozzle cleaning function.
Among its offering at Sign and Digital UK, reseller Perfect Colours (stand C10) will debut the five-colour UV-curable InkTec Jetrix KX6. The 2.4 x 1.2m flatbed, which Perfect Colours supplies with two years' free warranty, attains speeds of up to 55m2/hr using dual CMYK plus four white channels.
Under the new product category brand ‘Landor Surface Appeal’ will be several new products including two additions to the Landor Phototex self-adhesive fabric range. New Phototex OS is an opaque version suitable for printing with solvent, eco solvent, UV and Latex inks. New Phototex S FR a fire rated version of Phototex S. There will also be new liquid protective coatings and primers plus inkjet media for specialist applications, including the new Glassadhere for glass decoration.
On show will be the new Vision direct-to-textile printer with direct disperse inks. Stewart Bell, MTEX MD, said: “A recent Infotrends report showed that the worldwide value of digital textile print was $5.8bn in 2013 with a forecast annual growth of 39% to 2018, making it a fast-growing and profitable market. Our turnkey solutions allow businesses to enter this exciting market from a standing start. We deliver every element required for textile production including the site survey, site plans and installation.”
The 1.85m wide MTEX Vision prints and fixes as one process. It is available now with direct disperse inks for polyester, reactive and acid inks for cotton and silk, and it will soon have a pigment ink option for poly cotton and natural fibre fabrics.
Also on show will be the MTEX PAD, designed to pre-treat and coat textiles with production speeds of between 30 and 140 linear metres per hour. There are two coating options of immersion or a surface coating, and the infrared drying system delivers fully dried fabrics. It can be used as a standalone machine or in-line with the MTEX 500, Vision and Turbo 1.8m wide printers, effectively allowing users to coat their own media prior to printing.
Perspex Distribution Limited (PDL) will showcase Transprint Digital Media that was introduced at the end of 2014 and the new Palfoam Anti-Static (AS) Digital PVC foam range for use with flatbed printers.
Repro Sales and Repairs
A new Chinese-made hybrid printer has been brought to the UK market by Repro Sales and Repairs in Rayleigh, Essex. The R180 is from Mei Tu, for which the company has the exclusive UK dealership. The first R180 arrived in the UK in January, having been sold to a company that viewed it in China. Another will be with Repro Sales and Repairs in time for demonstration at Sign and Digital UK.
The 1.8m wide UV model - the MT-R180-UV - is equipped with a feed and take up system for roll printing, and also comes with front and back extension platforms for rigid substrates. Maximum media thickness is 30mm. It costs £30,000. An eco solvent model is also available, and costs £25,000. Both prices include including delivery, installation, training and a one year parts and labour warranty.
The printer, which uses Epson printheads, can print CMYK CMYK or CMYK and White. A vacuum system controls the whole printing platform for smooth edge-to-edge printing. An auto adjustable printhead means users can adjust the height of the cleaning system and carriage at the same time.
Shuttleworth will demonstrate MIS for customer focused sign manufacturers, including: new Job tracking functionality ‘Milestones’, which makes it quick and easy to view the status of any job as it progresses throughout the business; the latest Production Scheduling module; a new ‘Mobile Stock app’, that allows users to update stock transactions using a mobile device with bar code scanning if required; and an integrated CRM package that includes a mobile app to remotely update information.
Space Display UK
Among various display stand options on show Space Display will launch its Techno Deluxe Plus iPad Display Stand. The flat-pack system features a black aluminium post mounted on a heavy-duty steel base, a frosted acrylic table top and a lockable steel cradle to hold an iPad. The cradle also offers 360 degree rotation, plus a tilt and swivel feature. In addition, a branded rollable graphic or a custom shaped rigid graphic can also be mounted to the front of aluminium post.
Trotec Laser, which produces laser cutting, marking and engraving machines in Austria, is introducing the SP500 large-format laser cutter with Job Control Vision at Sign and Digital UK.
With a working area of 49 x 28in, a pass-through feature also enables the user to process very long and bulky parts. For the first time at a trade show in the UK the SP500 will feature Job Control Vision, a camera function which locates pre-printed designs by 'reading' registration marks achieving precise laser cut results.
2015 is shaping up to be a big year for Trotec Laser. January saw the launch of Trotec's first Irish showroom in Dublin, which also features an SP500, plans are in progress to open a new showroom in Scotland, and the SpeedMarker 1300 will feature alongside the SP1500 flatbed laser in an extension to the Trotec Guildford showroom.