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Success Starts in Orlando

Why do you attend trade shows? There are a multitude of reasons, but they all boil down to two points: networking and education. And this year's ISA International Sign Expo in Orlando give you the opportunity to get out of the office and see all new technology and innovations on display that will drive your company and career forward.

But what are you looking forward to the most? For ISA president Lori Anderson, it was hard to decide what would be the biggest draw for the upcoming Expo. "It’s always hard to pinpoint just one thing, especially with the diversity of our industry. The expo floor is larger than we had last year—and the 2011 show floor was one of the largest in many years. So I have no doubt that everyone will find new opportunities to expand their businesses," says Anderson. "That said, I think there is a growing realization that digital—both in electronic signage and imaging—presents a tremendous opportunity for our industry. We have much to offer in this new—and rapidly expanding field. Digital electronic signage offers a significant avenue of new business and digital imaging has new ink and media solutions constantly appearing. It also offers new avenues of opportunity for printers to expand their business offerings."

And in line with that, ISA is offering several educational sessions devoted to each of these topics—and the products are sure to be on the trade show floor. As a matter of fact, this year's educational sessions include more than 75 courses over 13 distinct tracks. (Go here to search for sessions.)

Digital Signage

As Anderson mentioned above, one change this year is the focus on the rapidly expanding field of digital dynamic signage. At ISA, the Digital Signage Federation (DSF) has developed educational sessions to introduce the technology and business concepts and benefits of digital signage to ISA attendees.

Alan Brawn, DSF chairman, will lead a team of digital signage industry professionals that will provide a curriculum of instruction for the attendees at the ISA show. The curriculum will consist of introductory concepts, technology overviews, and discussions about the business side of digital signage. DSF will also have a floor presence at the ISA, encouraging attendees to learn more about the elements of digital signage, ideas on partnering or working with companies already in the digital signage space, and how they can gain more knowledge through resources such as the Digital Signage Expo and the Digital Signage Experts Group.

“I am thankful for the opportunity the ISA has given to the DSF to help educate the traditional static sign industry about how their members can grow their own businesses by expanding their business models to incorporate digital signage. We believe that digital signage complements the traditional sign industry and offers sign companies an exciting new service opportunity to meet the growing needs of their clients,” said Brawn. “There are plenty of opportunities for traditional sign companies to engage with existing electronic digital signage providers or develop their own services.”

“We hope that interested ISA attendees will not only learn how digital signage can benefit them in their current businesses, but will also recognize and act on the expansive opportunities to educate themselves about digital signage through certification programs like the Digital Signage Experts Group, trade shows like the Digital Signage Expo, and our organization, the DSF,” said Brian Gorg, DSF executive director.

Workplace Safety

Educational sessions about workplace safety issues have also been expanded, making another unique track within ISA"s educational offerings. Edwin Foulke, former head of OSHA, will lead three sessions: Handling an OSHA Inspection; Avoiding the New Enforcement-Driven OSHA; and Moving to Zero Injuries. Joel Oliva from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) will detail the mobile crane operator safety certification program.

Trade Show Floor

Educational sessions, however, aren't the only opportunity for attendees to learn. The ISA Expo trade show floor will be full of opportunities to learn about the newest industry products—and how to best fit them into your business.

Innovation Station

Something new to this year's show is the Innovation Station. According to Anderson, this is one location on the expo floor where attendees can get overviews of the latest products. "Currently we have a dozen sessions scheduled where attendees can learn how to improve on PMS spot color matching, adding garment printing, and many other innovations," said Anderson.

Innovation Station's exhibitor-sponsored education sessions will take place on Thursday and Friday, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., in booth 2992. No registration is required. The schedule included below was current as of Friday, March 16, 2012 and is subject to change. Check on-site signage for any scheduling adjustments.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

  • 10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.: Small Changes, Huge Gains
    Speaker: Danielle Mattiussi, Onyx Graphics
  • 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.: How to Achieve Fast and Accurate PMS Spot Color Matching for Wide Format Digital Inkjet Printing
    Speaker: Mike Ruff, Nazdar Consulting Services
  • 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.: Whippin’ the $#!% Out of Graffiti
    Speaker: Mark Rugen, Neschen Americas
  • 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.: A SaaS Solution Customer Success Story
    Speaker: Roy Cox, KeyedIn Solutions Developers of DataSign
  • 4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.: New Trends in Creative Signage Design
    Speaker: Jessica Heldman-Beck, ClearPath Signage Systems, a Division of Rowmark LLC.

Friday, March 23, 2012

  • 10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.: Small Changes, Huge Gains
    Speaker: Danielle Mattiussi, Onyx Graphics
  • 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.: How to Increase Revenue by Adding Digital Inkjet Direct to Garment Textile Printing to Your Wide Format or Sign Making Business
    Speaker: Glenn Shull, Nazdar SourceOne
  • 1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.: Protect Your Rear with Stone Guard
    Speaker: Joe Altman, Oracal USA
  • 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.: Removable Window Graphics: Stuck on Profit
    Speaker: Mark Rugen, Neschen Americas
  • 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.: What is Induction Lighting and How Can It Be Used in the Signage Industry?
    Speaker: Dennis Wells, N. Glantz & Son, Inc.
  • 4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.: New Trends in Creative Signage Design
    Speaker: Jessica Heldman-Beck, ClearPath Signage Systems, a Division of Rowmark LLC.


New Products

But what about new products? Is there going to be anything new on the show floor? What should I not miss?

According to Tim Greene, director of wide-format, InfoTrends, it's all about the wide-format digital printing hardware. "For me, those announcements and introductions tend to kind of steal the show. I think the buzz on the hardware side will be about three different technologies: Latex from Mimaki and HP; new eco-solvent technology from vendors like Epson, Seiko, Mutoh, and Roland; and new low-end UV-curable printers from multiple vendors," said Greene. "I’m really looking forward to see how attendees react to these technologies and developments once they’ve had a chance to see them for themselves."

Here are some of the highlights—and must see products—at the ISA Expo. (For more detailed information about these and other products on display, please see the ISA Sign Expo Preview Article "The Signs All Point to Orlando" in the March 2012 issue of Wide-Format Imaging.)

Also this year, attendees will be able to choose the best new product and the best green/sustainable product at the show this year. Competing products will be listed in the show program, with more detailed information on voting is available onsite.


Mimaki USA (Booth 1944) will showcase its new Latex ink product, the JV400-130/160LX. The JV400-130/160LX supports six colors plus white. It can be utilized with transparent PET, window decoration, shatterproof window film, and more. The JV400-130/160LX is equipped with Mimaki's MCT (Mimaki Circulation Technology) ink circulation system that prevents pigment sedimentation for stable ink dispersion and a reduced need for manual ink cartridge circulation processes. Mimaki latex inks are fast-drying, and the drying process is additionally supported by three heaters integrated into the printing system (pre, print and post heaters) as well as drying fans that ensure products are ready for processing and finishing as they exit the printer. A low curing temperature of 60 degrees C or below also enables printing on a wide range of heat-sensitive materials.

HP (Booth 420) will debut its newest Latex solutions for the first time in the US. The 104-inch HP Designjet L28500 Printer delivers speeds up to 70 percent faster than its predecessor, while the 61-inch HP Designjet L26500 Printer addresses a variety of applications, including soft-signage. HP will also showcase its newest UV-curable solutions, including the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press with new HP FB225 Scitex Inks offering workflow improvements for increased productivity and versatility.

Epson (Booth 1547) will showcase its new Epson SureColor S30670 64-inch solvent printer. The printer is a four-color solvent printer (CMYK) leveraging Epson’s UltraChrome GS2 solvent-based ink technology. Similar to the UltraChrome GS ink, UltraChrome GS2 was developed exclusively by Epson and delivers virtually odorless printing without the need for external dryers, special ventilation, or air purification systems. In addition, the ink does not contain Nickel (Ni) compounds, minimizing the impact on the environment and employees.

Océ North America (Booth 824) will showcase the new Océ Arizona 318 GL UV flatbed printer. With the Océ Arizona 318 GL printer, print providers can produce sellable output with print speeds of up to 194 square feet per hour in Express Mode. A factory-installed White Ink Option is available, and a Roll Media Option is also available for printing on flexible media.

Mutoh (Booth 1662) will showcase the ValueJet 1638 high speed production printer. With its built in Intelligent Interweave technology, VMS (ValueJet Status Monitor) for remote diagnostics, ColorVerify process control capability, and optional SpectroVue-10 spectrophotometer, Mutoh and the new 1638 printer are the smart choice.

CET Color (Booth 1892) will have its UV flatbed product portfolio at this year’s Sign Expo. They will also team up with Drytac, displaying its VersaCoater XL UV Coater, to show attendees a complete solution—from print to finishing.

KIP America (Booth 2672) will showcase the KIP C7800, a color and black & white high production print system that makes ultra-high-quality wide-format printing more cost effective than ever before.

EFI (Booth 2302) features the new EFI R3225, VUTEk GS3250LX, and Rastek T1000. The R3225 is a 3.2-meter roll-to-roll, UV inkjet printer for premium soft signage applications. Using true eight-level variable drop grayscale technology, the R3225 delivers stunning images, durability prints, and optimized ink usage. The Rastek T1000 offers high definition photographic image quality on a larger flatbed vacuum table. The fully loaded VUTEk GS3250LX is an LED-based printer that produces more jobs, extends application offerings, and lowers operating costs with cool cure technology and high productivity features.

SID Signs (Booth 2626) will feature the new SID Triton S 250 98-inch Eco-Solvent Printer. It features two Epson DX5 print heads, producing print speeds up to 430 sqft/hr. It has a maximum printing width of 98 inches, a cost-saving bulk ink supply system, and a user-friendly display panel. A PhotoPRINT DX 10.5 RIP solution is included with all SID Triton Series printers.

The new ColorPainter W series wide-format printers from Seiko Instuments USA (Booth 1371) offer two high-performance ink sets: GX low solvent ink for maximum outdoor durability, and IX HAPs-FREE low odor inks for better employee health. ColorPainter W series printers deliver rich gloss colors on PVC, banner, backlit films, canvas, fabrics at the fastest speeds in the industry—quality prints at up to 191 sfph. It is available in 64- or 54-inch widths.

PrinterEvolution (Booth 2192) will demonstrate its after market performance upgrades for grand-format printers. These upgrades are designed to take a quality chassis and bring it to specs that outperform the most expensive industrial printers on the market today, for less than $200,000.

Roland (Booth 2072) is featuring VersaUV LED printers with CMYK, white, and clear inks for premium varnishing and embossing effects. Roland’s hybrid flatbed model, the 64-inch VersaUV LEJ-640, prints on substrates up to a half-inch thick for signage, POP, packaging prototypes and more. The 12-inch VersaUV LEF-12 flatbed printer prints directly on three-dimensional objects up to 3.94 inches thick for customized awards, accessories, promotional items, and consumer products.

Ink & Media

MACtac Graphic Products (Booth 1585) is showcasing new products for the interior décor market at ISA. MACmark Glass Décor 600 is a transparent indoor film with decorative patterns, suited for interior glass partition or internal window surface. MACmark Glass Décor 700 is a translucent high-performance indoor and outdoor film which is ideal for the decoration of windows and glass decor for an etched, frosted, or sandblasted effect. Glass Décor 700 is available in frosted and dusted matte finishes, as well as five matte colors.

Also special for ISA is a new bundle for vehicle graphics. For shops doing a low volume of vehicle wraps, MACtac is now offering a short roll of media and laminate bundle (54 inches by 75 feet)—just enough media and laminate for one car wrap.

AGL, Inc. (Booth 710) will showcase a new, low-cost dry erase overlaminate. Cover-Rite PP1G Dry-Erase overlaminate is a pressure-sensitive, non-treated 1 mil polypropylene film, with excellent write-on and write-off characteristics.

conVerd LLC (Booth 2502) will be showcasing two materials at ISA 2012. Blox-Lite Chrome is the metalized variation of conVerd’s Blox-Lite product family. It is available for one or two sided printing, moisture resistant and is suitable for sewing, grommeting, double-face tape, Velcro, and suction cups. It is 100 percent opaque and a green alternative to PVC vinyl. EnviroScape Mural Plus HD-Textured is a heavy duty version of the EnviroScape Mural Plus with an enhanced surface finish designed to provide an easier and more sustainable installation.

Cooley Commercial Graphics (Booth 1844) will introduce EnviroFlex PE, one of the most innovative, sustainable and lightest billboard fabrics offered today. Available in 2.8 to 6.0 ounces and up to five meters in width, EnviroFlex PE is 100 percent recyclable.

PRO-TECK AQ Water-Based Clear Coatings from Bordeaux (Booth 327) are designed to protect sign & banner applications and are now available in matte, semi-gloss, and gloss finishes. The coatings protect graphics from UV and visible light degradation, oxidation, moisture, and temperature extremes as well as resisting abrasion while maintaining the flexibility of the media.

Kapco (Booth 2451) will have six new products at ISA 2012. The PSA 5 mil Indoor/Outdoor Floor Laminate is compatible with Kapco’s new PSA 3 mil Sidewalk Gloss White Vinyl for slightly textured exterior applications. PSA 3 mil Gloss and Matte White Vinyl with Air Release Liner and Gray Removable Adhesive is suitable for medium-term side panel vehicle graphics and smooth surface indoor floor graphics. PSA 5 mil Wall Graphics Gloss White Film with Ultra Removable Adhesive allows easy removability and edge-to-edge printing without a white border. Acquire excellent whiteness and smoothness for photographic resolution on the company's 200 gram Semi-Gloss Photo Paper.

The main feature at the show for HEXIS USA (Booth 1980 and 1984) will be new multi-layered HX30000 cast vinyls with surface finishes such as chrome, carbon, leather, alligator, and super-matt, all available in different colors. The HX20000 Colored Cast Series has new additions with the Metal Night Blue, Coffee Brown, Marrakech Brown, Raspberry Pink, and Pink Candy.

Fisher Textiles (Booth 214) will have its newest fabrics for digital printing on hand. GF 6640 Poly Canvas, 8.4 oz/sqyd, 121 inches, is the improved version of GF 6640 Poly Linen for Dye Sub and UV printing. The new version is whiter than the original and passes NFPA 701. 1010 Element, 8.5 oz/sqyd, 60 inches, is Fisher’s newest awning fabric for Dye Sublimation and UV printing. GF 7110 X-Out, 6.7 oz/sqyd, 110 inches, is comparable to GF 4100 Sheeting. The base fabric is polyester with viscose/rayon flocking and compatible with UV printing. It can be sublimated, passes NFPA 701 and is formaldehyde free.

E. L. Hatton Sales Co. (Booth 2675) will showcase the Banner Ups MegaTape, a double-sided version of PowerTape products. Available in 1.5-inch widths, MegaTape is applied just like ordinary double-sided banner hem tape, but has more than triple the strength, plus it adds firmness to the banner edge for a much cleaner appearance.

Value Vinyls (Booth 236) will showcase a new line of PET scrimless products. Rio PET Sign Media has a smooth matte finish that is compatible with screen printing, digital printing, and pressure sensitive lettering. Rio PET 16 oz Opaque Ultra Smooth can be printed on one or two sides and is the only Latex Ink Compatible PET material available that is high heat tolerant. Rio PET 13 oz Backlit can be printed on one side and is engineered to provide a high quality and vibrant print when back lit. Rio PET 13 oz Grey Back can be printed on one side and features a grey back to minimize image show through.

Visual Magnetics’ (Booth 2846) Graphic System will be displaying its new MagnaMedia Digital Fabrics Collection, which includes VM-Canvas 22 and VM-Bamboo17.

Ultraflex (Booth 2314) will introduce several new products at ISA 2012 in their golf-themed booth. Pole Banner Pro 18 oz. is a fire-rated, heavy-duty blockout banner material for indoor and outdoor two-sided applications such as pole banners and event signage. MultiTex C220 is a 6.5 oz multi-purpose canvas made from 100 percent polyester spun yarn. Billboard 520' Eclipse is a 7 oz. black-backed substrate for billboard applications. FloorFlex is a printable floor vinyl that is suitable for Latex and UV printers.

Top Value Fabrics (Booth 1263) will showcase its new PET BLOCKOUT, available in 13 oz. and 15 oz. weights. We are also presenting our new line of specialty Premium Textiles, which includes our 9 oz. Blockout With Silver Back, 4 oz. PVC-Free Fabric, and our 4 oz. PVC-Free Repositionable Self-Adhesive Wall Covering.

For your automotive application needs, visitors to Oracal USA (Booth 1672) can watch ORAGUARD Series 270 and 280 Stone Guard paint protection films and ORAJET Series 3751RA Wrapping Cast Film with RapidAir Technology handle the sleek contours of a Mercedes Benz. And check out the leader in paint alternative film, ORACAL Series 970RA Wrapping Cast Film with RapidAir Technology that offers 38 vibrant colors to choose from.

Finishing & Installation

Zünd America, Inc. (Booth 2358) will showcase the new S3, a super-fast, lower-cost version of Zünd’s G3 line of multifunctional flatbed cutting systems. The S3 line features smaller, space-saving footprints and ultra-fast Z- and T-axis control for kiss-cutting, through-cutting, oscillating and rotary cutting, creasing/scoring, and even a 300W router insert.

Wilkie Mfg. LLC (Booth 1902) will display the recently introduced Wilkie model 52XLR remote service crane with a standard power level, power rotate two man basket with a jib winch in the basket and a main line winch that is capable of lifting 1000 to 45 feet and has a working height of 52 feet from the basket. The Wilkie model 52XLR can be mounted on a 19,500 GVW truck with a 120-inch CA with a wide range of body configurations to custom fit your application.


ONYX Graphics (Booth 2262) will showcase its new ONYX Thrive workflow software, an end-to-end PDF workflow product for large-format digital printers, based on Adobe PDF Print Engine technologies. The new SmartApps VehicleWraps plug-in for Adobe Illustrator software is for designing print-ready vehicle wraps. The SmartApps PitStop Pro plug-in easily preflights PDF files and delivers print-ready digital master PDFs to your workflow from within Adobe Acrobat software.

CADlink Technology (Booth 2184) will feature two new software releases and custom software solutions at ISA. SignLab Version 9.1 introduces a brand new color management engine licensed from ColorLogic and a RIP back-end that provides unmatched color accuracy and vibrancy for print and print/cut solutions. EngraveLab V9 provides engravers with a software solution that features design and production tools for both laser and rotary engraving.

PixelBlaster is the latest offering from SAi’s (Booth 1936) growing line of software solutions. PixelBlaster ensures each printer automatically generates exactly the same predictable and reproducible output quality and color—regardless of the brand of hardware, inks, or substrates used. PixelBlaster is also designed to reduce bottlenecks, streamline your workflow, and increase profitability.

Mix and Mingle

A trade show isn't complete, though, unless you get the chance to network and visit with friends. For ISA's Anderson, the networking events are probably her favorite part of a show.

"Personally, I enjoy the networking events, especially when I can stand back and watch others network," said Anderson. "It’s almost as if you can see relationships being formed and nothing excites me more than to hear about an important business deal that was initiated or completed during Expo. With the top leaders in every facet of the sign industry gathered in one place, ideas and alliances just seem to happen."

This year, ISA has added two new networking opportunities. First, is the Happy Hour on the expo floor Thursday and Friday afternoons. This will be a prime opportunity to take a breather, connect, and build relationships. From 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, free beer and wine bars will be located throughout the exhibit hall. Have a drink on ISA as you mingle with fellow attendees at the business day's close.

And because the Expo is happening during men’s college basketball tournament, ISA has opened up a basketball lounge where people can stop by, check scores, and see how their brackets are doing. And for a little added fun, there also will be a couple hoops for folks to shoot some baskets. The ISA Basketball & Social Media Lounge (sponsored by 3M Commercial Graphics) will be open the same hours the show floor is open.

  • Thursday, March 22: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday, March 23: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 
  • Saturday, March 24: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Universal CityWalk

Attendees of ISA can enjoy complimentary access from 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 midnight on Thursday, March 22 to all venues open to the public at Universal CityWalk by showing your ISA 2012 Sign Expo Badge. Only at Universal CityWalk can you walk from some of Orlando’s most popular restaurants into some of its hottest clubs and trendiest shops. It’s anything and everything you want to make your night come alive – Universal CityWalk, the Entertainment Capital of Orlando. Shuttles will run from the Orange County Convention Center from 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM and then from the hotels in the official ISA housing block from 6:00 PM to 12:00 Midnight.