Laissez les bons temps rouler! Just got back from New Orleans and the 2011 SGIA tradeshow. Attendance was solid at over 16,000 (final numbers to be published soon) and — a stat I have a hard time believing — 35% were 1st time attendees to the show. Having new eyes on everyone’s products is a good thing for everyone including Roland. While people weren’t stamped with a “1st Time Attendee” badge on their forehead (and I’m lobbying for it in the future) it meant that we had a great opportunity to make a first impression on everyone that we met at the show.
You know it’s fall when trade shows seem to be back-to-back all the way through October, and 2011 is no different. GraphExpo’s been around for some time now, and while it’s changed (see Jim Raffel’s blog about the history of Graph Expo), this year was a good show for us with quite a bit of interest around our VersaUV lineup with a specific interest in what LED-UV curing inks allow you to print on. Packaging and labels were high on the interest list, as well as being able to print onto commercial print stock for proofing. Also at the show, we had the VS-series units showing metallic proofing applications, which really pave the way as a replacement of aging Kodak Approvals out in the field (at a dramatically lower per print cost).
I recently sat down with Tom Tetreault from Digital Output Magazine at ISA and talked about our outlook on the industry. While only parts of this interview are incorporated into the publication’s “State of the Industry” article series, I thought I’d share the entire interview here
ISA (International Sign Association) is always a big show for us and this year was no different. Pre-show numbers coming out of the association showed registration significantly up from previous years, with more exhibitors and booth space. We took more space ourselves with a 40x60ft booth and a whole new booth structure that looked fantastic thanks to our awesome marketing department. In addition, we had three exciting new products to talk about: the VersaUV LEJ-640, Roland's first roll-to-roll hybrid flatbed; the LEF-12 UV small flatbed, and our new 20" print/cut device called VersaStudio.
Roland DG is a Japanese company. While the name doesn't sound like it, it actually is. Our counterparts in Japan come over to Roland DGA's territory for shows and meetings with us fairly often, but a once or twice a year I head over to Hamamatsu Japan for meetings and to get the latest on new products in our pipeline. This time, we sent our sales, product management and field engineering teams over to have them see, first-hand, what R&D is working on and what we have coming. There's no way for me to translate every product detail or the excitement the engineers have for our products when I visit, so it's important for them to see it for themselves.