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Shop Talk: Screen Printers Defy the Odds

(August/September 2016) posted on Tue Sep 06, 2016

The numbers are in, and the verdict is: 'We're kicking ass.'

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By Andy MacDougall

Speaking of which, many of us will soon be at our annual family reunion, otherwise known as the SGIA Expo. The membrane switch/electronic/industrial cousins are in town early; hopefully they don’t cause too much trouble or get thrown out of the casinos before the main contingent shows up. Beginning on Wednesday, we can look forward to three days of craziness when everyone else arrives, although the boothies, and especially the technicians, will be running on fumes after a few days of frantic setup.

I’m always in awe of how companies manage to ship gigantic machines from halfway around the world and get them up and running in a few days. As you walk the aisles, give a thought to the small army of people who worked like dogs, some of them all night for a few days, and others for months in advance doing the logistics and planning, in order to get everything in place for the start of the show.

Back when I was young and stupid, building equipment and bringing it to the show, we ran into a problem at SGIA that only a Canadian would understand. After sealing up the crates and sending them off, we arrived at the show only to discover that we forgot to bring a Robertson bit so we could open the crates to get to the tool kit inside. The square-head Robertson driver, invented during World War II as a production tool to replace slotted screws or mushy Phillips heads, is unique to Canada. And so are the bits. We use them on decks, drywall, metal, and anything wood, including crates – just about (“aboot”) everything. Apparently, much to my dismay, Americans don’t. Did you know it’s almost impossible to find a hardware store in the downtown of a large US convention city?

But that was then, this is now. The only screwdrivers I might need in Vegas this year have vodka in them, and that is in plentiful supply. Speaking of vodka, one of my fellow Academy of Screen and Digital Printing Technology members, Artem Nadirashvili, runs Midi Print, Russia’s largest screen- and specialty printing company. A lifelong musician and art lover, he recently combined his two interests into a gallery in Las Vegas, and if you are looking for something that doesn’t involve losing large amounts of money, drop in and check it out. They feature originals and prints, all with musical themes at the Gallery of Music & Art, located on the third level of The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

If any of you would like to say hi during the show, you can find me at booth 3851, surrounded by a bunch of screen-printing machines. Just don’t look for me anywhere near the machines that go ding-ding-ding.

Explore the rest of our August/September 2016 issue or read more "Shop Talk" from Andy MacDougall.


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