2013 Readers' Choice Top Product Award Winners

The 2013 Wide-Format Imaging Top Products Award winners include products that have caused the most excitement in the industry and have been a valuable asset to sign and graphic businesses over the last year.

In order to be considered for these awards, a product had to be released, commercially available, and shipping between September 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012. Voting was open to all PSPs shops worldwide from December 20, 2012 through February 15, 2013.

Prepress & Premedia

i1Publish Pro 2 from X-rite/Pantone, Inc.

Category: Color Management Hardware & Software

X-Rite's i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer introduces a new level of color accuracy, delivering increased ease of use and an expanded professional level feature set, including supporting the latest developments in industry measurement standards. i1Pro 2 solutions are sure to maximize profitability and minimize wasted time, ink and paper, while delivering the confidence that the user’s digital workflow is perfectly and professionally calibrated and profiled.

Caldera version 9.10 from Caldera Graphics

Category: RIP Software

Caldera's version 9.10 includes integration of the Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE) 2.6, Raster2PDF, multi-page collation and Japanese language support, along with new options and extensions such as Textile Step & Repeat and enhancements to the VisualCUT+ and EasyMedia modules. In addition, monitoring production at a glance from the print shop floor is made possible with the new Print Board plug-in for Caldera's digital signage solution Variable Display.

An important development for standards-driven print businesses is the new Process Standard Verifier feature for FOGRA Process Standard Digital (PSD) and Process Standard Offset (PSO). The Process Control option allows the printing and measuring of standardized color reproduction charts from within the Print or EasyMedia interfaces. The module also delivers compliancy reports for ISO 12647-2, ISO 12647-7, ISO 12647-8, PSD Absolute and PSD Relative to ensure conformity to FOGRA standards in their printing processes.

HD Ultra Wide-Format Scanner from Contex Americas

Category: Wide-Format Scanner (24 inches+)

Contex's HD Ultra wide-format scanner delivers 6-inch per second scanning speeds and 901 monochrome and 597 color scans per hour. Energy-Star compliant, the HD Ultra is available in 36- and 42-inches. The HD Ultra comes with new features that make operation quick and easy, including one-touch control, fail-safe paper loading, and automatic size detection. The HD Ultra comes in two versions: Professional, for high-volume applications, and Office, for occasional use or walk-up scanning.

Flow+ 1.6 from Caldera Graphics

Category: Workflow Software

Caldera's Flow+ 1.6 software 6 boasts enhancements to the quoting system, customer relationship management and user interface, as well as a number of new tools and a faster processing engine. Improvements in the quoting system include a more flexible quotation builder, designed to assist companies implementing an MIS for the first time by allowing the creation of quotes with a free text field. The CRM module has also benefited from a number of improvements, including better filtering of customer information to help the sales team identify existing clients and leads to be followed up.

Output Devices

Designjet L26500 from Hewlett-Packard Co.

Category: Aqueous Printer (24 inches plus)

The Designjet L26500 Printer from Hewlett-Packard is a large-format solution using water-based HP Latex Inks and HP Thermal Inkjet printing technologies. The 61-inch device prints with speeds up to 246 square feet per hour and a maximum resolution of 1200 dpi. The HP Designjet L26500 Printer is compatible with more than 500 media choices and offers double-sided printing, helping print service providers increase application versatility. The Energy Star-certified printer cures the inks inside the printer, resulting in dry prints that are ready to be finished or used immediately without special ventilation or an external heater.

Designjet T520 ePrinter from Hewlett-Packard Co.

Category: Engineering Printer (24-95 inches)

Available in 24- or 36-inch models, the HP Designjet T520 ePrinter offers improved processing power and operates at twice the speed and resolution of its predecessor. With 1 GB RAM and HP-GL/2 technology, the HP Designjet T520 ePrinter operates at up to 35 seconds per D/A1 print. The HP Designjet T520 ePrinter series is ideal for small architecture, engineering and construction teams in need of fast, large-format printing, and is compatible with the cloud-based HP Designjet ePrint & Share service.

Original HP inks and long-life printheads achieve accurate lines reaching 0.0008 inch (0.02 mm) minimum line width and sharp details. With up to 2,400 dpi resolution, the HP Designjet T520 ePrinter is ideal for producing architectural designs, maps and photos with consistent, high-quality results.

Scitex FB7600 from Hewlett-Packard Co.

Categories: Flatbed Printer and UV Printer (24 inches +)

Delivering high productivity on a range of flexible and rigid media, the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press offers productivity enhancements such as in-line saturation control for backlit applications, hot folders and job queue. The device can print up to 95 full boards an hour and has a new POP print mode that produces 55 full boards an hour with indoor quality, making it ideal for a wide range of applications including 3D and POP displays, event graphics, interior décor and short-run packaging.

Designjet L28500 Printer from Hewlett-Packard Co.

Category: Grand-Format Printer (96 inches+)

The 104-inch HP Designjet L28500 Printer can print on a broad range of materials, including eco-solvent compatible media and low-cost uncoated options. Featuring a double-sided printing capability, the printer can produce blockout banners with minimal operator intervention and more accurate, automated registration. The HP Designjet L28500 Printer increases productivity with speeds up to 70 percent faster than its predecessor, the HP Designjet L25500 Printer, output also dries inside the printer for immediate finishing or use. The printer produces 1,200-dpi output with outdoor display permanence of up to three years unlaminated or five years laminated for high-quality, long-lasting prints.

imagePROGRAF iPF765 MFP from Canon USA

Category: MFP (24-95 inches)

With true 600dpi optical resolution, CIS scanning technology for incredible line definition and accuracy, and room for documents up to 41 inches wide (40-inch image width) by any length, the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF765 MFP 36-inch large-format imaging system is a versatile imaging solution. An environmentally-conscious design with fully front-accessible operations allows for outstanding ease-of-use and flush wall installation in any environment. From loading paper to navigating through an intuitive control panel, the iPF765 MFP simplifies your workflow. An increased hard drive capacity on the iPF765 MFP streamlines the printing workflow by bearing the processing workload on the printer to increase overall print processing times. And with a sub-ink tank system and Gigabit Ethernet support, the iPF765 MFP provides the versatility and flexibility needed to be used in a wide variety of industries and applications, all in one captivating package.

SureColor S70670 from Epson America

Category: Solvent Printer (24 inches +)

The 64-inch Epson SureColor S70670 utilizes Epson’s dual array Epson MicroPiezo TFP print head to deliver extremely small droplet sizes and four times the nozzles of Epson’s previous solvent printer for fast print speeds. To maximize the capabilities of this new print head, the S70670 uses Epson UltraChrome GSX ink to enable a level of image quality and color capability previously unseen. Delivering up to 10 colors, the UltraChrome GSX ink includes an optional White and Silver Metallic and a first ever standard Light Black for improved grayscale and reduced metamerism to deliver a level of image quality and color gamut previously unattainable in a solvent printer.

Mimaki TS34-1800A from Mimaki USA

Category: Textile Printer (24 inches +)

Mimaki USA's TS34-1800A inkjet dye sublimation printer was designed specifically for the sublimation transfer market with high speed and quality in mind. With a staggered array of two newly developed print heads, the new TS34-1800A is capable of printing up to 32.0 sqm/hr at 540x720dpi. Furthermore, the machine can achieve a printing speed of 17.7 sqm/hr in six-color mode at the same resolution, responding to the needs for superior quality prints, with minimal amount of grainy appearance and smooth gradations. These features make the TS34-1800A suitable for both large-sized soft signs and apparel applications, which require quick response and fine image quality respectively.


SIIT GX 3M Ink Series from 3M Commercial Graphics

Category: Solvent Ink (Eco, Mild, & Hard)

SIIT GX 3M inks from 3M Commercial Graphics and Seiko I Infotech Inc. are made for use in the Seiko I Infotech ColorPainter H Series Printers. Designed for printing on many 3M brand opaque, translucent and reflective graphic films, GX 3M inks can be applied on or to fleet and vehicle graphics, indoor and outdoor signs, and promotional graphics. The solvent inks have excellent conformability, and are available in eight rich colors, which include cyan, magenta, yellow, black, light cyan, light magenta and two shades of white. GX 3M inks are suitable for graphic films applied on compound curves, corrugations, and riveted and flat surfaces, offering outstanding versatility to users. When protected with the proper 3M overlaminate, the inks are also durable and weather resistant.

EFI VUTEk GS 3M Premium UV Ink from 3M Commercial Graphics

Category: UV Ink (Tie)

3M and EFI's co-branded UV ink set covered by the 3M MCS Warranty are for use in the two-meter EFI VUTEk GS2000 and three-meter VUTEk GS3200 and GS3250 rigid and roll-to-roll printers. These low odor, flexible, eight-color inks (CMYK, lc, lm, ly, lk) are designed for use with opaque, translucent and reflective 3M media to meet a wide range of large-format printing needs including fleet and vehicle graphics, indoor and outdoor signs, and promotional graphics on rigid or flexible substrates. These inks also come with an extended shelf life of 15 months.

HP FB225 White Ink from Hewlett-Packard Co.

Category: UV Ink (Tie)

The HP FB225 White Scitex Ink integrates seamlessly with the full set of process colors to produce durable, rich, saturated color on clear or colored materials. The inks also help customers reduce labor and prepress costs compared to analogue solutions, and improve efficiency with precise white-to-CMYK registration.


Magic GBL-9 Satin Backlit Film from InteliCoat Technologies

Category: Backlit

InteliCoat Technologies' Magic GBL-9 satin backlit film is the latest addition to InteliCoat's specialty line of products specifically designed for solvent and latex printers. The satin print surface of this 7 mil. backlit film allows for maximum ink density, vivid color and the highest image resolution. The satin finish of GBL-9 also produces high-density backlits, even when displayed in areas with bright ambient light like airports or shopping malls.

Fresco AdTex from Neschen Americas

Category: Fabric & Textile

Nesche's Fresco AdTex is a lightweight 5 oz/yd2 polyester textile with a removable and repositionable adhesive. It features a special inkjet coating that provides excellent imaging with solvent, eco-solvent, latex, and UV-curable inks. Its opaque, matte surface allows placement of graphics while reducing glare and limiting bleed through. A variety of sizes are available including: 24" x 100', 36" x 100', 54" x 100' and 60" x 100'.

Exhibition Canvas Natural from Epson America

Category: Fine Art

Epson’s Exhibition Canvas Natural delivers gallery-quality prints with industry-leading Dmax and color gamut without employing optical brightening agents (OBAs). Exhibition Canvas Natural is available in a Gloss, Satin and Matte finish and features a new OBA-free coating that maintains a bright white point for saturated colors, rich blacks and excellent shadow detail.

Constructed on a flexible base of blended cotton and polyester, the 19 mil thick Exhibition Canvas Natural media are both durable and offer improved flexibility, allowing them to be coated and stretched for easy finishing and framing.

HDPE Double-sided Reinforced Banner from Hewlett-Packard Co.

Category: Grand-Format Media

The HP HDPE Double-sided Reinforced Banner is a lightweight, water-resistant material with a tear strength of 440 g/m2 (13-ounce) PVC scrim, durable for outdoor signage. A recyclable alternative to PVC scrim banner options, the HP HDPE Double-sided Reinforced Banner is optimized with HP Latex Inks. The material reduces the carbon footprint of banner material by over 80 percent and can be recycled through the HP Eco-Solutions Large-format Media take-back program.

3M Envision Print Wrap Film 480Cv3 and Gloss Wrap Overlaminate 8548G from 3M Commercial Graphics

Categories: Media for Walls & Rough Surfaces, Vehicle Wrap Media, Finishing: Laminates (overlaminate only)

As the world’s first high-performance, non-polyvinyl chloride (non-PVC) graphic films, 3M Envision Print Wrap Film 480Cv3 and 3M Envision Gloss Wrap Overlaminate 8548G can be used to wrap vehicles, trailers, box trucks, boats, buses, motorcycles, textured walls, and more. The films stretch up to 150 percent and will not lift. The films also offers the same gloss and clarity as 3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate 8518 and it's less prone to scratching than gloss cast vinyl.

Gatorfoam Exterior from 3A Composites USA Inc.

Category: Rigid

3A Composites USA's Gatorfoam Exterior is designed to stand up to the elements in exterior graphic displays and signage. It is available in the Bright White color in 48-inch by 96-in sheets in the 1-inch, 1.5-inch, and 2-inch thicknesses. Gatorfoam Exterior has been tested according to ASTM D1183 C in temperatures ranging from minus 70 degrees to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and in the combination of high heat and humidity (100 F with 95 percent relative humidity).

Clear View Graphic Film IJ8150 from 3M Commercial Graphics

Category: Window Graphic Media

3M Commercial Graphics' Scotchcal brand Clear View Graphic Film IJ8150 is made of a durable cast vinyl material that features optical clarity so unprinted areas allow for a completely transparent view. This opens up many possibilities, including the creation of perforated window film effects without the limitations of perforated holes in the film.

In architectural applications the film can be used for privacy solutions, and white ink can be used to produce sandblasted or etched glass effects. It is compatible with digital and screen printing systems, features a PET liner to prevent static charge or discharge during processing, and is optimized for wet applications.


ISOframe Wave from Mark Bric Display Corp

Category: Banner Stands / Portable Displays

ISOframe Wave is the world's first fully flexible portable display. ISOframe Wave can be flexed 180 degrees at each and every point along the full display length, thanks to the patented Flexi-wave link. The Wave breaks down into small, easily transported components, yet sets up quickly, easily, and tool-free in just minutes. The same display, with the same graphics, can be set up in virtually any shape—concave, convex, serpentine, or even circular. All graphic panels are a standard 800 mm (31.4 inches) wide by approximately 90 inches high—regardless of the manner in which they will be used. Graphics are attached to the hardware though a creative new type of magnetic hanging system, allowing a degree of flexibility in panel positioning to accommodate for uneven flooring.

S3 Line of Cutters from Zund America, Inc.

Category: Cutters & Routers

With a direct-drive system, the S3 is built for speed. The cutter is capable of processing a wide range of materials, including textiles, vinyls, films, thinner plastics, and cardboard, with the modularity and quality typical of Zünd. The S3 features smaller, space-saving footprints and ultra-fast Z- and T-axis control. Altogether, the characteristics of the S3 make it the perfect all-round cutting system whose capabilities can be extended even further with creasing tools and a 300W router insert.

SEAL 65 Pro MD from Neschen Americas

Category: Laminating Equipment

Neschen Americas' SEAL 65 Pro MD high-production laminator incorporates the newest technology available on the market with the best features currently used in the SEAL family of roller laminators, to create the ultimate laminating machine. Measuring 65 inches wide, this multi-functional laminator delivers SEAL quality and performance at a competitive price. The 65 Pro MD is ideal for finishing professionals in a high production shop running both hot and cold applications. It can run thermal films at twice the speed of other laminators on the market.