SGIA 2014 – A Biased Tour Part 1

SGIA 2014. Did I see anything new? Well not that much but that doesn’t mean at all that it was not worth attending. I saw friends. I talked to new vendors. I had time to talk face-to-face with established vendors. I got to talk shop with other owners. I got to see what is trending and what is not. I also saw some of the same old stuff, and honestly that isn’t a bad thing.

Here goes:

For something new to me and new to the industry, this was my first look at an LED replacement light source for exposing screens. In theory is should be much more energy efficient, much more consistent, and over the long run last so long that it is a bargain compared to buying new lamps. I have seen LED light sources that scan over the image and I’ve not been impressed with them, too much light scatter and for other reasons as well, they don’t hold detail, in particular negative detail (e.g. a fine line in a big circle of ink.)

Saati did up the SGIA the way one would hope it gets done. They had basic products that are good products on display. (Everything doesn’t have to be new!) A new useful product is the LED exposure light source. They had their experts in chemistry and all aspects of their business there so you could get any answer you wanted. They also had coffee, part of their being sociable and friendly to customers both new and existing.

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Saati LED exposure light source, equivalent of a 5K traditional lamp.

Saati LED exposure light source, equivalent of a 5K traditional lamp.

Saati LED light source for exposure units, equivalent to a 1.5K lamp.

Saati LED light source for exposure units, equivalent to a 1.5K lamp.

Then there was a basic exhibition, but one that’s important for potential buyers to see in person. MHM (and Hirsch) had an auto press set up. It isn’t new and it doesn’t have new features, but who needs them? IMHO, it is the best press on the market and people need to see it in operation to appreciate it. However, they also had information on new products and they will reveal an entry level press called the SA EVO and an oval auto called the iQ-Oval at the ISS Show in Long Beach in January .

The maybe not new, but always kick ass auto press from MHM

The maybe not new, but always kick ass auto press from MHM

Then there was the ultra boring, but who cares? GSF makes rigid frames and they do a great job of it. I recommend them at least once a week and every person I send to them only reports good things about them. They are good people and they make great products.

Perhaps not the most exciting company, but it is called "Screen" printing and you better have good screens. Give me boring basic quality every day.

Perhaps not the most exciting company, but it is called “Screen” printing and you better have good screens. Give me boring basic quality every day.

Some folks didn’t have booths, but they still had a presence. The man at Apolan squeegees, Peter Graefe, was walking the show. Jay Demarco and a few other folks at Rutland were around walking the show. I didn’t see Workhorse folks or a booth, but I did hear from an attendee that they have a new kick ass label printing machine, something I would know if I hadn’t been at the show.

And then there was SPSI. I don’t think they had a booth, but they were there in force. They introduced me to some great folks. They also were well represented with staff that could show you the features of the MHM presses they sell and in particular they were very helpful presenting the Kornit Direct to Garment (DTG) line. They got into the digital aspect at the ground floor and they are by this time a very knowledgeable resource whether you are entering that market or expanding what you do.

As for Kornit, it is really amazing to see it as an established part of our industry. The prints look great, they print and print and print, and they get more and more established into the screenprinting world. I have a great screenprinting business, but we still print hundreds of DTG prints on a Kornit every month. There was a time where you wondered if the machine would work at the show, never mind in the field later. Those days are gone. Kornit presses are super solid now. You can ask anyone that has one. In fact it seems that everyone that has one now is getting another one, if not another ten.

Bright colors and faster and faster the Kornit is now the solid workhorse of the DTG world.

Bright colors and faster and faster the Kornit is now the solid workhorse of the DTG world.

The Breeze is the entry level Kornit and is a solid machine nevertheless.

The Breeze is the entry level Kornit and is a solid machine nevertheless.

HIrsch was certainly well represented. They are the serious machine company in our industry and they sell Tajima embroidery machines, MHM auto presses, Kornit Direct to Garment presses, Seit lasers, and Pulse digitizing software. They had plenty of knowledgeable staff and their full line was on display. While itt isn’t brand new but relatively new, the single head Tajima embroidery machine with single head Seit laser is a very cool piece of equipment. Single head embroidery machines are still flying out of the warehouse, part of the wave of personalization in our industry. My friend Jacob Edwards of Jakprints was at the show. He has one of the most successful businesses that I know of in this industry and he has it all, Kornit, Tajima and MHM, which is on some level proof that one key to success is using solid equipment that sets up fast and keeps working.

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MHM auto press, part of the Hirsch solid line of equipment.

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Tajima Embroidery machine, super damn solid. We have a four head in my shop and it just cranks out the work hour after hour, day after day. I don’t know if there was anything new, honestly I almost hope not since they do everything we want and more already.

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The single head Tajima, leading the charge on businesses doing personalization.

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Bright colors and faster and faster the Kornit is now the solid workhorse of the DTG world.

Bright colors and faster and faster the Kornit is now the solid workhorse of the DTG world.

The Breeze is the entry level Kornit and is a solid machine nevertheless.

The Breeze is the entry level Kornit and is a solid machine nevertheless.

That’s the report from SGIA, part one. Stay tuned for Part two on Thursday.

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