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2008 International Sign Expo

Highlights from March’s Show

The annual ISA Expo took place March 27-29 at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The show was a success for all, with over 1,900 booths attracting nearly 20,000 attendees. With new announcements in the graphic arts market and previews of what is to come at shows such as drupa, the trade show represented 111 countries outside of the U.S. Here we provide a brief overview of the many highlights.

2M Solution introduced technology in printing display advertisement—R-Flex. Used in the display market, R-Flex is a material that allows for a different image to appear once an advertisement is illuminated. Cutting down cost and timely removal procedures, this PVC-based product allows for the simultaneous display of two different images—with the ability to change from one color to another. The maximum width of the product is 16.4 feet and it is guaranteed up to two years.

3M released 3M Controltac Graphic Film IJ380 and 3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate 8580. Designed for vehicles with deep channels or concave surfaces, the 2-mil cast film and 1.2-mil overlaminate eliminates relief cuts. Improving productivity, the film lays down on channels and concave areas, then is stretched into place—no lifting required. The new products carry a three year 3M Performance Guarantee and 3M MCS warranty.

AGFA announced it will debut the newest addition to its inkjet printers at drupa 2008. The new :Anapurna XLS provides photographic quality at high production speeds. At resolutions of 1,440 dpi, the printer is built around AGFA’s Universal Print Head technology. Also shown at drupa will be the :Anapurna Mv and M4f.

Arlon, Inc. launched its DPF 2400, a 5-mil printable reflective vinyl with repositionable pressure sensitive adhesive. This film is compatible with a variety of direct print systems and conforms to both flat and irregular surfaces. DPF 6000X is a 2-mil cast film with tinted, repositionable adhesive, featuring Arlon’s new X-scape air release technology. Available in roll sizes of 30-, 48-, 54-, and 60-inch by 50-yard rolls, it has an outdoor durability of up to seven years unprinted. Lastly, DPF 4560GTX is a premium 3-mil calendered gloss which features Arlon’s new X-scape air release technology.

Avery Dennison introduced the XHA 7745, an adhesive foam sign tape for sign applications ranging from plastics to metals. It is UV and solvent resistant. MPI 2601 is a 6-mil calendered wall film ideal for display applications. New promotional films include MPI 3900 Matte and MPI 3910 Gloss. These are both three-year durable films. Avery introduced MPI 2150 translucent film, a 3.2-mil with a long term durability of six years unprinted and five years with a cast overlaminate.

Bordeaux Inc. highlighted its newest line of optimal UV inks. The company expanded the PLASMA inks product range to include other common substrates such as polypropylene. PLASMA PIFx UV-curable inks are ideal for rigid and flatbed applications as well as roll-to-roll printers. The new PRIME PrJ3 Match solvent ink series is strictly plug and play ink—eliminating flushing, changing pumps and tubing. PRIME PrJ3 can be mixed with OEM ink, diminishing the need to throw away partial or unused ink. It has a fast drying time and is available in six colors. Coinciding with the company’s "green" philosophy, each of its inks comply with the latest EU regulations.

d.gen, Inc. showcased its Teleios 74-inch direct textile printer. With no need for transfer paper, Teleios prints directly on coated and uncoated polyester fabrics. A built-in heat fixation unit is controlled by an integrated computer and ensures that textile printing and heat fixation are synchronized. The printer is available in four and eight color modes and can print on media up to 102 inches.

Digital Designware launched the 2008 version of Car ‘n Truck/Pro Vehicle Outline 2008 and introduced new vehicle graphics for digital printing, Ghost Flames. After the merger of Digital Auto Library and MR Clipart, the new collection of accurate and to-scale vehicle templates contains more than 21,000 different cars covering model years from 1992 to 2008. The new product is available as a Basic version and the all-new 3D version. Car ‘n Truck Basic comes with two DVDs and a one-year free update service.

Dilli Precision Ind. Co. spotlighted the Neo UV large format flatbed printer series. The series consists of Neo Titan, a hybrid, roll-to-roll/flatbed; Neo Venus, hybrid, roll-to-roll/flatbed; Neo Deluxe, flatbed; and Neo Plus, hybrid, roll-to-roll/flatbed. The max printing widths are 98 inches. The printers vary in speed, color, and max resolution.

Drytac Corporation displayed the newest addition to its display solutions—the Panda Stand. Constructed of bamboo, this retractable banner stand is made from 90 percent renewable sources. Also shown was BoothBug, a pop up display with the MagnaStrip graphics installation system, which easily locks panels in place. No hooks or clips are required because magnets lock the panel into the frame. Drytac also announced the acquisition of Advanced Finishing Solutions.

Durst Image Technology U.S. featured the Rho 800 Presto large format UV inkjet printer. 98 inches wide, the hybrid flatbed printer is capable of continuous board printing. It uses VOC-free UV inks and handles a wide array of media. Durst also showed its Durst Service Portal—a Web-based program to help Durst customers control service costs and reduce equipment downtime. Durst plans to include a preventative maintenance module with the service portal. It will alert Durst customers to upcoming equipment checks.

EFI, Inc. exhibited the QS3200r with VUTEk QS Series r UV inks created for roll-to-roll applications. The inks allow printing on fabric, backlit materials, banners, adhesive backed vinyl, static cling, and other substrates used on highly contoured applications. The QS3200 7C is capable of changing from flexible to rigid substrates in less than a min-ute—printing with QS series ink six colors plus white. Also on the floor, the VUTEk 3360 and PV200 6C.

Epson introduced the new mild-solvent Stylus Pro GS6000. It is bundled with a ColorBurst RIP and Pantone Custom ICC profiler. Eight colors, the printhead and ink are exclusive to the device. The inks are available in 900 and 1,500 mil cartridges and are environmentally friendly, for example there is no nickel found in the yellow. Additionally, Epson says the inks offer aqueous-based ink quality. The printer handles output at 180 square feet per hour (sf/h) and is low maintenance, with no additional expenses for filters, cartridges, or cleaners.

Fellers demonstrated The Bad Wrap software system. The software includes over 300 real photographic templates of the most commonly wrapped vehicles. All templates include actual measurements in PDF documents for quick reference. Users can work right in Photoshop. Fellers also highlighted its wrap training program, Fellers Certified Wrap Training. The program is endorsed by 3M, Avery, Oracal, and Clear Focus.

Fujifilm Sericol debuted the MaxJet series of solvent roll-to-roll printers. Available in both 65- and 90-inch models, the printers are ideal for banners, window graphics, backlit signage, and vehicle wraps. Print speeds of up to 800 sf/h are enabled by eight printheads with two nozzle rows of independent ink channels. The MaxJet comes with a Bulk Ink System using Fujifilm Sericol’s Color+ AI series inks. The inks last outdoors for up to three years without lamination. Also on display, the Acuity HD 2504, a UV flatbed printer—now offered with a roll-to-roll option.

Fisher Textiles showcased Symmetry fabric from its Enviro-Tex fabric line. Made with repreve yarn, ET 9450 Symmetry is 88 percent polyester and 12 percent spandex. Additionally shown were DD 7801 Flat—a 3.2 oz. polyester warp knit and DD 7825 Poly Satin—a 3.2 oz. spun satin polyester.

Gandinnovations launched its newest grand format UV digital printer—the Jeti3348 Jetstream UV RTR. The three-meter, roll-to-roll printer features 48 spectra printheads. Ideal for billboard and building wrap applications, the device operates at 2,500 sf/h. Also available is a backlit option, which allows dual-sided printing. The company also showcased the Jeti3324 Aquajet—a three-meter dye-sublimation printer targeted toward the flag and banner market.

GBC introduced Octiva Scuff-Free Matte Film. The polypropylene film is available in thermal rolls ranging from 38 to 61 inches wide. A specially engineered abrasion resistant surface protects and enhances prints such as trade show graphics and POP displays. The surface is scratch resistant and the matte finish helps minimize glare.

GCC America, Inc. spotlighted the Jaguar IV—a cutting plotter available in four models that accept media widths from 24 to 72 inches. Also shown, the Puma III cutting plotter which cuts up to 29.5 inches per second (in/s) and is also available in two models. They accept media at widths of 28.3 and 57.87 inches. Two UV-curable inkjet printers were shown—the StellarJET 183UV and the StellarJET 250UV. The StellarJET 183UV prints directly on rigid and flexible substrates up to 72 inches wide. The StellarJET 250UV prints on a variety of substrates such as glass, leather, and wood.

GEI Wide Format featured double-sided printing solutions. GEI recently became the master distributor for the Techsage SpinJet line. SpinJet is an add-on device that is presently customized for several HP Designjet large format printers to enable fully automatic roll-to-sheet double-sided imposition proofing and double-sided printing of banners, signs, and posters. The product dramatically reduces production time and material cost.

Gerber Scientific Products (GSP) highlighted the Gerber Solara ion UV inkjet printer. Designed from the ground up, the printer is both a true flatbed and roll-to-roll device. Media as wide as 64 inches can be processed on the device at a performance speed of 639 sf/h. GSP also displayed the Gerber M series flatbed cutting/routing systems. Both the M3000 and M1200 cut at 34 in/s. The M3000 has an overall cutting area of 75x120 inches and the M1200 66x46 inches. The standard configuration for both series include T3 cutting head, M-Vision registration system, four overlay cutting mats, a five-zone vacuum hold down system, and the Gerber OMEGA software suite.

Graphtec America, Inc. displayed the flatbed cutting plotter FC2250 series. Available in three different sizes, these plotters are ideal for cutting, creasing, and scoring applications. All three options come equipped with Graphtec’s Automatic Registration Mark Sensor System and Graphtec’s Cutting Master 2 Plug-in software to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw. The three different cutting widths available include 24, 47.2, and 68.5 inches. The maximum cutting speed is 16 in/s.

Hewlett Packard (HP) showcased for the first time in North America its expanded portfolio of large format printing technologies—including print devices formally under both the NUR and ColorSpan namesakes. Highlighted were the HP Designjet H45500, a hybrid-UV printer that converts from roll-to-roll to flatbed; the HP Scitex FB910, a high volume production system that prints directly on any rigid, thick, or heavy specialty media; the HP Scitex XP5300, ideal for billboard applications—it prints at 3,200 sf/h in billboard mode; and the HP Scitex FB6100, a flatbed that easily converts to a roll-fed printer. Also shown, HP Latex Inks. These inks are odorless and durable, emitting low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A device utilizing the new inks will be announced at drupa.

IBENA Inc. exhibited its IBENA DPI-TEX series fabrics. The IBENA DPI-TEX photo series works well with solvent, eco-solvent, and UV-curable inks. Their DPI-TEX Backflag is laminated with a paper backing. Lastly, DPI-TEX GlossyFab creates transparencies using UV-curable inks and playing with light. All of IBENA’s DPI-TEX fabrics are flame retardant or fire proof.

Inca Digital Printers demonstrated its Spyder 320-8 series at the Fujifilm Sericol booth. The printer, distributed by Fujifilm Sericol, is a digital flatbed UV printer featuring Fujifilm Sericol Uvijet Ultratone ink. The Spyder 320-8 comes with a Wasatch RIP and prints at 645 sf/h. Four different models are now available—a four color, six color, entry level, and a white version for added flexibility in addition to the eight color printer.

InteliCoat Technologies showcased its FAB-TAC fabric banner with low tack pressure sensitive adhesive. The 8-mil media is compatible with Canon, Epson, HP, and other water-based piezo printers with both dye and pigment inks. The 100 percent polyester woven fabrics are offered in three different roll sizes—36 inches by ten feet, 36 inches by 100 feet, and 50 inches by 100 feet. The company also stressed it dedication to producing environmentally friendly products. Certified by the ISA 14001:2004 environmental management system, InteliCoat outlines the recommended recycle channels for all of its products with the Magic Technical Bulletin for Recycle and Disposal.

Kapco Graphic Products highlighted recently introduced products including 3-mil metalized PVC in six finishes, 6-mil matte and gloss white vinyls, 6-mil white reflective vinyl, ImageJetVue window film with a solid liner, and a 3.75-mil PSA floor laminate. The 6-mil matte and gloss white vinyls are available with permanent, removable, or ultra removable adhesive.

Leggett & Platt Digital Technologies (L&P) exhibited the VirtuHD8 printer. The device features high definition, superior quality, eight picoliter printing at highest production speeds with MEMS multi-drop digital technology. Printer specifications include six-color printing, resolutions of 1,440 dpi with quality images at up to 1,500 sf/h. L&P’s VirtuHD8 is available in two modular platforms.

Lintec’s WINCOS TM product line offers optically clear PET films for light solvent and UV inkjet printer platforms. The adhesives are solvent-based acrylic and available in either permanent or high tack removable. Lintec also featured a variety of textured window graphic films printable by UV and solvent inkjet.

MACtac announced the sponsorship of The Team Rensi Motorsports’ No. 25 Smithfield Ford Fusion for the 2008 NASCAR season. All of the graphics for both the cars and haulers will be printed on MACtac IMAGin B-free vinyl and protected by Permacolor RAYZor overlaminates. MACtac recently launched a new, user-friendly corporate Web site as well as the Application Nation Web site. App-lication Nation is an online networking community developed to aid in-stallers with how-to forums. Addition- ally, MACtac launched new Bubble- Free Pro Vinyl—created for the experienced installer, as well new Perma-color Matte RAYZor Overlaminating film for low-gloss projects, and the Permacolor Enhancer series.

Matan Digital Printers introduced the Barak product line of UV, hybrid superwide format digital printers to North America. The Barak comes in either 16-foot or 11.4-foot widths and prints at performance speeds of 1,830 sf/h. The 16-foot model prints both rigid and flexible materials with an optional multi-roll feature that allows printing on up to three rolls.

Megaink Digital AS showcased its BioMG inks made from renewable sources. BioMG ink proves to be notable for UV, scratch, and alcohol resistance, and less abrasive than traditional solvent-based inks. They are compatible with Mimaki, Mutoh, and Roland printers. Also on display, its new third generation inks, XA, for HP Scitex printers.

MGE debuted MGE-Kongsberg i-XE32 and i-XE54 digital finishing systems. The two new models increase cutting capabilities up to 53x63 and 63x120 inches. MGE also released the newest version of i-cut, i-cut 6.3.2.

Mimaki USA introduced the CF3 series cutter. Both the CF3-1631 and CF3-1610 cut at speeds of 19.6 inches. The CF3-1631 cuts media up to 63x122 inches and the CF3-1610 63x39.3 inches. The router head cuts materials with a 2-inch thickness—including cardboard, corrugated board, foam, rubber, and industrial materials. These cutters are best paired with JF series printers, JF-1631 and JF-1610, for the full print and cut solution. Circle 248

Mutoh America exhibited the ValueJet 1618. The dual headed, 16 channel printer uses Eco-Ultra ink 1000m packs to create media at a maximum width of 64 inches. In production mode, the printer can produce output at 334 sf/h. Also announced, Mutoh is now shipping the ValueJet 1608 bio-hybrid flatbed printer. The eco-friendly printer uses MUBIO inks and prints at a max width of 64 inches.

Nazdar showcased its TX6500 series sublimation ink for Mutoh wide format printers including the Viper, RJ6100, and RJ8000. With a 12 month shelf life, they are offered in 220 ml and 440 ml cartridges. Nazdar also announced a joint warranty with MACtac. The warranty covers MACtac JT5929BFD, JT5529BFD, JT5828P, JT5829P, JT828P, JT829P, Digitrans, and WallNOODLE for durability under normal vertical exposure conditions.

Neschen Americas re-launched its complete range of filmolux laminating films and gudy adhesives with advanced adhesive technology and additional sizes. In the display category, Neschen announced the addition of Expolinc Poster Profiles—made of silver anodized aluminum. The two plastic mounting strips, end caps, and hanging loops create a display that is easily hung flat and straight.

Océ North America exhibited the roll media option for the Océ Arizona 250 GT UV flatbed printer. Both the flatbed and the roll system can be used sequentially. The roll media option can be added to any Océ Arizona 250 GT printer. At $21,500, the add-on is field upgradeable and makes for a small footprint. Océ also launched several new printers at the show including the Océ CS9200 series low-solvent printers and the Océ CS9160 eco-printer.

Onyx Graphics hosted its Production-House RIP system. The RIP allows for simultaneous RIPing, tiling, color correction, and spot color matching. Both small and large format printers are compatible with ProductionHouse including, Canon, Encad, Epson, Graphtec, HP, Mimaki, Mutoh, Roland, and Seiko.

Oracal USA released several new products. Their ORACAL Series 8800 is a 2-mil cast film with an eight-year durability rating. The film is suitable for use on rigid, thermoformed, or flexible surfaces. Oracal also exhibited its new 1-mil, ultraflexible, cast laminating film—ORAGUARD Series 293. For experienced installers, this media is best used with ORAJET 3551, ORAJET 3551RA, and ORALITE 5600. In a few months look for new PVC digital media with RapidAir Technology, movable wall graphics, and transit vinyl from Oracal.

R Tape Corporation exhibited its Vinylefx printable metalized vinyl. The media requires no top coating prior to printing and is suitable for applications on solvent, eco-friendly, UV, and thermal printers. These pressure-sensitive metalized vinyl films are available in 30- and 48-inch widths. Vinylefx is also offered as special outdoor media, designed for long term outdoor signage, and in a decorative series targeted toward race car graphics and POP displays.

Roland DGA showcased the SOLJET PRO III XC-540 54-inch printer/cutter. Formulated especially for the XC-540 is White ECO-SOL MAX ink. The XC-540 is offered in a six color model and features Roland Intelligent Pass Control technology. With the introduction of the 2008 XC-540, Roland is offering prior SOLJET PRO III XC-540 customers a free 2008 Pure Print Perfor-mance Upgrade which includes new Roland Intelligent Pass Control Technology, upgraded media flanges, and other enhancements. The kit is available to download for free online.

Seiko I Infotech Inc. debuted the ColorTextiler 64DS. The oil-based dye-sublimation fabric transfer printer is a 64-inch device with four colors. Ideal for textiles, including polyester and polyester-blend, the printer works with most transfer papers and RIP software.

Tara Materials Inc. announced its newest product, a semi gloss, will be officially released in a few months and integrated into the 569 and 777 lines. By this summer they plan to offer fire retardant canvases starting with the 569 line as a base. Products in the 569 line deemed fire retardant will be offered in widths up to 3.2 meters.

Teckwin International launched the TeckStorm. Fitted with grey scaling Xaar760 head technology, it is used with the following substrates—banner, aluminum, wood, glass, acrylic, corrugated board, saws, polycarbonate, and steel. The graphic resolution is 1,440 dpi and prints with five colors—including white. The print area is 96x49 inches. Included is a Caldera RIP to ensure seamless workflow.

Tri Vantage, the recent merger of Glen Raven, The Astrup Company, and John Boyle & Company, showcased Vivitex fabrics. The line features five different weights and constructions for use in sign and banner applications. Suitable for most solvent, eco-solvent, and UV inkjet machines, all five fabrics are available in 54- and 60-inch rolls. The five fabrics are—Poly Light White, Poly Oxford White, FR Banner Lite, FR Banner, and Sunbrella Inkjet White.

Ultraflex Systems, Inc. highlighted BIOflex, a completely biodegradable PVC, initially available in frontlit seamless widths up to 16 feet and four inches. Ultraflex also offers BIOmesh, a biodegradable mesh. DSS, double-sided smooth lightweight blockout, is a 13.5-ounce material suited for interior or low stress exterior applications. PolyeLite-PE is a 100 percent recyclable frontline polyethylene substrate guaranteed for one year. It has a white face and a black back.

Wasatch Computer Technology exhibited the Wasatch SoftRIP. User friendly, the Digital Tool Kit prepares images for print and workflow tabs from process to production. The nesting feature helps to create efficient layouts. The spot color feature set allows you to create your own database of frequently used spot colors.

What’s Next
ISA served as a platform for many manufacturers to showcase just a taste of the hardware, inks, and media they will be presenting at drupa, held in Düsseldorf, Germany from May 29 to June 11. Look for a recap of this greatly anticipated show in an upcoming issue of Digital Output.

May2008, Digital Output

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