How does the global economy really get humming? You take vendors with fantastic products and business growth solutions, and you introduce them to printers and converters eager to grow. The Graphics of the Americas (GOA) Expo in February followed that formula, and here are the eye-popping results.
I attended the Graphics of the Americas (GOA) Expo and Conference 2014, held February 27 – March 1 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. I was impressed with the vendors on hand and the enthusiasm from attendees on the floor, so I reached out to George Ryan of the Printing Association of Florida (PAF) for some details on the success of this year’s show.
The show, which PAF has been running in Miami for 39 years, enjoyed an attendance increase of 14 percent over last year. Exhibit space was up 23 percent, and 8,300 people attended the show.
The biggest number of attendees (43 percent) came from Latin American companies. That’s by design, as the goal of the show is to act as a conduit for American vendors to meet with Latin American printers and converters. “Most countries in Latin American aren’t big enough to support a show of this size,” Ryan explained.
Miami is the ideal location, as it’s a big travel hub for Latin America. For example, if you want to go from Sao Paulo to Nicaragua, you have to go through Miami. But it wasn’t just a strategic geographic location that made the show a success. Ryan said the vendors brought equipment ideally suited for the attendees, the majority being small to mid-sized printing businesses.
“In Latin America, there are not a lot of larger printers,” Ryan said. “We didn’t want 40 inch presses on the floor. We asked our vendors to cater to the attendees.”
They did, offering up some ideal new technologies and printing equipment for the small to mid-sized printers. “There were a lot of people buying, and a lot of vendors excited about what they’d sold,” Ryan said.
Top Draws and Game-Changers
I asked George what were the top draws on the GOA floor. The Expo featured numerous show floor features, designed to provide a hands-on demonstration of new technologies at work. Demonstrations included:
- Wide-Format Print Shop Demo. Setting up a wide-format print shop from start to finish.
- Car Wraps. Printing and applying car wraps onto a vehicle. (This show was mobbed.)
- Flex-Packaging Zone. Understanding the latest quick-turn flexo presses.
- 3D Printing Zone. Explaining and demonstrating 3D printers, which for many attendees was the first time they had seen a 3D printer in action.
- Direct to Substrate. Printing wide-format graphics on a variety of substrates, including glass, wood, and fabric.
The show also featured “game-changer” technologies. Selected by a committee, the Expo highlighted the following influential new equipment and software:
- HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press
- Enfocus Connect ALL
- Printware LLC iJetPress Digital Inkjet Printer with iJet Color Workflow
- Nilpeter FB-3300 flexo-press
- MGI Digital Graphic Technology JETvarnish 3D and JETvarnish 3D Twin w/iFoil
- Ricoh Critical Communications Solutions Suite
GOA also featured 55 seminars on management, sales and marketing, wide-format and other topics. The most popular presentations centered on pricing and marketing a small printing company.
Ryan was extremely pleased with the show, and believes it’s an indication of how Latin America will experience continued growth. “We had commissioned a study that the printing market in Latin American is going to grow at 3.1 percent in 2014,” he said.
That kind of growth isn’t possible unless these small and mid-sized printing companies have the equipment and strategies to make it happen. Kudos to George Ryan and his team for providing the forum that brought everyone together. Felicitaciones!