In its quarterly Sign Industry Quarterly Economic Report, covering the first quarter of 2015 with forecasts through 2016, ISA (www.signs.org) anticipates above-average growth for 2015 and 2016. The report also finds that the outlook for all segments – large-format printers, dynamic digital signage, electric signage, and wayfinding – has improved since the last quarter of 2014.
Today, I had the privilege of interviewing the VP of operations of a company active in the wide-format digital printing market. It’s always very interesting to hear what the people who own and run these businesses are thinking and what challenges they face. For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the interview was his opinions on the technology his company has invested in and why.
Roland DGA (www.rolanddga.com) has introduced premium-quality Texart Sublimation Transfer Paper, designed for use on the firm’s Texart RT-640 dye-sublimation printer. The uniformly coated, 95-gsm paper reportedly holds ink well and dries quickly, allowing for immediate winding on the printer’s take-up reel without causing the inks to smear or run. It also has high ink-release characteristics to help ensure a high-resolution end product with vibrant colors, crisp lines, and strong details.
Mimaki (www.mimakiusa.com) has released ES3 eco-solvent inks for use in the company’s JV300, JV150, CJV300, and CJV150 series printers. The inks are designed to be highly scratch-resistant in high-traffic applications such as vehicle wraps, window graphics, static clings, and magnetic signs. They are also low in odor, for use in shared working environments without special ventilation.
At the Glasstec 2014 exhibition in Dusseldorf last winter, Marabu (www.marabu-inks.com) introduced a screen-printable UV primer compatible with hot stamping, designed to create metallic effects on glass without the use of ceramic inks. Users print the design with Ultraglass UVGL primer, which also functions as a hot-stamping cliché. The foil adheres only to the area of the glass that was treated with the primer, producing high-gloss gold and silver effects at significantly less cost than conventional ceramic inks.
Designed for short-term advertising on uncoated, textured surfaces, Orajet 3943 from Orafol Americas (www.orafolamericas.com) is a 2-mil, high-gloss film with enhanced stretching capabilities for use on textured surfaces such as brick, concrete block, and poured concrete. The film is compatible with latex, solvent, eco-solvent, and UV inks and available in 54-in. widths.
Designed for short-run and on-demand printing of promotional products and plastic industrial parts, the fJetXL flatbed inkjet printer from Engineered Printing Solutions (www.epsvt.com) can image products up to 5.9 inches tall. The 1200-dpi LED UV-cure printer has a maximum print area of 39.8 x 22.4 inches and can reportedly print a full-sized bed in CMYK + white x2 in less than 2 minutes. An optional clear coat is available.
3A Composites has added white and natural options to its line of Fome-Cor ValuBoard media, intended for usage use in short-term P-O-P displays, exhibits, kiosks, interior signage, and long-term framing applications. ValuBoard can be fabricated with mounting, laminating, knife-cutting, die-cutting, punching, and embossing techniques, according to the company. New choices include white foam sandwiched between white kraft liners, white foam with natural liners, and black foam with natural liners. Available in a 3/16-in. thickness in standard 48 x 96-in. sheets or by custom order.
Using the company’s Onset Scaleable Architecture platform, Inca Digital’s new Onset R40LT flatbed UV inkjet printer is designed as a mid-range machine with a flexible configuration that can be upgraded as a business’s needs change. In its most basic configuration, the 63 x 123.6-in. R40LT is a four-color printer with manual loading and unloading and max. print speeds of 2852 sq ft/hr (the equivalent of 40 full-sized sheets). It can also be furnished or upgraded to a 5- (CMYK + white), 6- (CMYKcm), or 8-color (CMYKcm + white x2) model.
Kornit Digital has introduced a discharge ink designed for its Avalanche DC Pro DTG inkjet printer. Designed as an integrated digital discharge-printing solution, the DC Pro inks allow full-color graphics to be printed on dark garments without a white underbase, reducing the amount of white ink printed and eliminating the need for pretreatment fluids while creating a soft hand on the final print.