2014 Readers' Choice Top Product Award Winners

The 2014 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, 2012 through December 31, 2013. Voting was open to all PSPs shops worldwide from January 1, 2014 through March 3, 2014.

Finishing

Hopup from Orbus Exhibit & Display Group

Category: Banner Stands / Displays

Hopup, a dynamic and popular large format tension fabric display, features a lighter-weight anodized silver frame with a smaller footprint. It includes gray in-molded end-caps for simple graphic end-cap attachment and stabilizer feet on all straight frames over seven feet tall. Graphic sizes have changed slightly due to the new frame sizes yet old graphics are compatible with the Hopup unit.

ValueCut Cutting Plotters from Mutoh America Inc

Category: Cutters & Routers

The ValueCut plotters are available in three different models/sizes at new lower costs:

  • ValueCut 600 - $2,495 MSRP
  • ValueCut 1300 - $4,995 MSRP
  • ValueCut 1800 - $5,995 MSRP

All models come standard with a roll support system for easy handling and perfect tracking, multi-segment registration for long run cut job accuracy, two year limited warranty, spare blade, oil ball point pen and SAi Flexi starter software. The ValueCut 1300 and 1800 models include floor stand with media catch basket; both are options for the VC 600 model.

3M Envision Gloss Wrap Overlaminate 8548G from 3M Commercial Graphics

Category: Laminates

As the world’s first high-performance, non-polyvinyl chloride (non-PVC) graphic films, 3M Envision Gloss Wrap Overlaminate 8548G outperform not just non-PVC wrap films, but all wrap films. 3M Envision Gloss Wrap Overlaminate 8548G offers the same beautiful gloss and clarity as 3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate 8518. What’s more, it is less prone to scratching than gloss cast vinyl. It looks great from the get-go and doesn’t need to sit in the sun for days to diminish the scratches.

SEAL 65 Pro MD from SEAL

Category: Laminating Equipment

The 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.

Inks

SX Ink from Seiko Instruments USA, Inc.

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

The newly developed eco solvent SX inks are low odor and offer a wide color gamut, high vividness, high density, excellent outdoor durability and low running costs for increased productivity and a better workplace environment. In addition to the standard 6-colors, gray ink is also offered to help smooth gradients and provide monochrome images without color shifts.

VUTEk GS-TF thermoforming ink from EFI

Category: UV Ink

EFI has extended its range of versatile options for the wide-format market with the introduction of its thermoforming digital UV-curable ink, enabling signmakers to print direct onto thermoplastic sheet materials, which can then be formed into deep draw, high elongation parts with excellent retention of hue and opacity. EFI’s VUTEk GS-TF thermoforming ink’s elongation capabilities are enhanced by its high opacity on a broad selection of materials, including PETG, acrylics, polycarbonates, polystyrenes and PVC, plus derivatives and mixes. The extended color gamut is complemented by its ability to withstand heat forming, cutting and routing without cracking, chipping or losing adhesion, with moisture resistance and a durable life resulting in long-lasting graphics.

Latex 881 inks (including optimizer) from Hewlett-Packard Co.

Category: Water-based & Dye-Sub Inks

Creating a competitive advantage for high-volume PSPs, the HP Latex 3000 Printer offers broader media versatility, including heat-sensitive substrates, with the HP Latex Optimizer. This new ink solution ensures consistent image quality at high speeds as well as efficient curing at lower temperatures and with less energy than previous HP Latex solutions. Third-generation HP 881 Latex Inks also provide a scratch resistance comparable to hard-solvent inks on certain substrates, making them ideal for applications including retail displays, outdoor advertising, vehicle graphics and interior décor.

Media

VM-Harvest 32, VM-Luna 14, and VM-Monarch 22 from Visual Magnetics

Category: Fabric & Textile

VM-Monarch22 and VM-Luna14 are made from 22 and 14 mil thick 100% post-consumer polyester, magnetic-receptive fabrics. VM-Monarch22 features a smooth, plain weave print surface intended for producing medium-resolution graphics. Alternatively, VM-Luna14 has an ultra-smooth, poplin weave print surface, making it a more delicate option perfect for producing high-resolution graphics. VM-Harvest is a 32 mil 100% natural jute and natural rubber-based, magnetic-receptive, burlap fabric with a coarse-textured print surface for producing heavily textured graphics.

TrueCanvas Giclée 65/35 from Ultraflex Systems Inc.

Category: Fine Art & Photography

Ultraflex’s True Canvas Giclée 65/35 is an 11 oz. canvas composed of a 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton blend with an acrylic-gesso top coat. This gesso coated canvas can be folded and stretched on industrial canvas stretchers without cracking. Free of heavy metals, PH Neutral (Acid Free) and archival, it has a consistent coating gloss level and defined L.A.B. values.  It is available in matte and gloss finishes and is compatible with solvent, eco-solvent, Latex, and UV inks in sizes ranging from 54 to 80 inches.

Outdoor Blockout LTX from Ultraflex Systems Inc.

Category: Grand-Format Media

Outdoor Blockout LTX is an 18 ounce, heavy duty, consistent blockout banner material for both indoor and outdoor applications. Its unique construction provides strength and stability under harsh weather conditions. Both sides of the material have a matte finish and are compatible with eco-solvent, solvent, Latex, and UV inks. Outdoor Blockout LTX is available in widths ranging from 38 to 196 inches.

wallCHALKER CB1088R from MACtac Distributor Products

Category: Media for Walls, Floors, and Rough Surfaces

wallCHALKER CB1088R chalkboard vinyl can transform any wall or table surface into a chalkboard. As part of the specialty removable vinyl series, wallCHALKER replicates the look and functionality of a chalkboard with a deep black matte surface that can be written on with everyday chalk and chalk ink markers. Featuring a moderately aggressive removable acrylic pressure-sensitive adhesive, wallCHALKER offers quick and easy installation with no dry time required and easy removability from most surfaces for up to two years.

Fome-Cor Bright White from 3A Composites USA Inc.

Category: Rigid

Fome-Cor Bright White is ideal for direct printing point-of-purchase displays, interior signage, and exhibits and kiosks as well as for mounting printed graphics. Fome-Cor board is manufactured by 3A Composites USA in a wide range of standard sizes ranging from 20-by-30 inch sheets up to 60-by-120 inch sheets in the Bright White and Black colors and in the 1/8-inch, 3/16-inch and 3/8-inch thicknesses.

3M Envision Print Wrap Film 480Cv3 from 3M Commercial Graphics

Category: Vehicle Wrap Media

As the world’s first high-performance, non-polyvinyl chloride (non-PVC) graphic films, 3M Envision Print Wrap Film 480Cv3 films can be used to wrap vehicles, trailers, box trucks, boats, buses, motorcycles, textured walls and more. The films go down, around and into flat or complex shapes and stay down. The Wrap Films stretch up to 150 percent when you want them to and will not lift. The films also offer protection against UV rays, high temperatures and even acid dew. They even come with a horizontal warranty. Envision wrap films are compatible with latex, UV and some solvent inkjet inks. They are also compatible with UV and solvent screen printing inks.

ViziPrint from Drytac Corp.

Category: Window Graphic Media

Viziprint is a clear, UV printable, self-adhesive polyester window film. Similar to Drytac’s WindowTac adhesive, ViziPrint utilizes a specially designed, embossed release liner that imparts micro grooves in the adhesive allowing for air evacuation using just a felt burnishing pad. The proprietary adhesive is removable and repositionable, making installation simple and eliminating professional installation costs.

Output Devices

ValueJet 1638W from Mutoh America Inc.

Category: Aqueous / Durable Aqueous / Latex Printer (24 inches plus)

The ValueJet 1638W 64-inch, four-color dye-sublimation printer is the perfect printer for soft signage, custom sports apparel, and other textile applications. Print a wide variety of applications, such as POP signage, trade show graphics, museum fine art prints, banners, flags, custom fabrics prints and more.

SureColor T7000 from Epson Americas

Category: Engineering Printer (24 inches plus)

Inspired by engineers, The SureColor T-Series printers have been designed from the ground up to be the most precise high performance engineering scientific printers in their class.

  • Fastest Print Speeds in its class at only 25 seconds for a D-sized plot, and up to 110 plots per hour1
  • Extreme Precision Output with resolution up to 2880 x 1440 dpi
  • New brilliant long-lasting 4-color pigment-based ink system
  • Revolutionary EPSON MicroPiezo® TFP® print Head
  • Professional media handling for plain paper up to 1.5 mm thick posterboard
  • High-Capacity ink system for low printing costs

Scitex FB10000 Industrial Press from Hewlett-Packard Co.

Category: Flatbed Printer

HP has introduced the HP Scitex FB10000 Industrial Presspowered by HP Scitex High Dynamic Range (HDR) Printing Technology to help high-volume print service providers (PSPs) increase profitability by shifting their retail graphics and corrugated display applications from analog to digital. The six-color HP Scitex HDR printing system delivers high quality and industrial productivity along with dynamic dot-size control. Using HP Scitex HDR printing technology, the HP Scitex FB10000 Industrial Press combines 16-gray-level printing with the ability to produce 1,000 B1 sheets in less than two hours. These features help PSPs achieve the quality and speed required by traditional offset applications while addressing growing demand for short runs, quick turnarounds and variable content.

Latex 3000 Printer from Hewlett-Packard Co.

Category: Grand-Format Printer (96 inches+)

The HP Latex 3000 Printer offers broader media versatility, including heat-sensitive substrates, with the HP Latex Optimizer. This new ink solution ensures consistent image quality at high speeds as well as efficient curing at lower temperatures and with less energy than previous HP Latex solutions. The printer’s increased production capacity lets high-volume customers meet tight deadlines, producing 830 sqft/hr (77 m2/hr) of indoor applications and 1,290 sqft/hr (120 sqm/hr) of outdoor applications. Standard carbon-fiber, dual-roll spindles also help reduce media loading times and the need for operator intervention.

ValueJet 1617H from Mutoh America Inc.

Category: Hybrid Printer (24 inches+)

The ValueJet 1617H features half inch print height and white ink printing capability. The ValueJet 1617H uses MP Ink, a UV alternative bio-based ink to create high quality prints on both rigid and roll substrates. With multiple substrate printing capabilities, the 1617H is the ideal choice for print shops. Create trade show graphics, POP displays, vehicle wraps, packaging prototypes, promotional products and indoor and outdoor signage.

Designjet T2500 eMultifunction Printer (eMFP) from Hewlett-Packard Co.

Category: MFP (24-95 inches)

The HP Designjet T2500 eMultifunction Printer (eMFP) brings new customer-driven design features to a single, compact device that scans, prints and copies to help highly mobile teams work together better and faster. The HP Designjet T2500 eMultifunction Printer features an integrated scanner, which makes it easy to scan and send sketches to team members, as well as incorporate hand-annotated changes. Additionally, the printer’s ergonomic design relieves traditional pain points with features like an integrated output stacking tray, two-roll front media loading with smart switching and an intuitive touch screen that allows monitoring media rolls and viewing status of the printing jobs

ValueJet 1324 - 54" Eco-solvent Printer from Mutoh America Inc.

Category: Solvent Printer (24 inches +)

Mutoh's ValueJet 1324 - 54" Eco-solvent printer will be showcasing printing demos on 3M's IJ180 adhesive vinyl material in Booth 4250. Printing up to a 565 sqf/hr, the VJ1324 comes with Smart Printing features including Intelligent Interweave print technique, ValueJet Status Monitor App for remote printer monitoring, ColorVerify process control system and is compatible with Mutoh's SpectroVue VM-10 spectrophotometer for on-printer custom profile making. Mutoh will be cutting the VJ1324 prints on the new ValueCut Cutting Plotters. Known for precision accuracy during long-run cut jobs, the ValueCuts are available in three different sizes, fitting perfectly into any print shop.

Rhotex 322 from Durst Image Technology US, LLC

Category: Textile Printer (24 inches +)

When it comes to the digital printing of soft signage media, the Rhotex is out in front. It is capable of printing up to 140 sqm/hr in high quality. This is due to the latest three level greyscale printhead technology with a drop size of only 7 to 21 picolitres. This provides maximum productivity without compromising the exceptional quality with a resolution of up to 1200 dpi.

  • Productivity of up to 140 sqm/hr in high quality
  • Unrivaled reliability provides 24/7 productivity
  • Capable of unattended printing
  • Advanced software maximizes workflow
  • New automatic textile loading system. Textiles can now be loaded in less than 2 minutes
  • Automatic printhead cleaning system provides no interruption of printing for manual cleaning, less purging cycles needed and no media waste

Scitex FB10000 Industrial Press from Hewlett-Packard Co.

Category: UV Printer (24 inches +)

Prepress and Premedia

Print Standard Verifier from Caldera

Category: Color Management Hardware & Software

Caldera’s Print Standard Verifier is a new tool to check the conformity of printing processes with industry standards. It provides a solution to the ever-increasing requests for standards compliance in the digital printing market.

While certifications linked to universally recognized standards have existed for years in offset print, digital print has many variables that make it difficult to establish a global standard. However, standards research and definition is now supported by organizations like Fogra, ISO or G7 to aid digital PSPs in achieving a certified process standard. To bring customers more accuracy and quality, Caldera has decided to subscribe to the FOGRA organization. This support allows Caldera to add some printing process checking tools to its RIP solutions.  As Caldera’s full project will be released step by step, the 9.10 Version is the first to contain a new tool to check the conformity to FOGRA’s PSD and PSO certifications, G7 certifications and to the ISO Standards: ISO 12647-2, ISO 12647-7 and ISO 12647-8.

Caldera Version 9.20 from Caldera

Category: RIP Software

Caldera Version 9.20 for VisualRIP+ and GrandRIP+ is a comprehensive workflow solution for large-format print and print-to-cut production for use with multiple devices. Integrated features including Tiling+ and Nest-O-Matik help you to make the best use of your media, and sophisticated Step & Repeat allows you to RIP an image once for multiple print jobs. Hotfolders and drag-and-drop functionality simplify your workflow while SuperSpooler effortlessly manages multiple printers simultaneously, allowing you to switch jobs between queues with ease.

HDUltra Scanstation from Contex Americas

Category: Wide-Format Scanner (24 inches+)

Built to address the demands of productivity scanning, the HDUltra Scanstation packages Contex technology into an all-in-one solution that maximizes efficiency and delivers accurate, high-quality captures upon first scan. The HDUltra Scanstation combines the HD Ultra scanner with an adjustable stand and built-in computer tray, a 17-inch touchscreen, and Nextimage Repro software.

Flow+ 2.0 from Caldera

Category: Workflow Software

Flow+ is a vital tool for managing all aspects of your wide-format business from quote to delivery. Caldera developed Flow+ to help its users to automate sales management, optimize day-to-day processes and make strategic decisions based on totally accurate production data. Incorporating a management information system (MIS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and a document management system (DMS), Flow+ presents all your data in an intuitive user interface to monitor productivity and profitability simultaneously.  Whether you need to see a quick overview of your inventory, analyze your financial data or create a sales report, Flow+ is an essential tool for the most efficient and productive wide-format print businesses.

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