Impressions Long Beach: So Much To Unpack

March 18, 2024

January’s flagship decoration tradeshow delivered in typical fashion, kicking off the year with the unveiling of new equipment, accessories, and consumables. It’s impossible to showcase all the innovations the manufacturers and suppliers brought, so we’ll review the highlights within each corner of the decoration world.

Direct To Film (DTF)

CobraflexStill dominating the industry, DTF’s ever-expanding reach is carving out it’s niche by taking market segments from screen printing, heat transfer and DTG. Its versatility, ease of use and wide application range makes it a favorite whether for a crafter, a traditional business or anywhere in between.

The market is now seeing advances due to 2nd- and 3rd-generation machines with greater features, personalization of settings and supporting higher capacity production. The velocity of evolution has increased as we’ve seen “big money players” step in like Roland, Epson and even screen print giant M&R. Buying equipment now requires a lot of research and understanding your desires versus the needs of your business.

Cobraflex Stealth: gained traction solving many of the challenges with early DTF machines.

  • Self-contained air filtration
  • Integrated Vertical shaker
  • Enclosed and environmentally controlled print area
  • Ability to install through a 34” doorway

Roland: jumped into the DTF game

  • 20” DTF printer
  • Teased a wide format machine coming soon.

EpsonEpson: DTG/DTF Hybrid

  • Able to switch between platen and printing individual DTF sheets.
  • Advantage in ink

Screen Printing

Never a disappointment, ROQ created an experience at the show with an entire atrium dedicated to ROQ world. Those attending found themselves immersed in all kinds of screen-printing innovation reaching all levels of experience. In addition, historic leader and trusted partner M&R showed up in style launching new equipment and offering a sneak peek into some thrilling technology.

From ROQ World

  • Tagbot neck label and front printing all at once.
  • Pigskins and Pigtails: portable entry-level single screen print station
  • Stampinator: ability to print 360 transfers per hour

M&R boothM&R

  • Quattro DTF as another option and enhancement to their loyal customers.
  • Showed a prototype visual inspection system to aid in output quality and efficiency.
  • Digital Squeegee combing the best of screenprint and full color printing for production.


  • Precision mounting for screens reduces setup time.
  • Mounting system also reduces need for highly experienced operators.
  • Advertising job changeover in 5 minutes or less.

Heat Transfer

613 OriginalsThanks partially to the rise of DTF, opportunity within the heat transfer realm has increased in general. A renewed focus on legacy products and advanced transfer technology is enabling even greater product adoption to meet any customers projects, including retail needs. Whether you decide to bring work in-house or partner with long-standing consumable manufacturers, heat transfer technology is becoming the go-to for unique solutions.

Ninja Transfers

  • Custom Transfers
  • No minimum
  • DTF transfers
  • UV applications for hard goods

613 Originals Truck613 Originals
(Most original booth, serving Tees and Totes from a food truck. Awesome!)

  • DTF Transfers
  • Focused on educating customers
  • Innovative transfers and techniques


  • Advanced technology and solutions for difficult to print items
  • DTF solutions
  • Dye blocking options
  • Focused on helping and educating the market


  • Fully biodegradable product available, possibly by the time you read this
  • Advanced techniques and education

White Toner Options

Like DTF, white toner printing was shown as a great entry into full color transfers at a fraction of the costs as a business brings production in house. It is generally utilized for low volume runs due to its multi step application process. The high tide of DTF is raising all boats (printed transfers) with companies like Forever Transfer and Uninet reaping the benefits.


Direct To Garment (DTG)

Ricoh’s Ri 4000 was showcased as capable of printing 100% polyester DTG, normally a space reserved for extremely high-end machines. This opens the door for DTG printers.


Attacking the challenges of full color and gradient digitizing, embroidery also highlighted emerging technology.

A standout, while not a brand-new solution, is Coloreel. They utilize a single white thread and spot color mapping through special digitized art to allow for multiple color designs and gradients that would otherwise not be achievable.

An additional technique referred to as “Direct to Embroidery” can be used on any embroidery machine and pairs a DTG machine to print color over the top of the sewn threads. The advantage gained is the print can go beyond the stitched threads to create larger multimedia designs. Take a closer look at the process in this video.

That’s it for Long Beach…but just as we finish unpacking this one, Atlantic City is coming up soon. See you there!