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2008 International Sign Expo Preview

A Look at the Upcoming Trade Show’s Highlights

The industry is excited about this month’s ISA Expo, taking place March 27-29 at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Here, we spotlight a small selection of exhibitors and their products. If you attend the show, be sure to stop by and visit us at booth 1242.

3M Graphics Market Center, booth 2222, displays the recently introduced 3M Promotional Products Portfolio. Aimed at the expanding short to medium term promotional graphics market, it is suggested for banner, floor, window, flat vehicle, and bus applications. According to 3M, customers were looking for a broad portfolio of reliable promotional film products offering the kind of performance they’re accustomed to with 3M Controltac, Scotch-cal Graphic films, and 3M brand flexible substrates. 3M’s response is a 15 product portfolio providing dependable, cost-effective solutions for short to medium duration graphic needs.

Arlon, Inc., booth 1636, showcases its DPF 6000X; a 2-mil gloss white cast film with bubble releasing, tinting, positionability, and permanent pressure-sensitive adhesive. The X-scape system allows installers to achieve speedy installation while maintaining high enough tack to ensure long term bond. The adhesive system is designed to provide excellent opacity, as well as easy installation. The film provides superior conformability around rivets, curves, and contours. DPF 6000X is rated for outdoor durability up to seven years—unprinted. It is specifically formulated for solvent-based inkjet printers.

Avery Dennison Graphics, booth 1214, features three new specialty series leaf films—hammered gold leaf, shimmer, and silver illusion. These high performance cast films offer two-year durability and a three-dimensional holographic look. Metallic leaf films are recommended for flat applications only and are thermal transfer printable. Metal is a popular design trend and these films project a higher quality image when used in architectural, directional, outdoor, POP, and vehicle graphics applications. Hammered gold leaf, shimmer, and silver illusion are available in a 15-inch by ten-yard punched roll.

Also on display are several new digital products including DOL 1030, a 1.3 mil cast overlaminate that delivers ultra-conformability. Coupled with its high gloss, it is perfect for vehicle and fleet wraps. Additionally, DOL 1030 is ideal for use with UV-curable inkjet technology as it provides permanent, valley-free adhesion to UV-curable inks, eliminating the silvering effect. It also works great over solvent, mild solvent, and eco-solvent inks, and it resists abrasion and scratching by protecting and limiting damage to graphics for up to four years. DOL 1030 is available in 30, 48, and 54-inch, and 60-inch by 50-yard rolls. Circle 127

Bowman Displays, booth 2513, exhibits the new Digital Video Lightbox. A cutting-edge hybrid of its UltraThin Snap Frame Display with a 15-inch LCD video screen DVD player. Run your latest commercial or a slideshow of products with full audio for double the marketing impact. Features include an easy-to-program remote control, tamper proof controls, continuous loop feature, built-in stereo speakers, and optional dual player.

Additionally being shown is the new Digital Photoframe Lightbox that lets you run a dazzling slideshow presentation of your favorite pictures within your backlit display. The seven-inch digital photo frame is user programmable from standard digital files and media. This high resolution LCD screen includes a continuous loop feature, optional audio capabilities, supports memory types including MMC, MS, SD, and XD, and file types JPEG, TIF, GIF, and bitmap.

CHROMiX, Inc., booth 5147, features Maxwell, a new color management system based on a central Web-enabled color repository. Imagine a system that allows easy upload and download of profiles, color measurements or any color file—at any time and from any place. Maxwell also offers device trending, color profiling, profile sharing, and measurement services.

Built on a solid foundation of clustered Web and database servers, Maxwell imports and exports popular file formats—including Microsoft Vista’s new proprietary format. It also has a graphing engine for color analysis and device trending. No more color conversion and color coordination problems. Access to each account is determined by the account administrator for easy sharing across the board—or around the world.

CLEAR FOCUS Imaging, Inc., booth 846, displays both its PerfxCoat protective coating and ReflectVue perforated retro-reflective film. PerfxCoat meets the need for an optically clear protective coating for CLEAR FOCUS perforated window graphics printed with solvent-based inks. The clear coating does not add to the weight or thickness of the graphics or bridge the film’s holes, thus maintaining the flexibility and ease of installation of the perforated window film. PerfxCoat protects graphics against the harmful effects of chemicals, abrasion, and fading caused by UV rays, and adds an attractive gloss finish to the print.

ReflectVue is a silver-gray/black perforated retro-reflective vinyl film for producing promotional see-through window signage in which visibility under low-light conditions is desired. The 10-mil film features 1.6-mm holes, a 60/40 perforation pattern—40 percent open area—and a retro-reflection rate of 50, and has a clear removable acrylic adhesive and release liner. Offered in 48-inch by 100-foot rolls, ReflectVue is compatible with solvent-based inkjet printing.

Delcam, booth 2524, debuts a new entry-level version within its ArtCAM family of artistic CADCAM. ArtCAM Express targets skilled artisans rather then engineers. Its ease-of-use offers companies not familiar with CNC machining the benefits of CADCAM software. More advanced systems, ArtCAM Insignia and ArtCAM Pro, are available in a seamless upgrade path. They combine the simplicity of Express with more sophisticated design and manufacturing tools.

Drytac, booth 2636, demonstrates the newest addition to Drytac’s JetMounter line. The JM 63 model is a heavy-duty, top heated roller laminator capable of a full range of mounting, laminating, decaling, and other graphic finishing processes.

This 63-inch wide model features a top heated roller up to 266 degrees Fahrenheit, single-pressure set control, independent unwind brake, adjustable rewind speed, roller pressure readout, auto grip shafts, and paper in-feed guide. This laminator is also equipped with an extra take-up shaft for rewinding decals. The JM 63 offers an enhanced 5.5-inch roller diameter for easier webbing. It is capable of mounting substrates up to two inches thick. The laminator processes at speeds up to 20 feet per minute (fpm).

EFI, booth 202, announces the availability of two new models in the QS super wide format printer family. The addition of four and six color configurations to the QS2000 and QS3200 family of printers offers ease-of-entry options for sign printers and graphic display manufacturers who wish to add digital UV production to their product mix.

The QS2000 and QS3200 offer superior image quality at 1,080 dpi on both rigid and flexible substrates up to 3.5 meters wide and up to two inches thick, with changeover from flexible to rigid substrates in less than a minute, and uses EFI’s QS Series UV inks. With this expanded offering, customers can now choose from systems with four colors, six colors, or six colors with white ink for a super wide format printing solution that best meets their financial and production needs. Additionally the QS 4C and 6C models are field upgradeable, enabling customers to enhance printer capabilities as needed.

FELLERS, Inc., booth 2580, showcases wrapping techniques learned at their Fellers Certified Wrap Training in Tulsa, OK. The classes are conducted by professional wrap instructors and are 90 percent hands-on. This allows students to learn correct wrapping techniques in a controlled environment rather than on the job. The training covers design, printing, and general information about the vehicle wrap business. It walks students through a vehicle wrap from initial measuring to the final printed piece. Fellers Certified students are trained on The Bad Wrap software. This software allows designers to save hours of preparation on vehicle wraps with over 300 templates of the most commonly wrapped vehicles.

Fellers Total Wrap Solution Package eliminates the guesswork with product selection while providing training and on-going support. Fellers Certified Wrap Equipment includes Mutoh ValueJet 1614 64-inch printer, Seal Pro S 62-inch laminator, Graphtec FC7000 Mk2, and Hotwired Tech’s Wrap Daddy and Rip Daddy.

Fisher Textiles, booth 472, debuts several new fabrics for digital printing. Added to the green Enviro-Tex fabric line is Symmetry fabric. Enviro-Tex fabrics are made with repreve yarn, which meets FTC guidelines for recycled products. The manufacturing process of the yarn reduces energy consumption while conserving petroleum resources by offsetting the need to produce virgin polyester. ET 9450 Symmetry is 88 percent repreve polyester and 12 percent spandex. It is used for banners and trade show exhibit applications, especially those aiming for geometric design. The fabric easily bends and curves and is highly recommended for architectural design.

Also added are two new fabrics to the Direct Disperse line for direct dye sublimation printing. DD 7801 Flag is a 3.2 oz. polyester warp knit. It is most widely used for flags and banners. DD 7825 Poly Satin is a 3.2 oz. spun satin polyester. This fabric has great definition and presents a very high quality print. The surface appearance is very desirable for banners, signs, and trade show exhibits.

Gandinnovations, booth 922, displays its grand format digital printer portfolio, which includes its UV True Flatbed models plus the three-meter roll-to-roll and Aquajet printers. The Jeti 1224 UV True Flatbed is a compact and economical flatbed specifically designed to give print shops the versatility they need. The Jeti 3324 Aquajet roll-to-roll, direct-to-fabric is the company’s first three-meter wide direct-to-fabric printer using specialty, in-house formulated, waterbase dye dispersed inks.

The Jeti 3150 X-2 UV flatbed printer features 48 Spectra High Performance print heads and a five by ten-foot printing area. These 48 heads allow for ink designation of eight heads-per-color creating six color combinations and can achieve printing speeds of 870 square feet per hour (sf/h) in production mode.

Gandinnovations’ Jeti UV Printers use dedicated, environmentally friendly UV-curable premium inks. These specially formulated inks yield a wider color gamut and exhibit excellent flexibility and superior adhesion on a variety of materials including 100 percent PE eco-friendly. Circle 135

Gerber Scientific Products, Inc., booth 2024, introduces its newest wide format UV inkjet printer—the Gerber Solara ion. The Gerber Solara ion is built on a robust flatbed platform for printing rigid materials up to one-inch thick and 64 inches wide. A true roll-to-roll printing system is integrated into the Gerber Solara ion.

The Gerber Solara ion features Gerber’s patent-pending, Cold Fire Cure technology. This unique UV curing process uses low energy and temperatures to cure the proprietary GerberCAT inks. GerberCAT inks provide unmatched adhesion on materials traditionally problematic for inkjet printers and are immediately usable after printing. The ultra-flexible GerberCAT bond supports an extensive range of three-dimensional applications including vehicle wraps with tight curves and smooth application over rivets.

At 639 sf/h the performance print mode is used for the fastest printing of samples or short-term graphics. At 320 sf/h the production print mode provides the best combination of speed and resolution; and a high quality mode prints crisp, clear graphics at resolution up to 1,440 dpi (apparent).

Graphic Materials International (GMI), booth 1728, debuts Wall Graphics, adding to its line of digital media for solvent, eco-solvent, and UV-based printing processes.

GMI’s Wall Graphics is a flexible vinyl film coated with a specially formulated, ultra removable, and reusable low tack adhesive that can be saved and reused when reapplied to the release liner.

Wall Graphic is offered in three caliper thicknesses—4, 6, and 8-mil—to ensure maximum compatibility. Wall Graphics is applied to clean, dry walls with smooth surfaces such as painted walls and most types of wallpaper. It can remain applied for up to two years. Circle 137

Hewlett Packard (HP), booth 956, showcases the latest technology innovations in the large format printing market, including the first North American showing of the HP Designjet H45500. The HP Designjet H45500 provides worry-free, self-service operation, and can fit in any space with its ability to convert from a roll-fed to a flatbed printer.

In addition, ISA marks the premiere of HP’s newly expanded portfolio—fully integrated MacDermid ColorSpan and NUR devices.

Inca Digital Press, booth 2657, demonstrates the Inca Spyder 320-8 Series at Fujifilm Sericol’s booth. Eight ink modules allow the printer to widen the color gamut of the CMYK ink set—adding violet, orange, and a white option. This enables white printing—overprint, underprint, or spot color layers—using one printing press. This ensures maximum flexibility and print speed, and delivers accurate registration between the white spot color and the CYMK image. Sharp image resolution and crisp text is printed on a 126x63-inch static vacuum bed with highly accurate pin registration. Fujifilm Sericol Uvijet inks provide an excellent color gamut with print longevity.

KAPCO Graphic Products, booth 141, displays new solvent media sure to catch everyone’s eye—PSA 3-mil metalized PVC in six finishes with permanent clear adhesive. Trade show graphics, signs, POP displays, and applications will stand out with these metallic vinyl films. Metalized PVC is outdoor durable for up to three years without lamination and five years unprinted. The metalized backside of vinyl allows for a solvent printable surface. Available in 24-inch or 48-inch by 75-foot, choose from smooth or brushed silver and gold, carbon fiber silver, and diamond plate.

Leggett & Platt Digital Technologies, booth 1772, exhibits the new Virtu HD8, featuring high definition, high speed, eight-picoliter precision that rivals desktop quality. The first superwide or grand format printer that prints at manufacturing production speeds, it uses MEMS multi-drop digital technology. Three machines in one, the Virtu HD8 adjusts to print with a range of fine to coarse drop sizes to meet resolution needs, allowing manufacturers to select high resolution eight picoliter fine drop size for the finest quality—smooth, rich color and sharpness, super small type—on one application, then auto-change to 16 or 24 picoliter drop volume for mid-range or production printing on other jobs.

Available in two modular platforms, the Virtu HD8 provides an entry point to high definition printing. Printer specifications include six-color printing, resolutions of 1,440 dpi (actual) and 2,880 dpi (apparent) with quality images at up to 1,500 sf/h. The Virtu HD8 prints to 98 inches wide by any length roll-to-roll and eight-feet by eight-feet—or larger—rigid panels with 100 percent bleed on the widest variety of substrates. Options include dual roll/sheet capability, BioHueV White flexible white ink, an Ink Management System, and AutoLoad for process automation and maximized throughput.

MACtac Graphic Products, booth 2162, demonstrates its recently introduced IMAGin wallNOODLE. A versatile pressure sensitive specialty vinyl that works well with all printing types, it consists of a 6-mil face with a white matte finish. Users enjoy the easy application, repositionability, and removability of the product. Applications for IMAGin wallNOODLE include wide format graphics for wall murals, posters, decals, and advertisements where easy application and removability are a necessity.

Also shown, the Enhancer 6300 Series of clear gloss overlaminates from MACtac’s Graphics that Rock product line. At 2.5-mil in crystal or 3-mil in silver or multi-color flake versions, the series transforms any image, opaque vinyl, or paint into a long-lasting, gleaming graphic display. Enhancer 6300 series works well on flat or moderately curved surfaces and is guaranteed up to five-year outdoor durability.

MGE, Inc., booth 726, showcases its patented i-cut vision systems on various cutters, routers, multi-purpose cutting/routing plotters, and laser systems, showing that i-cut’s ease-of-use and precision can be tailored to any cutting devices that a printer might need depending on volume, materials, and manufacturing. i-cut ensures that regardless of the errors in contour that may arise due to materials, lamination, or the printing process, no graphic is ever finished incorrectly.

Plus, regardless of the printer, RIP, or cutting device used, only one workflow is needed—fully automating manufacturing capabilities from design—Adobe Illustrator—through the RIP to print and cut. This i-script enabled workflow allows efficiency and throughput to remain constant while devices may change due to improvements in their technology.

Mutoh America, booth 1178, shares the winner of the Sign Shop Make Over contest at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 28. Mutoh teamed up with 3M, GBC, GEI Wide Format, Korographics, and SA International to present the first ever Sign Shop Make Over contest. One lucky winner will be awarded over $100,000 worth of equipment, supplies, and services. Equipment includes a digital printer and cutter, laminator, software, media, training, and a Colortrac MFP scan-to-print system.

Neschen Americas, booth 622, debuts its newest product from the SEAL brand Eco-Logic Manufacturing program, SEAL Eco Mount. SEAL Eco Mount is a water-based, polyacrylate, unsupported, pressure-sensitive adhesive that is both recyclable and biodegradable. With no carrier film, and a selective chemistry that offers optimum bonding performance while minimizing the impact on paper recycling streams, Eco Mount offers customers a mounting adhesive that can be recycled with corrugated and paper products.

SEAL Eco Mount comes self-wound on a siliconized Kraft paper release liner. It is 1-mil thick and is available in rolls 38-inch by 200-foot and 51-inch by 200-foot. Sample rolls are available in 38-inch by 25-foot.

Océ North America, booth 436, exhibits the winner of the 2007 DPI Product of the Year Award and the 2006 DPI Vision Award, the Océ Arizona 250 GT. It offers printing without compromise for a broad range of applications. Using UV curable inks and Océ VariaDot imaging technology to deliver near-photographic image quality, it includes a true flatbed platform to print on a wide variety of rigid substrates—up to 49 inches wide by 98 inches long by 1.89 inches thick, and features an optional roll-to-roll module for printing onto flexible media—up to 87 inches wide. The Océ Arizona 250 GT uses four-color UV-curable inks and delivers a true production print speed of 172 sf/h.

In addition to superior image quality, Océ VariaDot imaging technology with four-color inks uses significantly less ink compared to six color printers with fixed-droplet inkjet technology. The less ink consumption results in ink savings of up to 35 percent over fixed-droplet, six color printers.

ONYX Graphics, booth 820, displays ONYX Graphics RIP software, helping regain control over color with consistent, accurate, and predictable output. With ONYX PosterShop and ONYX ProductionHouse, these color management tools include recalibration, integrated Pantone library, and custom media profile creation capabilities.

ONYX Graphics software packages are designed for entry-level and high-production environments with one to many printers. ONYX software contains an impressive array of software modules including RIP-Queue, Preflight, Layout, Media Manager, and CUT-Server. These software modules contain advanced color correction and image modification tools that allow you to analyze profile quality with gamut mapping, profile grading, and 3D viewing. Users have the ability to easily perform difficult output requirements with consistent results.

Roland DGA, booth 836, showcases innovative solutions for the sign industry, including its inkjet printer and printer/cutters, vinyl cutters, engravers, and photo impact printers. Live vehicle wrap and Versaworks productivity demonstrations are scheduled throughout the show.

ISA marks the industry debut of the 2008 SOLJET PRO III XC-540 printer/cutter, a high-volume production tool for indoor and outdoor banners, signs, vehicles, decals, POP displays, and more.

The 2008 XC-540 features new proprietary Roland Intelligent Pass Control technology for unsurpassed image quality and twice the speed as the previous model in standard print mode on vinyl. A white ink configuration is offered featuring new White ECO-SOL MAX ink.

Roland also demonstrates its Pure Print Performance line of wide and grand format inkjet printers including AdvancedJET and SOLJET models ranging from 54 to 104-inch width. The Hi-Fi Express FP-740 74-inch sublimation printer and VersaCAMM printer/cutters in 30 and 54-inch models will be featured along with new R-Wear custom apparel solutions and ADA signage solutions featuring the Roland EGX-350 engraver.

Triangle Digital INX Co., booth 360, exhibits additions to its current arsenal of products. Where much of the company’s earlier developing revolved around solvent based inks, now nearly 50 percent of their inks being formulated and commercially launched are UV-curable.

Triangle now boasts UV-curable inks designed for use in the VUTEk PressVU series printers, Durst Rho, and NUR Tempo and Expedio printers. Additionally, Triangle formulated a unique UV-curable ink (PEX) designed specifically for use on polyethylene substrates. All of their UV-curable inks have great adhesion to even the toughest substrates including styrene and coroplast.

Triangle’s BondAid is a specially formulated product designed to improve adhesion between any UV curable ink and hard to print surfaces such as metal, glass, tile, and plastics. There are two formulations of BondAid, each designed to handle specific substrates. BondAid is an optically clear alcohol base coating that works to create a chemical bond between the ink and substrate.

CristalBond D007 is a water based clearcoat designed to help colors pop on UV prints as well as offer a protective shield against elements of the environment. When used with Triangle’s optional crosslinker, the resulting coating has increased resistance to chemicals and abrasion.

Triangle will also display its ECOS (environmentally conscious outdoor substrates) line, environmentally friendly media for billboard and poster printers. The Flexilite line is for bulletins and the Posterflex line for poster placements. Benefits include a lighter media—minimizing shipping costs and no glue needed during the application process.

Ultraflex Systems, Inc., booth 513, showcases a wide variety of products including BIOflex, BIOmesh, and PolyeLite. These eco-friendly products are amongst over 30 other unique product offerings including various frontlit, backlit, blockout, mesh, wallscapes, carpet, and rigid medias.

BIOflex is a biodegradable PVC frontlit sign media that breaks down and turns into a non-toxic dust when exposed to landfill conditions—darkness, high heat, moisture, and lack of oxygen. BIOflex can be digitally printed or screen printed. BIOmesh is a biodegradable mesh; with all of the typical features, benefits, and printability—solvent or UV—of standard Ultraflex quality meshes, however, this mesh will degrade in a landfill. PolyeLite is a recyclable, lightweight, durable polyethylene for UV printing for billboard applications.

Verseidag seemee US, Inc., booth 1150, features seemee Insight Heavy. This product offers the textured look of a textile product combined with the dimensional stability and color reproduction of PVC. It is a specially designed substrate for interior use at trade shows, theatrical applications, POP, and retail display. Excellent fire retardant properties meet the most demanding code. A unique coating process provides a scratch resistant matte finish with excellent color pop and vibrancy. Lightweight yet durable, this product is available in 1.6, 3.2, and five-meter widths. Roll length is 50 meters. Print compatibility includes grand and large format solvent and UV printers.

X-Rite, Inc., booth 2876, displays its full range of color training services. X-Rite Color Services Group offers everything from basic color theory and one day introductory seminars to in-depth application training, online Webinars, dynamic eLearning, and certification programs.

The training group is dedicated to four areas of service—expert training, certified color profiling, industry seminars, and technical support. Expert training includes programs on site, in house, and online.

Visitors to the X-Rite booth will be able to win free passes to the company’s most popular training courses and seminars.

Zünd America, Inc., booth 2672, exhibits the 71x98-inch L-2500, set up for dual-mode processing. Independent vacuum control on the front and back of the machine allows for pendulum production, cutting two different jobs and substrates simultaneously. As an example, the 1kW router can be used on one side to route up to two-inch boards, while the other is set up for knife-cutting a wide range of softer or flexible materials. The Zünd automatic tool set-up and management system and a very simple and efficient workflow manager makes for setting up and switching back and forth between different operations a cinch.

Mar2008, Digital Output

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