SGIA 2014 – A Biased Tour Part 2
Ah yes, the SGIA 2014 show. In Part 1 I made the point that boring can be ok. Putting solid machines and solid supplies on display is not such a bad idea. I’m usually skeptical about new wondrous devices and magical supplies that will solve all my problems and make me a millionaire anyway. Put a couple machines in the field, put your supplies into production at a serious facility and then let’s see it. Don’t put a machine together with duct tape and superglue and print a trade show parrot (even a crappy print of a race car or parrot or half naked woman will get a rise out of the attendees) and expect us to be impressed.
Hirsch’s single head embroidery machine with single laser is such a serious machine. You could easily walk by it, but if you stopped to see what it can do, the main reaction I saw was amazement. I have to say I continue to be in awe of the Kornit DTG machines, Tajimas and MHM presses that Hirsch sells.
Sometimes you’ll run into an exhibitor and it gets you thinking, even if you aren’t going to buy their machine or product. I ran into some very pleasant folks from the Netherlands who had a simple machine for automatically cleaning and reclaiming screens. I’m not sure I would consider buying one until I saw some working in the field. But my discussion with them let to me checking out some other units, asking printers that were at the show what they did for reclaiming, and ultimately I had a great discussion with my supplier Saati and now I”m considering doing a half automated system. Where but at a big trade show are all the machines there to consider, your trusted experts to consult, and your peers to ask about their own experiences?
Another company I love was at the show, Douthitt. They make great vacuum frames, great exposure systems, and great Direct to Screen (DTS) systems. They are real geeks, and that’s the kind of folks you want figuring out how to make these things and service them. Maybe not exciting, but super solid.
My last observation on the show is that I turn to a part of the industry I am not involved in. Direct Color Systems (DCS) makes machines that print on small objects like golf balls, name tags, iPhone covers and all sorts of things. They are an extremely successful company. Despite my “Know-It-All” sweatshirt that I made for myself and Tom, I certainly am wrong about a lot of things. In this case I can say that I always said, “digital printing may take over some parts of our business, but it certainly is never going to print the high density inks we screen print.” Wrong. DCS has a printer that does digital printing with dimension as evidenced below. The second thing I always said was that nobody in my family was going to be dumb enough to go into printing like I did. Well my nephew Matt Sands works for DCS and is personally successful in a very successful printing company. Being humbled is a good thing.