I was accompanied by two colleagues, our Production Director and IT Manager, for a week of exploration and we were not disappointed with what we discovered. Digital has certainly evolved over the last 10 years and will continue to do so, with the advent of increased running speeds, upgraded print head technology which will enable a finer dot pattern to be printed, giving pin point accuracy when delivering inks to substrates, making for better colour and detail of prints.Many of the digital equipment suppliers had showcased increased running speed, upgraded colour management software and versatile ink solutions, with many of the ink manufacturers moving towards lead free inks, with a renewed focus on water based ink technology. Another focus of the digital ink manufacturers was that of metallic inks for flatbed UV machines and whilst they have made some great progress, these inks are still hampered by relative high cost in comparison to CMYK digital inks and the adhesion of the inks to various substrates can also be problematic, but I have no doubt that it will only be a matter of time before they solve these challenges.
Along with ink manufacturers, there were many fabric suppliers and manufacturers who have also harnessed the opportunities which digital printing offers, by presenting some new fabrics for the various digital printing processes. Our challenge in SA remains the volatility of the exchange rate, which in many instances puts many of these newly developed fabrics out of our reach due to the high landed costs, this however remains a focus of our company to find ways in which to bring these fabrics to our customers.A number of new self-adhesive vinyl’s where on display, particularly for the specialized vehicle branding market, new textures, colours, conformability and longevity. Interestingly they had the vehicle wrapping World Series competition at FESPA, which was ably represented by a South African applicator, who hailed from Johannesburg.
We have managed to source various exciting new products that we are very excited about and we are looking forward to having the opportunity to present this to our many clients, so look out for these and other new developments that will be introduced shortly.