By Melissa Donovan
Digital Output’s Readers’ Choice Top 50 Awards are an excellent stopping point before the year’s end to review some of the biggest and brightest names in the graphic arts. Each year, using our website metric system—DOdirect.net—we tally readers’ interest in companies. This is done via requests made on print and Web editorial and advertisements as seen in the magazine or on the website. 2015 presents 50 winners and ten honorable mentions. Congratulations to all of this year’s participants!
This year’s top 50 companies range from innovative media manufacturers and superwide printer creators to ink scientists crafting the next big thing. Learn more about our Readers’ Choice Top 50 below, presented in alphabetical order.
3M Commercial Solutions help customers worldwide build brands, by providing large format graphics for almost every application including indoor and outdoor signage, floors, walls, windows, building, fleet, and vehicle wraps. In addition to providing turnkey network design, installation, management, and maintenance programs, 3M graphics are protected by the 3M MCS Warranty, one of the strongest warranties in the graphics industry.
Agfa Graphics offers integrated solutions to graphic communications comprised of consumables, hardware, software, services for production workflow, and project and color management. Computer-to-film, computer-to-plate, and digital proofing systems earned Agfa a worldwide leadership position in commercial, package printing, and newspaper publishing. Agfa develops comprehensive digital inkjet solutions for printing banners, signage, displays, labels, and packaging.
Alpina Manufacturing offers Flip-Up, Slide-In, or Banner Grip frames made in any size or quantity to hold graphics or banners. Change graphics without removing frames from the wall, all while featuring a beautiful presentation at a low cost. The company provides any size A frame stands and pole stands. No minimum quantities are required when ordering and all products are made in Chicago, IL.
Arlon Graphics, LLC manufactures and markets a full line of high-quality pressure-sensitive cut vinyl, flexible substrates, print media films, and automotive color change films for digital imaging, signage, vehicle graphic, and automotive restyling. Arlon is headquartered in Placentia, CA, with strategically positioned distribution out of Australia, Europe, India, Latin America, the UK, and Uruguay to service customers worldwide.
ASLAN, Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG celebrates 65 years of developing, producing, and marketing self-adhesive films for various applications. A private, family-owned company and a specialist for self-adhesive films, ASLAN offers innovative and high-quality products with the quality assurance of being made in Germany.
Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions features products for digital and traditional printing technologies and reflective and cut signage. Applications range from promotional graphics such as signage, labels, exhibits, displays, and bus wrap markings to long-term, durable applications like fleet markings, backlit signs, vehicle striping, and general graphics.
Caldera is a software company with almost 25 years of experience in developing, marketing, and supporting high-quality technological software for wide and grand format imaging with a commitment to increasing productivity, cost efficiency, and color output. Caldera’s suite of production-orientated print and print-to-cut workflow programs offers color management, imaging, and driving solutions for large and grand format peripherals.
Canon Solutions America offers the tools to help customers become more productive and profitable through industry leading production, large format, and enterprise printing solutions, all supported by exceptional professional and technical service offerings. Expand business with industry-leading technology offerings provided by both the Canon and Océ brands. The Océ line of large format flatbed and roll inkjet printers and finishing systems, built for a variety of outdoor and indoor applications, can enhance your company’s productivity starting today.
Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, CET Color builds large format flatbed and hybrid UV printers. Utilizing state-of-the-art UV-curable ink sets that are free of volatile organic compounds in addition to being eco-friendly, the printers have the ability to print on virtually any substrate. The CET Color Q5-500 and Q5-1000 printers can be custom configured up to ten printheads and are field upgradable. CET Color provides both quality and performance at a price you won’t believe.
With an emphasis on dye-sublimation technology and the sublimation printing process, Condé Systems offers everything needed to produce and market personalized products including dye-sub transfer systems and supplies, heat transfer systems, heat presses, blank imprintable products, production software, and a huge collection of educational and instructional videos. Find out how creating personalized photo gifts and awards can help your business be more profitable.
Coveris Advanced Coatings, Digital Imaging Division boasts a strong reputation for delivering innovative products for wide format printing providers, including the company’s Magic portfolio of digital imaging media and inks and Museo digital fine art and photo media. Magic media addresses the evolving needs of digital printers. Featuring distinctive coatings, Magic provides media compatible with most water-based, latex, UV cure, and solvent/eco-solvent inks.
Digital Graphics Systems (DGS) is a wholesale distributor in the Americas for DYSS of South Korea’s line of digital table cutters for packaging, point of purchase (POP) displays, and trade show booth manufacturing. DGS also offers KASEMAKE Design Software, featuring over 700 templates for folding cartons, corrugated boxes, POP displays, and structural honeycomb boards. As part of the finishing solutions offered by the company, the TORNADO II CNC router is an important element of the product portfolio. With over 20 years of experience in wide format graphics, DGS is setting up a distribution network in Canada and the U.S. to sell its complete create-print-cut business solutions, which include its new product BOARDers, a full line of rigid board accessories to manufacture trade show booths and event backdrops, free standing signs, and POP displays.
Drytac Corporation is an international manufacturer of adhesive-coated products, including graphic films, window films, double-sided tapes, self-adhesive print media, label stock, industrial adhesives, and heat-activated and pressure-sensitive laminates and mounting adhesives. Drytac can also create unique customized adhesive products to customer specifications.
Durst Image Technology U.S. is a world class manufacturer of professional wide and grand format digital UV inkjet printers, for today’s imaging industry. Durst products are designed for performance, reliability, and longevity—offering some of the highest print quality, productivity flexibility, and efficiency in the industry today. Learn more about Durst product offerings and discover new business opportunities. Durst is a global leader in industrial printing innovation.
EFI is a global technology company, based in Silicon Valley, and aids in the worldwide transformation from analog to digital imaging. The company is passionate about fueling customer success with products that increase competitiveness and boost productivity. To do that, it develops breakthrough technologies for the manufacturing of signage, packaging, textiles, ceramic tiles, and personalized documents, with a range of printers, inks, digital front ends, and a comprehensive business and production workflow suite that transforms and streamlines the entire production process.
EnCore Products manufactures foamboard used for digital printing, screenprinting, point of purchase displays, exhibits, cut graphics, indoor signage, and dry mounting. The EnCore Foam Board line includes products such as White, Colors, Black on Black, White-Black-Black, Permanent Pressure Sensitive, Repositionable Pressure Sensitive, SingleStep Heat Activated, MightyCore Rigid, PilloCore, and Design Boards. All products are made in the U.S. EnCore’s entire substrate portfolio is available in a variety of size and thickness combinations.
Epson America, Inc. offers an array of image capture and image output products for business, commercial print, graphic arts, photographic, signage, direct to garment, and fabric production industries.
Fisher Textiles’ reputation in providing quality textiles with unsurpassed service is reflected in over 25 years of producing industry-leading fabrics for digital printing. It is the company’s mission to keep its value proposition high while maintaining excellent quality and service to its entire customer portfolio. Three warehouse locations allow Fisher Textiles to fill just-in-time requirements. It stands behind its products and takes pride in providing some of the best fabrics in digital printing.
Fujifilm North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division, is a stable, long-term partner focused on delivering high-quality, technically advanced print solutions that help printers develop a competitive advantage and grow businesses. The company’s financial stability and investment in research and development enable it to develop proprietary technologies for best-in-class printing. These include prepress and pressroom solutions for offset, wide format, packaging, and digital print, as well as workflow software for print production management. Fujifilm is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of its products and operations, proactively working to preserve the environment, and strives to educate printers about environmental best practice.
Established in 1950, Gans Ink and Supply Company celebrates over a half century of experience in ink manufacturing and dedication to customer service. Its simple three-word motto says everything a printer needs to know when deciding on an ink manufacturer, supplier, and integrator—longevity through integrity.
Georg and Otto Friedrich is one of Europe’s leading producers of warp knitted fabrics. Founded in 1950 as a contract manufacturer for the foundation of the garment/lingerie and automatable industries, today Georg and Otto Friedrich is both a market and developmental leader for digitally printable warp-knitted fabrics in Europe and worldwide.
HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments, and society. With a broad technology portfolio spanning printing, personal systems, software, services, and IT infrastructure, HP delivers solutions for customers’ most complex challenges in every region of the world.
InkTec develops and manufactures various inks, such as sublimation ink for textile printing and soft signage, water-based dye and pigment, solvent, eco-solvent, mild-solvent, and oil. The company provides high-quality ink through its strict quality control systems. Furthermore, it offers total solutions for actual image printing, from inks, media, and parts to paid or free after-sales service.
InkTec America is an original equipment manufacturer of large format printing inks for solvent, eco-solvent, dye-sublimation, aqueous pigmented, and aqueous dye based. The company is also the original equipment manufacturer of the Jetrix line of UV flatbed printers and UV roll-to-roll printers up to five meters. Additionally, the company offers over 40 different materials for large format printing including backlit film, trade show film, clear film, PET, and heat transfer paper.
INX Digital delivers technologies that drive digital growth all over the world. Integrate digital technology into an existing operation or expand and improve current digital capabilities with the company. Combining the ink formulating expertise of INX with Evolve, Prodigy, and Triangle brands makes INX Digital an unequaled source for products, technologies, systems, consultation, and services to help customers reach new levels of digital production excellence. The company offers services and manufacturing with operations located in China, Europe, and the U.S.
Kapco Graphic Products is a manufacturer/converter offering digital media for water-based inkjet and solvent/latex/UV printers, mounting adhesives, laminates and backers, signs, vinyl, and supplies. Adhesive backed, water-proof and specialty vinyl, banner, canvas/fabric, and film; paper inkjet media, vinyl, banner, film, and canvas; and paper solvent media plus PSA UV and thermal laminates in four finishes are available from the company.
LexJet Corporation is a one-stop, direct source for equipment, materials, and software used in the large format printing of photos, art, commercial graphics, and wall décor. Dedicated to total convenience and personal customer service, LexJet provides one-day ground delivery to most of the continental U.S., online ordering, highly trained account specialists, free and unlimited product and technical support, and extensive educational resources.
Lintec of America is a manufacturer of pressure-sensitive films for visual marking, signage, and architectural window applications. It specializes in optically clear, frosted, and textured films for display, point of purchase, and window graphics. Lintec offers a range of laminates, mounting, and printable films.
Mactac’s products are used in a range of applications including walls, windows, floors, point of purchase, vehicle, and marine graphics. Its digital print media product lines include IMAGin, Starliner, Metro, REBEL, MACmark, and PERMACOLOR.
Magnum Magnetics is a U.S. manufacturer of flexible magnetic sheeting, strip, and custom profiles. It offers printable magnetic sheeting for multiple printing presses including inkjet, digital, offset, and flexography. The company takes the time to understand an application before recommending a magnetic solution.
Headquartered in Germany, Marabu North America draws on more than 150 years of experience in developing inks and coatings. Its product line includes MaraJet digital printing inks, ClearShield water-based coatings, the StarLam liquid laminator, and Marashield UV-curable coatings. The company’s success is built on not just high-quality products but its ability to work with customers to offer tailor-made solutions to their printing and coating needs.
Master Magnetics features a robust line of magnetic assemblies, flexible magnetic sheeting, flexible magnetic receptive, and strip in a range of thicknesses and laminates. Together PrintMagnetVinyl and FlexIRON create a quality magnetic graphic system ideal for sign making, advertising specialty, vehicle graphics, and point of purchase displays. The company’s large inventory and custom cutting capabilities, along with two regional production and distribution facilities, ensure fast and cost-effective delivery to its customers. Backed by 39 years of experience, Master Magnetics is one of the best sources in the magnetic field.
Media One is a full-service provider for large format inkjet. Its specialty is print manufacturers with production environments. The company covers the whole workflow from equipment, RIP software, color management, and finishing equipment to consulting and consumables like textiles, inks, and films. Media One offers full nationwide technical support. It is an industry leader for textile printing solutions and the company’s clientele are some of the most recognized organizations in the industry. If you’re looking for efficiency, dependability, and profitability, the company is your long-term solution.
Mimaki is an innovator and a pioneer in the development of digital printing and cutting products worldwide. The company engineers and manufactures a complete line of digital printers and cutters, and offers a total workflow solution for the many applications found in sign and graphics, textile and apparel, and industrial industries. In 2014, Mimaki USA celebrated 15 years of serving customers in the Americas.
MultiCam Inc. is enhancing the digital finishing market with three affordable, easy-to-use CNC cutting solutions. An innovative sign and graphics leader since 1989, MultiCam manufactures heavy-duty machines that route, knife cut, crease, and perforate at speeds up to 7,000 IPM. The EZ Knife supports rotary, kiss cut, drag, angle knife, oscillating, and ultrasonic cutting. Its automatic knife-changing system ensures seamless production.
Mutoh America, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of wide format printers and plotting cutters. Home to the ValueJets, Mutoh’s line of inkjet printers are known for their quality, speed, and Smart Printing technologies.
Newlife Magnetics is one of the world’s largest flexible magnet and print media manufacturers specializing in wide format magnetic media. It makes printable magnet sheeting up to 50 inches wide. The company manufactures the MACO Magnetics Display System consisting of Ino-Steel and Wall-Mag or Mag-Paint. Its Cling-King print media adheres to smooth and non-porous surfaces without any adhesives and is ideal for window, counter top, and floor graphics as well as car signs. Cling-King is available in white, transparent, and frosted in 100-foot rolls in 50-inch widths.
Celebrating more than 25 years of innovation, Onyx Graphics is dedicated to helping its customers increase productivity, reduce costs, and gain a competitive edge with superior print and color quality. Innovative, productive, and satisfied customers around the globe motivate the company to continually develop and enhance its portfolio of leading-edge technologies. Longstanding relationships with printer manufacturers position Onyx as one of the market leaders in powerful, reliable large format printing workflow software.
ORAFOL Americas Inc., a subsidiary of ORAFOL Europe GmbH, is a leading global manufacturer of premium vinyl graphic products, reflective solutions, and adhesive tape systems used in signage, graphics, industrial, and traffic and safety applications. The company’s distribution network spans Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the U.S.
Pacific Coast Fabrics (PCF) is a pioneering provider of digital print textiles, in wide and grand format, for direct dye, dye-sublimation, latex, UV, and pigment printing. All of its fabrics are developed to the company’s high-quality and performance standards. Many of its premium fabrics are offered with flame repellant coatings. PCF also stocks fabrics for performance and fashion apparel as well as home furnishings and frame systems.
Roland DGA offers wide format inkjet printers and integrated printer/cutters equipped with eco-solvent, sublimation, UV, and aqueous inks, including SOLJET, VersaCAMM, VersaUV, VersaEXPRESS, VersaStudio, and Texart models. All Roland inkjets come bundled with powerful, yet easy to use, RIP software, and several models offer specialty ink options, including white, metallic silver, light black, and clear coat.
SA International is recognized as one of the global leaders in providing complete, professional solutions for signmaking, digital printing, and CNC machining.
Seiko* ColorPainter wide format printers deliver the world’s richest, glossiest colors on a range of substrates, at fast real-time speeds. With inks that last longer outdoors without fading, cost less per square foot, and provide industry-best color density and image quality, ColorPainter printers provide an excellent return on investment. Sales, service, and support are provided through authorized distributors. *The wide format printing group of SII including ColorPainter printers joined OKI Data Americas on October 1, 2015.
Signs365 is a trade-only grand format wholesale printer. It offers 24-hour standard production with overnight anywhere shipping to trade professionals and graphic artists.
Top Value Fabrics is a leading supplier of quality print media. With more than 40 years of success in the textile industry, it offers a complete line of printable banner media including digital and screen banner, specialty textiles, and dye-sublimation for indoor and outdoor use. It supplies a selection of frontlit, backlit, blockout, PET, water based, mesh, PP, and specialty textiles in standard and custom widths from 38 to 197 inches, manufactured to the company’s specifications.
Ultraflex Systems, Inc. is a supplier of digital and screenprintable substrates in seamless widths from 30 to 198 inches for UV, eco-solvent, solvent, latex, dye-sublimation, and screenprinting. Product lines include frontlit, backlit, blockout, mesh, wallpaper, carpet, textiles, biodegradable, and recyclable banner media. Printable sample rolls are available for test printing as well as product literature and sample swatches.
Since 1984, Value Vinyls has manufactured, developed, and supplied printable textiles and vinyl. It makes relationships with its customers that last. With custom product capabilities, sales support, inventory reports, and nationwide warehouses, Value Vinyls has taken care to create a diverse yet specific mix of printable media. From lightweight fabrics for high-end retail to quality print vinyl, customers find the right product for the right display.
Verseidag Coating and Composite stands worldwide for high-quality fabrics for digital print and signage. Its seemee brand represents digital print substrates for interior and exterior market applications, supplying various widths up to 196 inches. The product range includes PVC coated and/or laminated products, which include backlit, frontlit, blockout, and mesh among others. seemee also offers a range of textiles that perform across the full gamut of print outputs, including solvent, UV, latex, aqueous, transfer, and direct dye-sublimation ink sets.
VKF Renzel is one of the leading producers and suppliers of signage hardware and display solutions to manufacturers, resellers, and end users. Its product line consists of high-quality hardware such as Aluminum Snap Frames and Aluminum Poster and Banner Holders. In addition, the company precision cuts and heat bends PVC, PETG, and acrylic items including price labeling and shelf management systems. VKF’s creativity guarantees quality, selection, product availability, and competitive pricing. The company provides outstanding manufacturing capabilities combined with the expertise and resources of highly experienced division teams from around the world.
Zünd, a leading manufacturer of digital flatbed cutting systems, offers multifunctional, high-productivity cutters/routers with numerous tools and automated material-handling options for processing printed/unprinted materials up to ten feet wide. Designed for maximum versatility and modularity, all G3/S3 models are powered by Zünd Cut Center, an end-to-end workflow suite with automatic quick response code capture, which makes Zünd cutting systems efficient and easy to use.
We can’t stop at 50! There are many vendors achieving success and changing the shape of the industry and Digital Output wanted honor ten more. Learn about this year’s honorable mentions below, organized alphabetically.
Catalina Graphic Films is a manufacturer of pressure-sensitive films used in digital, screen, offset, and roll label. It specializes in films for point of purchase, including window graphics, floor graphics, and wall graphics.
Esko is a global market leader providing automated design-to-print-to-cut solutions for print service providers. The company manufactures Kongsberg digital cutting and routing systems and develops software solutions, including i-cut Suite, to reduce time to market, raise productivity and efficiency, increase throughput, and minimize costs associated with production and pre-production.
FLEXcon is an innovator in adhesive coating, laminating, and finishing of durable materials used in graphics applications, electronics, and new products. The company is a trusted partner to a range of companies including printers and fabricators to engineers and designers developing products for existing and emerging markets.
KATZ Americas is a producer and converter of wood pulpboard. Its products are eco-friendly, contain pre-consumer recycled content, and are fully recyclable. The company’s products provide a superior alternative to foam and plastic display options.
Perception Wide Format, a brand of Worthen Industries, is a growing line of specialty coated canvases and fabrics designed for the graphic arts. The company’s mission is to consistently manufacture and deliver the highest quality, innovative American-made craft wide format media. It manufactures its products under a strict ISO 9001:2008 quality system and is committed to responsible manufacturing and environmental sustainability throughout its entire operations.
Piedmont Plastics is a national distributor of flexible and rigid graphics solutions for all major print media technologies. Proven solutions include SupraFlex banner products, AluPoly aluminum composite material, acrylic, polycarbonate, FPVC, foamcore, PSA vinyl, paper, window films, laminates, fabrics, wallpaper, PETG, Falconboard, and polypropylene. With over 40 stocking branches throughout North America, the company is ready to ship local graphics products today.
For over a decade, Qué Media, Inc. has grown to become a global coating manufacturer of aqueous, solvent/eco-solvent, and latex digital print media for display graphics, point of sale advertising, and photo reproduction. The company’s expertise is most influential in wide format and color laser. With regards to wide format it currently coats substrates such as polypropylene, PVC, backlit film, fabric, banner material, and multi-layered PET film in addition to a full line of pressure-sensitive laminates.
Ritrama is an international group of companies dedicated to the worldwide manufacturing of specialty and commodity self-adhesive materials. It is a worldwide manufacturer of pressure-sensitive graphic films with a reputation for performance and value. The commitment of Ritrama is to provide excellent quality, innovation, and worldwide service.
Sihl is a leader of digital print substrates. It produces films, papers, and specialty materials for inkjet, solvent, UV-curable, latex, and toner-receptive wide format plotters, printers, and presses.
VALLOY Inc. adds fuel to the continuous evolution in digital printing, covering signage, textile, and packaging. More than 5,000 copies of TOPAZ RIP software are installed all over the world and specially coated TOPAZ inkjet media is popular in multiple countries. The company is aggressive in textile printing, with the TOPAZ heat press, Texcooker, transfer paper, dye-sublimation ink, and new UDS ink for direct sublimation on cotton. ANYTRON roll label solutions provide true digital production of many labels.
Once again we’ve compiled some of the most influential vendors serving the graphic arts community. In addition to the profiles included in this piece, check out the accompanying chart, which highlights some of the most popular and/or newest products the Readers’ Choice Top 50 winners offer. Didn’t see a vendor on this list that deserves to be? Make sure to inquire about them regularly throughout 2016 on DOdirect.net. Your interest is what drives the annual Readers’ Choice Top 50 Awards.
Nov2015, Digital Output