STL at the ICMA Conference

ICMA Conference

The Superior Tape and Label team was buzzing with excitement upon their return from the 2018 International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA) Expo in Championsgate, Florida. The ICMA is one of the world’s premiere organizations for card manufacturers and card manufacturing suppliers, and was an incredible opportunity for STL to connect with colleagues and potential customers.

The expo, which ran from March 26-29, highlighted innovations in the industry, giving participants a glimpse into the coming trends and potential new technologies in regards to manufacturing credit cards. Keynote speaker, Bernard Baumohl, Chief Global Economist for the Economic Outlook Group, shared how online shopping, worldwide economic recovery systems, and geopolitical instability are poised to impact the future of the credit card manufacturing industry.

Another highlight of the conference was the presentation of the coveted Élan Awards, given to the “best and most innovative products around the globe over the past year,” according to Jeffrey Barnhart, ICMA founder and executive director. In a press release from the event, Barnhart said, “New technologies continue to revolutionize the way the card industry does business and it’s exciting to watch how manufacturers, personalizers and suppliers embrace that change and adapt their businesses to respond.”

This year, the award felt a bit sweeter than usual, as long-term collaborator, Placard, took home the Elan award for the Personalization and Fulfillment card category with their Velocity Frequent Gold Welcome Pack on behalf of Virgin Australia.

One of the unique trends of the 2018 ICMA conference was the emphasis on metal cards. Alec Doede, the Sr. Technical Sales Manager at STL, explained that this type of product innovation is exactly the purpose for attending the conference.

“Metal cards are still a very new thing. Manufacturers are trying to figure out how to design them better, produce them faster, at a high volume, with a full range of print elements. That’s the reason we get involved. The industry is constantly changing, and they’ll need the kinds of products and problem-solving that we know how to supply.”

Other STL innovations that drew visitors to the Superior Tape & Label booth included cleaning tape and card attaching labels.

“We are helping card manufacturers realize higher throughput by designing consumables - attaching labels - a little bit smarter,” Doede said. “That’s what we’re good at. Getting in and looking at the way it’s been done forever and thinking about it creatively.”