By Lara Copeland, contributing editor

In October, nearly 30,000 visitors converged in Dallas, Texas, for PRINTING United. The event was hosted by Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) and replaced the former SGIA Expo. With more than 700,000 square feet and 600-plus exhibitors, the tradeshow built on SGIA Expo’s foundation of apparel, graphics/wide-format and industrial printing application technologies and added the commercial and package printing segments.

Scattered throughout the event floor, three amphitheaters provided educational sessions for attendees without requiring that they leave the exhibit hall. Additional classroom sessions – more than 100 in total – took place within educational tracks for the graphics, apparel, functional/industrial, in-plant, commercial and packaging communities.

In particular, there were several sessions relating to binding and finishing, including a session entitled Trends in Finishing for Commercial Printing. The panel, made up of some of the larger suppliers of binding and finishing equipment in the market today, discussed how the climate for binding and finishing is changing and will continue to evolve in the future. Areas such as the importance of cross training, replacing or upgrading older equipment, and taking advantage of training by the equipment manufacturer were all subjects covered during the session. From the design side, Sabine Lenz with PaperSpecs conducted a seminar on The Five Hottest Print Design Trends of 2019. The session looked at the print and embellishment trends that have transformed the way creatives present their work and spread their message.

With the addition of many companies involved in bindery, foil and embossing, and digital coatings and foils, PostPress wanted to share what was on display and new at the show as it relates to print finishing, embellishments and binding.


spiral-bindingThere were several exhibitors highlighting new technologies for the bindery. Much of what was on display was targeted to decrease downtime and increase workflow efficiencies.

Mueller Martini showcased its Presto II Digital saddlestitcher that accommodates digital, offset or hybrid-printed products and can process products of variable thicknesses, as well as highly personalized content. MBM released its VRCut Ready Triumph guillotine cutter line that integrates prepress PDF creation software with the cutter that is connected to a visual guidance system, allowing operators of any experience level to efficiently run the cutter with minimal training. MBO featured its CoBo-Stack, where a collaborative robot is used to transport product from the delivery onto the table of the CoBo-Stack, which picks them up and deposits them on the pallets. The PB16 automated programmable paper drilling system was highlighted at the show by Rollem. It is a heavy-duty modular drilling machine with up to 13 drilling heads. The computerized programmable sliding table handles longer runs, larger paper formats and multiple complex stroke patterns. Duplo debuted its DC-618 pro slitter/cutter/creaser that offers removable modules and can perform up to six slits, 30 cuts and 20 creases in a single pass, and can produce applications with a full-bleed finish. Rhin-O-Tuff showcased its Tornado Autopunch EX® that automatically interposes pages, covers, index tabs and inserts in one sequence, delivering complete, fully punched and collated book stacks ready for binding. Because so much of digital press output needs to be punch/bound, the EX helps eliminate manual steps and postpress bottlenecks.

Spiral Binding displayed its CB40PB punch and bind system for plastic coil binding. It will punch, form coil from filament, bind, cut and crimp documents automatically, running up to 1,000 documents per hour. Finally, Absolute Printing Equipment highlighted its equipment from Baumann, manufacturer of joggers, loaders, unloaders, pile turners – all built to help automate the handling of material for printing and binding applications.


Sakurai USA featured the ScreenFoil LQM 105, which can be combined with any size of existing Sakurai presses, providing dieless foil applications for all types of products. It allows the image to be screen printed onto the sheet and the heated foil is applied in registration to any size or image configuration. MGI and Konica Minolta debuted the new JETvarnish 3D One digital embellishment press. Aimed at market entry for printers, finishers, and in-plant printers, the system offers 2D/3D spot coating and dimensional textures. Heidelberg USA introduced its Digimatrix 60 FC diecutter and hot-foiler. Ideal for digital run lengths, the Digimatrix runs up to 5,500 sheets per hour and processes sheets up to 23.6 x 17.7″. The foil version allows hot foiling on a wide range of substrates and can be equipped with Masterset, which registers each sheet individually via print marks for excellent print-to-cut registration.

Duplo showcased its UD-310 diecutter, which includes a new feed system for challenging stocks, a separator section to allow operators to swap pre-setup separators for faster changeovers and an updated registration system to ensure sheet-to-sheet registration. Scodix presented live demonstrations of its Scodix Ultra 202 digital enhancement press, showing variable data using Scodix Foil, Scodix VDE, Scodix Cast & Cure and Scodix Sense. It provides the ability to add print enhancements to a variety of substrates. My Press Needs featured its newly patented Crest Widemouth technology for its Crest Clamshell press. This provides converters the ability to eliminate core cascading and edge crush when diecutting difficult substrates. Lastly, THERM-O-TYPE displayed its NSF Elite, Excel and Ultra foil stamping, embossing and diecutting presses. Its NSF models provide exceptional high-speed productivity, advance operator controls and proven reliability, with the ability to do flat foil stamping, embossing as well as high-speed Foil Fusing (dieless).


D-and-K-GroupNobelus featured its LuxeFilms Karess SmudgeProof thermal laminating films, a tactile overlaminate that offers the ideal solution to smudging, scuffing and fingerprinting. D&K Group also introduced a new line of waterproof thermal laminating films called Endura Overlams. The new film was demonstrated on D&K’s System 2760, a fully automated lamination system that includes a sheet feeder, one-sided lamination station and automatic cutting system.


Baumer-hhsBaumer hhs featured its aerto hot melt applicator that includes superior cut-off performance to help eliminate tailing. The powerful pneumatic valve ensures a high closing force that delivers superior line or dot performance across a wide range of adhesives. Heidelberg USA also showcased its new Diana Go 85, a cost-effective, flexible and productive folder-gluer that can produce cartons at speeds up to 820 feet per minute in a width up to 33.4″. It handles a variety of carton styles, such as straight-line and lock-bottom cartons. The digi-mollPAK System inline folder-gluer was on display in the B&R Moll booth. This folder-gluer can be used by digital and commercial printers and is designed to offer fast, flexible performance in a compact machine. It is ideal for short-run straight-line boxes, table tents, sleeves, software cartons and presentation folders.


The Trends in Finishing panel – moderated by Mark Michelson, editor in chief of Printing Impressions – featured Andy Fetherman, VP of sales and technology, Muller Martini; James Tressler, VP of sales, CP Bourg; Joerg Daehnhardt, vice president, Heidelberg USA; Josh Rombers, national sales director, MBO America; Rick Salinas, VP of marketing, Duplo USA.

For certain, bindery and finishing made a strong contribution to the first ever PRINTING United event. And, it seems as if the mixing of all segments of the industry was successful. “It forced attendees to look at companies and products they may have never even thought of before, and we found that a large number of visitors to our booth were completely new to Duplo,” stated Vice President of Marketing, Rick Salinas.

Ford Bowers, president and CEO of SGIA, summarized the 2019 experience: “Many commented on how revitalizing it was to see such a full and comprehensive event. We were most thrilled about all the buying taking place on the show floor. This is the best testament that our industry, indeed, is thriving. We just needed the right model, and we are confident that we have produced that with PRINTING United.”

PRINTING United 2020 will be held October 21 to 23 in Atlanta, Georgia. The event will expand into a total of one million sq. ft., and more than two-thirds of the 2020 show floor already has been reserved. For more information, visit