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Preview: Sign & Digital UK 2024

Sign and Digital UK (SDUK) will take place in the NEC, Birmingham from February 25-27, co-running alongside Printwear & Promotion Live! for the first time. We take a look at what to expect

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This year marks a new era for SDUK as it co-locates with Printwear & Promotion Live! following the acquisition of SDUK by P&PLIVE! owner Datateam Business Media in summer 2023.

Linked by a joining corridor, the co-location will enable exhibitors to present their offerings in both halls, reflecting the increasing overlap between sign-making and the printwear and promotion industries.

Event director of Sign & Digital UK, Tony Gardner, says: "In the ever-evolving world of visual communication, SDUK stands as a pillar, bringing together the brightest minds, cutting-edge technologies, and industry enthusiasts under one roof. 

“It's not just an exhibition; it's a celebration of creativity, innovation, and the limitless possibilities that lie ahead in the dynamic world of signage, large-format print, and digital screen technology. As SDUK unfolds, we invite visitors to immerse themselves in a world where ideas take shape, connections come to life, and the future of the industry is unveiled."

Back for the Future

Among the returning exhibitors, Epson UK, a key player in the visual industry, highlights the importance of experiencing print results firsthand. Phil McMullin, head of sales for Commercial & Industrial at Epson UK, says: "We are in a visual industry, so it’s vitally important that graphics professionals can see print results first-hand. 

“You really can't get the same objective view online. You need to see it, touch it, smell it! Historically SDUK has always provided us with a great sales pipeline for the year, and we very much hope and expect a repeat from this event." 

According to McMullin, the merger of SDUK and Printwear & Promotion Live! is beneficial due to Epson focusing on both signage and textiles. He says: "Visitors can explore Epson's sign and graphics solutions at SDUK and the latest textile printing innovations at Xpres in P&P Live! 

“Detailed announcements about new products are under wraps, but rest assured there will be exciting print solutions at both shows, with a focus on stimulating ideas for incremental and profitable revenue streams. We encourage attendees to visit both halls for a comprehensive experience, promising plenty of new and innovative displays."

Sign & Digital UK 2024 will see the debut of three Mimaki models including the new UCJV330-160 LED UV printer/cutter

Graham Jones, head of marketing for Grafityp echoes these thoughts and says the co-location of the event is expected to be advantageous, providing a “synergistic platform where diverse segments of the industry converge”. 

Having exhibited for the first time at Printwear & Promotion Live!, Inktec Europe says it made “perfect sense” to exhibit due to launching its complete DTF Solutions range. 

This year, Joey Kim, managing director of Inktec Europe says the company is “delighted” to be back at SDUK this year with the co-location expected to attract a mix of print service providers that work across a wider cross-section of the industry. 

Also returning for 2024 is Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC) which will present its complete range of cutting tools and knife blades for all material types. Promising an “eye-catching orange stand that you cannot afford to pass by”, the UK manufacturer will demonstrate a range of standard and special routing tools, knife tools, and extensive re-grinding services.

The bright orange ITC stand at last year's Sign & Digital UK

ITC’s expert technical engineers will be on-hand to offer visitors advice on the best products and applications. Sally Hunt of ITC, comments: “The opportunity to discuss production challenges with the industry is more pertinent now than ever before, as material technology and cutting applications continually evolve. 

As well as its routing tools and knife blade re-grinding service, visitors can talk to ITC about its complete line of special tools and its range of complementary products such as sacrificial sheets, lubricants, anti-slip matting, router collets, CNC tool holders, and more.

A Trio of Machine Debuts

Hybrid Services, the exclusive UK and Ireland distributor for Mimaki Europe will be debuting three new Mimaki products at SDUK.

These models will be a pair of LED UV printers and Mimaki’s latest and fastest direct-to-film model. First in the lineup is the latest addition to the 330 Series, the UCJV330-160 LED UV integrated printer/cutter. 

This 1.6m production machine is able to print high quality images on traditional signage and graphics materials as well as translucent, transparent, and coloured substrates. Due to being a printer/cutter, the machine is also equipped with features for contour cutting for stickers, decals, and labels.

Second in the new lineup is the UCJV100-160Plus LED UV printer which will be shown for the first time at SDUK 2024. Also making its debut is the new TxF300-75 direct-to-film printer which is three-times more productive than its launch model, the TxF150-75.

Andrew Gregory, Sales Director, Hybrid Services, says: "Our stand offers numerous examples of Mimaki hardware and inks that deliver significant cost savings, productivity enhancements, and overall efficiencies that transfer into real world commercial advantage for companies looking to step up their digital print capabilities.

“With the event running alongside Printwear & Promotion Live! we anticipate an even greater interest in the new 
Mimaki DTF printer than we saw with the phenomenal response to the launch of the TxF150-75 earlier this year.”

For Roland DG, SDUK is not just about showcasing innovations but establishing direct connections with customers. Rob Goleniowski, Head of Sales, UK & Ireland, sees the event as a comprehensive and invaluable experience, gaining insights into customers' perspectives and challenges. 

Andrew Simmons, sales director of Soyang Europe, values SDUK as a proven platform to connect with customers and engage with potential clients and demonstrate new solutions. On the Soyang Europe stand, the company will showcase its Solar Range of PVC-free print media and a variety of textiles designed for latex, UV, and dye-sublimation printing, including those crafted from recycled yarns.

Welcoming Newcomers to the Stage

The 2024 edition of SDUK will also see some new faces with businesses such as Techsil and Sign Trade Supplies exhibiting for the first time. Kate Harris, business unit manager at Techsil, says: "Participating in Sign & Digital UK 2024 is an opportunity to reaffirm Techsil's presence within the industry. We're excited to showcase our new line of UV Curing products and highlight the expanded range we now offer through our partnership within the Techsil Family. 

“Our primary goal at the show is cultivating relationships with our existing customers, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to them.”

Garrick Dartnell, head of marketing at Sign Trade Supplies, highlights the multifaceted approach to meeting the community and engaging customers: "We're here to meet the community, connect with our national customers, and let them step into our world to explore sustainable aluminum profiles, innovative sign fixings, and special effect coatings that redefine sustainability in aluminum. 

“Our stand isn't just about products; it's an interactive experience, a bit of fun, and a chance to challenge the status quo. We look forward to demonstrating how we bring value to our customers and why Sign Trade Supplies in 2024 and beyond."

The Explains Lounge feature is now in its third year and will host a series of presentations and panel discussions

Sign Trade Supplies will use its debut at the event to share with visitors its fast, flexible, and reliable supply of aluminium profile and sign components across the UK. On Stand K51, the company will showcase its portfolio of aluminium profiles, sign fixings, and crafted components with a key focus on Sign Trade Supplies’ focus on sustainability.

Garrick Dartnell, head of marketing at Sign Trade Supplies, explains: “2023 was a great year for us, and we established ourselves as a key supplier of a broad range of high quality, great value products for the industry. We are now setting our sights on making 2024 a year to remember, and being at SDUK is an important part of that.

“The most important reason for being at SDUK is to meet with sign and display people to provide information on our products and services and explain how we could support them in 2024 and onward. With over 35 years of delivering sign components and services, we look forward to engaging with our longstanding customers and forging new connections. We aim to show the distinctive qualities that position STS as the optimal partner for the sign trade.”

Innovation Unleashed

Another innovation that will be on show at the event will be German display innovation, MAGNWALL from Brownings. Brad Robinson, sales marketing manager at Brownings, says: "Imagine hassle-free mounting of electrical accessories on tension fabric systems, eliminating complex wiring. 

“We're excited to bring this transformative tech to the UK market, letting visitors experience firsthand the magic of MAGNWALL. At SDUK, visitors will witness the future of dynamic, flexible displays alongside our diverse Brownings Range. Its simplicity meets dynamism – an unmissable visual revolution." 

Another exhibitor with two decades of experience of supplying the Sign Trade is Sign and Screenprint Supplies with the event taking place in the company’s home city. 

Nikki Green, Business Development Manager at Sign and Screenprint Supplies says: "After over two decades of supplying the Sign Trade, we're thrilled to make our mark at SDUK, our home city event. As we've grown, so has our passion for showcasing our crafted built-up letters, laser-cut signs, and fabrications. Exhibiting is our way of building new connections and fortifying bonds with sign companies, turning every opportunity into a lasting relationship." 

The Explains Lounge: A Deep Dive into Industry Insights

Now in its third year, the Explains Lounge will host a series of presentations and panel discussions designed to inform and educate visitors on the latest developments, trends, and innovations. 

With insightful presentations, expert-led discussions, and valuable networking opportunities, the Explains Lounge aims to create a dynamic and educational experience for all participants. The Explains Lounge covers various aspects, including managing sign businesses, business advice sessions, daily panel sessions, feature sessions, and more. 

Speakers include Andy Rogers of Stahls UK; Colin Sinclair McDermott, The Online Print Coach; Julian Mennell of InkTec Europe; Izabella Ivanovici and Sarah Fenna for a Women in Signs and Graphics panel; and Sam Armstrong for a talk on how to Arm, Prepare, Diversify, and Excel. 

For registration, the latest news, and the full Explains Lounge schedule, visit www.signuk.com.

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