Beginning Oct. 26 and running through Nov. 12, the PRINTING United Digital Experience hosted more than 40 product launches and 100 educational sessions throughout its 14-day run. Hosted by Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) and Printing Industries of America (PIA), which officially merged in 2020 to become PRINTING United Alliance, the digital platform offered more than 100 sessions highlighting different market segments from commercial, digital textile, graphics/wide-format and industrial printing application technologies. Despite the continuing spread of COVID-19, PRINTING United allowed the market segments throughout the industry to remained united and moving forward during a year filled with unprecedented challenges.
Throughout the three-week event, industry experts presented on the latest trends, research and areas of growing opportunity – all offered at no cost to event attendees. Each day began with a special keynote address, followed by a detailed schedule of educational session and panels, product spotlights and unveilings. Some of the keynote presentations included Trends and Opportunities in Folding Carton and Corrugated, addressing rising opportunities in paperboard-based packaging segments thanks in part to growing demand for sustainable packaging options. Creating a Path Forward: Sustainable Strategies to Navigate the New Normal in the Printing Industry covered the disruptions caused by COVID-19 and how to navigate the new landscape. Building a Manufacturing Mindset spoke the rise in digital finishing equipment as well as workflow software that has led to a shifting mindset among graphics and wide-format printers.
Even with the new digital format, major OEMs and suppliers were able to launch new technology on a worldwide stage. Rollem International launched its new Insignia6H rotary diecutter, which features diecutting, kisscutting, scoring and embossing. The Insignia6H is designed for fast changeovers for folding cartons, labels and promotional products. Heidelberg USA showcased the New Generation Speedmaster XL106 for board, paper and label. Dedicated to smart manufacturing, the Speedmaster XL106 is integrated with artificial intelligence tied into the makeready process to streamline jobs throughout the process chain. Duplo USA highlighted several machines, including the UD-310 rotary diecutter which delivers packaging and print marketing applications in distinctive shapes and sizes. Konica Minolta displayed the AccurioPress C14000 (featuring increased options including a new long-sheet paper feed and options for creasing and perforation) and the Plockmatic PSQ160 bookletmaker.
On the bindery side, Muller Martini announced its new Prinova saddlestitchers, designed to produce short runs more efficiently. Capable of 9,000 cycles per hour, the Prinova offers an individual feeder that allows for quick changeover, making it efficient for short and medium runs. Standard Finishing Systems unveiled the Horizon BQ-500 perfect binder, designed to increase book-of-one productivity with increased automation and increased quality control. It can be run inline with Standard’s HT-300 three-sided trimmer. Also showcased were the Standard Horizon StitchLiner Mark III saddlestitchers which combine all processes from flat sheet collating, scoring, folding and saddlestitching through three-knife trimming into a single system.
“We built the PRINTING United Digital Experience as a way to keep the industry united and moving forward, as well as provide an elevated stage, as we traditionally do, for companies to debut the products they’ve worked so hard to bring to market this year,” says Mark J. Subers, president, Events and PRINTING United. “During a year when launching new products has been a real challenge, we are thrilled to learn about the new technology featured on the PRINTING United Digital Experience platform from companies around the world. “It is especially exciting that the Digital Experience is being used as a springboard for plans by many of our partners for our in-person Expo in 2021.”
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country and the world, the ability to host events like PRINTING United on a digital platform has become crucial for keeping those in the industry connected and informed of the latest technologies and advances. If there is a upside to moving the event online, it is that attendees can revisit each session multiple times as videos will remain available through Jan. 31, 2021.
PRINTING United 2021 is scheduled to take place Oct. 6-8, 2021, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. For more information, visit www.printingunited.com.