Enter Second Annual HP Inkspiration Awards

HP Inc. and Dscoop are partnering for the second annual HP Inkspiration Awards North America. This premier contest celebrates best-in-class print projects created with HP Indigo, PageWide Web Press, Scitex or Latex technology.


Print service providers (PSPs) are invited to submit their most innovative and creative work in the following categories:

HP Indigo: General Commercial Printing

  • Direct mail
  • Collateral
  • Publishing
  • Calendars
  • Photography

HP Indigo: Labels and Packaging

  • Flexible packaging
  • Folding cartons
  • Alcoholic beveraqes
  • Health and beauty
  • Food and beverage
  • Household

HP Latex and Scitex

  • Backlit
  • Textile
  • POP/POS signage and displays
  • Banner
  • Decor-canvas
  • Wallpaper
  • Corrugated boxes and displays

HP Indigo and PageWide Printing

  • Collateral
  • Corrugated boxes
  • Books
  • Publications
  • Transaction/trans-promotional
  • Custom products

Entries will be reviewed by a judging panel of industry experts.

As part of the HP Inkspiration Awards North America, HP and Dscoop will also honor the best in self-promotion with the Rod Key Marketing Excellence Award. Named in memory of industry leader Rod Key, this award is given to the company with the most creative marketing campaign that promotes their business. Awards will be presented for campaigns created on HP Indigo, PageWide Web Press, Latex or Scitex equipment.

“We’re continually inspired by our customers who create beautiful, impactful work with HP digital printing technology,” said Avi Basu, director, marketing and business development, Graphics Solutions Business, Americas, HP Inc. “The HP Inkspiration and Rod Key Marketing Excellence Awards give us a unique opportunity to recognize and celebrate our customers’ accomplishments, while encouraging the industry to continue pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with digital printing.”

“I would encourage printers to participate in the HP Inkspiration Awards. It’s a strategic way to challenge their organizations, inspire their people to do great work, and separate themselves from the competition,” said Bruce L. Myers, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Media Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology. “Printers can be confident that if they do well in this competition, they are at the top of their game.”

Entry Deadline

There is no fee to enter, and you may enter as many submissions as you wish.

Submissions are being accepted until January 6, 2017 at the program website: hpinkspiration.com.

Winners will be announced during a special ceremony at Dscoop Phoenix March 1-4, 2017.

The winning entries in the HP Inkspiration Awards can be viewed here.

Conference Explains Why Future of Digital Textile Printing is Now

Digitally printed textiles are widely used in retail and event graphics and athletic apparel. But with ongoing advances in inks, fabrics, and equipment, manufacturers are beginning to use digitally print textiles for a much broader range of applications, including fashions, furnishings, and accessories.

To learn what’s next for digital textile printing, check out Digital Textile Printing: The Future is Now. This two-day conference will be held December 6-7, 2016 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham, North Carolina.

Sponsored by SGIA and AATCC

The conference is sponsored jointly by the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) and the Association of Textile, Apparel, and Materials Professionals (AATCC). The complementary membership bases of these two associations are helping drive the advancement of digital textile printing technologies.

SGIA serves printing professionals who want to use the latest digital printing technologies to grow their businesses or expand into new market segments. Many SGIA members come from screen-printing businesses that have been involved with textile printing and garment decoration for years.


AATCC originated as the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists but has expanded to serve industry professionals from: textile, apparel and home-goods manufacturers; textile testing laboratories; consumer and retail organizations; state and federal government agencies; and colleges and universities. AATCC is internationally recognized for its standard methods of testing fibers and fabrics for performance characteristics such as colorfastness, appearance, soil release, dimensional change, and water resistance.

Conference Speakers

Experts from a variety of backgrounds will explain what’s involved in digitally printing textiles that are beautiful, functional, colorfast, and compliant with regulations for safety and sustainable production. Speakers will include experts involved fabric and ink research, digital textile printing and finishing systems, certifications and standards, color management, design, and surface imaging education.

Johnny Shell of the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association will provide an overview of digital textile printing technology. He will cover existing digital textile printing platforms and their costs, capabilities, and limitations. He will also look at potentially disruptive platforms that are starting to come online.

David Clark of Huntsman Corporation will outline the different ink chemistries used in digital textile printing and the fastness (durability) of colors on textiles.

Dave Brewer, chief technology officer of the Image Options screen-printing firm, will address the basic fundamentals of color and how to consistently achieve the right color on fabric graphics and textiles.

Steve Aranoff of Mikkelsen Converting Technologies will discuss how finishing innovations such as the VersaTech are making it easier to handle heavy rolls of fabric and improve quality and overall throughput.

Ben Mead of Hohenstein Institute USA research and testing lab and OEKO-TEX USA, will discuss how to know if the inks and other chemicals used in digital textile printing will meet the sustainability requirements of your customers.

Diana Wyman of AATCC will explain the importance of quality assurance testing for printed textiles. She will focus on selecting test methods, understanding test methods, and making decisions based on those results.

Harold S. Freeman of the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University will discuss research that will lead to the next generation of disperse dyes for inkjet inks.

Yi Ding of the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University will discuss research that compared the properties of pigment-based and disperse dye-based inksets on a polyester substrate.

Katelyn Lee of Cotton Incorporated will discuss a project that is evaluating the pretreatment formulations to improve the color yield and color development of reactive dyes digitally printed onto 100 percent cotton fabrics.

Xingyu Li of the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University will discuss research that explored best practices in preparing polyester woven fabric for direct digital printing. He will explain fabric factors (processes and materials) that will contribute to the quality and efficiency of digital printing.

Hitoshi Ujiie of The Center of Excellence for Surface Imaging at Philadelphia University will talk about the key role of digital textile printing in the emerging design field of surface imaging.

Carrie Yates of Cotton Incorporated will explain how the product development team at the Cotton Incorporated Research Center is developing fabrics from cotton fiber to the finished product. This presentation will highlight how Cotton Incorporated is taking digital printing to another level by fusing techniques such as laser etching and novel dyeing and finishing methods.

Steve Smith, of the DPInnovations software company will explain how an established textile printing company with a traditional B2B business model developed an online presence that enables all types of customers to submit jobs directly to their digital textile printing equipment.

Gert Davis of the Spoonflower digital textile printing service will discuss how online creative communities, advances in imaging technologies, and on-demand printing can deliver a more collaborative, environmentally sustainable, and diverse textile industry.

Fashion designer Alexander Julian will share some of the lessons he learned since he first began exploring digital printing in 1990. He will explain how technology has shaped his vision and enabled his business.

Mark Sawchak of Expand Systems will explain why companies of all sizes are interested in implementing a digital workflow to bring more printed products to market faster. He will discuss companies moving forward with digital textile printing technologies and how it is re-engineering their supply chains.

View the full program details here. Register before November 21 to qualify for early-bird pricing. For more details and registration information visit: www.aatcc.org/evnt/digital-printing.


Wilhelm Imaging Research Tests Durability of Metal Photo Prints

Printing firms and photo labs that use dye-sublimation printing to produce “metal photo prints” for professional photographers and home decor should be aware that all pre-coated metal panels may not be equally durable.

According to Henry Wilhelm, Director of Research at Wilhelm Imaging Research (WIR), “Very complex interactions take place between sublimation inks and the ink-receptive polymer coatings of dye sublimation prints.” He said some interactions occur during the short, high-heat image transfer step involved in making metal photo prints. Other interactions occur very gradually over time, during the long-term display and storage of the prints.

“What a metal photo print looks like when it emerges from the heat press tells you nothing at all about how long it will last,” said Wilhelm. He notes that “Sublimation on metal photo panels is a new and rapidly advancing technology, and all aluminum panels — frequently referred to in the marketplace as ‘metal prints’ — are by no means the same. If your lab is using untested products, both you and your customers are flying blind.”

WIR is widely recognized as the world’s leading independent print permanence testing laboratory.

ChromaLuxe Panels Pass Tests with Flying Colors

One of the first companies to promote sublimation printing on high-quality metal photo panels was ChomaLuxe. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company supplies high-quality blank metal, wood, and other rigid substrates for applications that require superb image quality and durability.

Comprehensive, multi-factor print permanence tests at Wilhelm Imaging Research have confirmed the durability of ChromaLuxe sublimatable aluminum photo panels.

ChromaLuxe aluminum sublimation photo panels achieved a WIR Display Permanence Rating of 65 years when printed with Epson UltraChrome DS inks. The WIR Display Permanence Rating is 64 years when printed with Sawgrass Sublijet-HD Pro Photo XF inks.

Although the 4-color Epson and 8-color Sawgrass inks have different dye formulations, and distinctly different individual ink fade patterns, both brands of inks proved to be well matched to the latest ChromaLuxe sublimation coating formulations.


ChromaLuxe photo panels (“metal prints”) are available in sizes up to 4 x 8 feet. The photo panels can be used for all types of photography.

What makes the WIR Display Permanence Ratings for ChromaLuxe panels most impressive is the fact that the prints can be safely displayed without being laminated, displayed behind glass or acrylic, or face-mounted to acrylic sheets.

ChromaLuxe prints have unprecedented resistance to surface abrasion, high humidity, atmospheric ozone, and contact with water.

Wilhelm Imaging Research found that unframed, displayed prints made with the latest generation of ChromaLuxe aluminum photo panels are far more stable and longer lasting than Kodak Endura or other current silver-halide papers, including silver-halide prints framed under UV-absorbing acrylic or glass or when face-mounted to UV-absorbing acrylic.

About Dye Sublimation

Dye-sublimation printing is an attractive process for creating durable photographs because it uses heat to infuse the inks directly into a specialized coating on the surface of metal panels, tabletops, or wood.

ChromaLuxe has committed substantial R&D resources to constantly improve the image quality, permanence, Dmax, and printing consistency of sublimatable photo panels.

“Genuine ChromaLuxe prints now offer photographers an unmatched combination of display permanence, physical surface durability, and color brilliance,” said Kristina Lowe, director of marketing for ChromaLuxe.

You can see ChromaLuxe photo and art panels at the PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo, October 27-29, 2016 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. The PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo is the largest photography and imaging show in North America. It is attended by over 21,000 professional photographers, photography enthusiasts, videographers, students and educators from around the world.

New Specialty Papers for High-End Inkjet Photo and Art Printing

photokina-logoAt the Photokina “Imaging Unlimited” show in Cologne, Germany, leading manufacturers of inkjet photo papers and canvases for aqueous inkjet printers showcased their newest products.

Most of these inkjet photo papers and canvas products were geared for fine-art printmakers and professional photographers who sell art and photographic prints that will last for generations. Some new materials were geared toward producers of posters and photo merchandise. Here’s a quick overview:


The Canson Infinity line of digital fine art and photo papers includes new baryta paper. Canson Infinity Baryta Prestige, 340 gsm combines an alpha-cellulose and cotton white paper base with a true barium-sulfate coating.

Stand: Canson, Halle 3.1
Canson Booth at Photokina 2016. Photo: Koelnmesse GmbH

Canson also introduced Glassine Translucent Interleaving Paper. Available in 44-inch wide rolls, this 40 gsm translucent, archival paper can be used to protect, conserve, and archive large-format photographic prints.

To help newcomers to fine-art photo printing learn more about the process, Canson announced Canson Infinity E-Academy. The online videos explain how to use Lightroom, ICC profiles, calibrated monitors, and color management to get the best results. Other topics addressed by the E-Academy include the aesthetics of a good print, print permanence issues, how to choose an inkjet printer, and how to choose among the different types of Canson Infinity papers.



Hahnemuehle introduced Hahenmuehle Art Canvas Smooth, a limited-edition Hahnemuehle Portfolio Box, and Photo Cards made from Hahenmuehle PhotoRag Ultrasmooth, FineArt Baryta Satin, and FineArt Pearl papers.

Art Canvas Smooth is a creamy, natural-white poly-cotton canvas with a smooth surface texture. Made without optical brighteners, the canvas meets the quality expectations for museum and gallery art.

Hahenmuehle Portfolio Box provides an elegant way to store art. The box is made from acid-free, archival materials and features a fine-textured 100% cotton cover material. The limited edition includes 50 A3+- sheets of FineArt inkjet paper (Photo Rag® 308, the high-gloss FineArt Baryta, or semi-gloss FineArt Baryta Satin).  To protect the stored prints from scratches and abrasion, each box also includes 50 interleaf sheets made from acid-free glassine paper. A pair of gloves and three Certificates of Authenticity with holograms are included.



ILFORD showcased a new washi fine-art paper and a photo paper specifically for black-and-white photography.

ILFORD GALERIE Prestige Gold Mono Silk is a 10.5 mil, 270gsm photo paper developed specifically for photographers who specialize in black-and-white photography. With a high Dmax and low Dmin, this paper provides a seamless transition between shadows and highlights.

ILFORD GALERIE Prestige Washi Torinoko is a 6.7 mil, 110gsm fine art paper without optical brighteners. The Washi base paper is manufactured in Japan on a specialized machine that emulates the look of traditional Washi handmade papers. This acid-free paper has a fine textured surface and a coating that provides a wide color gamut and excellent color consistency.


Innova announced their Editions range of fine art and photo media. The range includes four cotton rag art papers with a range of tones and textures and two papers for fine art photography. Four of the papers are rebranded versions of existing products. The two Fabriano products are new.


Fabriano Artistico Watercolour Rag 310 gsm is a 22 mil, natural white, mould-made 100% cotton rag archival art paper with the rougher surface popular for watercolor painting.

Fabriano Printmaking Rag 310 gsm is a 22 mil, natural white, mould-made, 100% cotton rag, archival art paper with a soft-grain (etching-like) texture on the surface.

Photo Cotton Rag 315 gsm was formerly known as Smooth Cotton Natural White 100% Cotton

Etching Cotton Rag 315 gsm was formerly known as Soft Textured Natural White 100% Cotton

Exhibition Cotton Gloss 335 gsm was formerly known as FibaPrint Warm Cotton Gloss

Exhibition Photo Baryta 310 gsm was formerly known as FibaPrint Baryta


In addition to the new Editions Range, Innova updated the “Innova Canvas” product line.

A new Exhibition Matte Cotton Canvas 370 gsm is included in the collection of six inkjet canvases Innova offers for aqueous inkjet printers.

Exhibition Matte Cotton Canvas 370 gsm is a heavyweight, all-cotton, archival matte canvas made without polyester. This instant-dry canvas is well suited for artists who want to use an inkjet pigment print as the foundation for an original, mixed-media art piece.

The Innova Canvas product line also includes two semi-gloss canvases for printers that use eco-solvent, latex, or UV-curable inks.


Moab, a division of Legion Paper, showcased their 100-percent cotton Juniper Baryta Rag 305. The paper features a true baryta (barium sulfate) surface that holds details in the deep blacks of the shadow regions of an image while produce natural white highlights. The images are enhanced with a slight surface gloss.


Sihl GmbH The Coating Company announced two new heavyweight matte coated papers that can be used to create posters on printers that use water-based dye or pigment inks. (The papers also work with printers with latex or UV-curable inks.)


SIHL PosterBright x 210 (3282) is a bright-white 210 gsm, 8-mil paper for photo books, photo reproductions, and indoor posters. A built-in barrier coating helps ensure that prints remain flat and cockle-free, even when printed with high densities of ink.

SIHL PosterBook x 260 Matt (3283) is a premium, natural-white, acid-free paper with a gloss surface. At 13-mils thick, this heavyweight poster paper is ideal for printing sample books or photo enlargements that will be framed.

SIHL Sublicolor Impact Paper 110 Matt (3796) is designed for the dye-sublimation transfer of high-quality images to coated or pre-treated metal, wood, or ceramic tiles.


The Wall-Ready range of inkjet media from James Cropper includes direct-print photo posterboards in matt, gloss, and satin finishes. The boards are designed for the creation of razor-sharp photo prints that are ready to hang without lamination.

The boards can be printed on all Epson Sure Color and Stylus Pro printers as well as Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5100, iPF6400, and iPF6450 models. The boards are available in sizes ranging from 10 x 12, 11 x 14, and 12 x 16 inches up to 16 x 20 and 20 x 30 inches. Other sizes can be manufactured upon request.

James Cropper also displayed their Khora canvas box-display system for making ready-to-hang wall art. The pre-scored, flat-packed, printer-ready product eliminates the need for canvas stretcher bars. .

As demonstrated in the video below, after printing on the supplied canvas, you fold it over top the foldable display-box board. The canvas attaches to the box with a board “lock-in” system.  Khora printable box-display kits are available in 12 x 12, 12 x 16, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inch sizes.




Why the SGIA Expo Has an Entrepreneurial Vibe

It’s not surprising that the SGIA Expo has become one of the largest printing trade shows in the U.S. This show floor features endless opportunities for print-business entrepreneurs who understand that “printing” today is about much more than putting words and pictures on paper.

SGIA-Expo2016Digital printing is alive and well and enabling the production of all sorts of products, including: customized garments; custom labels and packaging; graphics-wrapped vehicles; fast fashion; print-on-demand wallcoverings; interactive clothing and other objects; photo gifts and merchandise; promotional products; and unique environments for stores, restaurants, hotels, healthcare facilities, schools, and offices.

The 2016 SGIA Expo September 14-16 in Las Vegas attracted more than 24,000 visitors. About 65 percent were currently involved in graphics printing or installation, 25 percent were garment decorators, 9 percent were involved with industrial printing, and 2 percent were working with in the emerging field of printed electronics for the Internet of Things.

Roughly, 46 percent of the 2016 SGIA Expo visitors were first-time attendees. For example Kathy Gonzalez of Dancing Dog Productions said, “I bought my shop four months ago, and I’m completely new.” She said the experts at SGIA education sessions were helpful and knowledgeable: “The wealth of information is amazing.”

What Makes SGIA Expo Different?

The SGIA Expo is organized by an association that began as the Screenprinting and Graphic Imaging Association. When wide-format printing equipment was first introduced, most screen-printing companies were already involved with producing relatively short runs of garments, advertising graphics, vehicle markings, art reproductions, textiles, glassware, ceramics, and promotional products.

In 2003, after merging with the Digital Printing and Imaging (DPI) Association, SGIA rebranded itself as the Specialty Graphics and Imaging Association. Today, SGIA welcomes any business that uses digital and/or analog printing processes to create new products or enhance existing ones.

The leaders of SGIA include entrepreneurs who were among the first to build businesses around wide-format inkjet printing. As early adopters of the first slow, low-resolution color wide-format inkjet printers, SGIA and DPI members dealt with the technical glitches that come with any new technology. They also had to show customers what these early wide-format and superwide-format inkjet printers could do.

With support from the printer and media manufacturers, SGIA members developed the demand for digitally printed large-format graphics in fields as diverse as outdoor advertising, fine art reproduction, retail displays, trade-show graphics, museum exhibitions, interior decor, and staged events. When competition within one market segment intensified, SGIA members simply diversified into a different niche or market segment.

Some long-time SGIA members started out as commercial photo labs or prepress service bureaus. They started producing large-format graphics when the demand for film processing and film-based color separations began to decline.

Now, representatives of commercial printing companies come to SGIA Expo to find large-format graphics printing equipment that can help them offset the declining demand for large print runs of marketing collateral and other documents.

Printing Entrepreneurs Enable Other Entrepreneurs

SGIA Expo also attracts owners of digital printing start-ups that don’t have any previous experience in printing.

Some of these entrepreneurs are using wide-format printing systems and digital presses to fulfill online orders for small runs of customized products, such as custom-designed wallpaper, T-shirts, or gift wrap.  With their web-to-print operations, some start-up printing firms are creating new-business opportunities for photographers, designers, and artists who want to license their images or launch their own brands of products.

In Search of The Next Big Thing

Entrepreneurs understand that a business model that works today might easily be disrupted within a year or two. New businesses must find ways to become efficient and profitable fast while keeping abreast of opportunities to grow and differentiate their companies.

So, you never know what type of technology or materials you might find at SGIA Expo. In the short time I spent in the SGIA Expo aisles, I saw:

—Massivit’s large-format 3D printer for making props and objects for use in visual merchandising, themed environments, and outdoor advertising;

—Durst’s 5-meter Rhotex 500 inkjet fabric printer for companies that want to make gigantic backdrops for theaters, arenas, concert venues, trade shows, and public spaces.

—Digital signs showing 3D content (without requiring the viewer to wear glasses);

—On-demand box-making equipment for shipping print-on-demand products; and

—A preview of Canon’s innovative UVgel printing technology for roll-to-roll printers.

–Automated finishing equipment that can convert printed corrugated boards into three-dimensional displays.

Judging from the number of first-time attendees and diversity of the exhibitors, the SGIA Expo has earned a reputation as a printing show for entrepreneurs and early adopters.

“The SGIA Expo has provided a dramatic increase in new customer opportunities for us,” reports Chris Guyett of Durst Image Technology US LLC. “The attendees we were able to speak with showed great interest and desire to build their business with Durst.”

James Raffel, CEO of ColorMetrix Technologies LLC told SGIA Expo organizers, “You guys are on fire — this marketplace is full of opportunity right now.”

The 2017 SGIA Expo will be held October 10-12 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center.





Canon Announces Game-Changing UVgel Print Technology

At SGIA Expo 2016, Canon U.S.A. previewed a new UVgel printing technology that they believe will be a game-changer for companies that print graphics on wide-format rolls of flexible media. According to Canon, UVgel will provide the large color gamut of solvent inks combined with the environmental benefits and safety profile of latex and UV inks.

UVgel is a radically new UV curable ink from Canon that instantly gels on contact with the media. This results in precise dot placement and area control for consistent high-quality images at high speed.

According to Canon, ultra-thin ink dispersion and a low ink-consumption rate can provide up to a 40 percent reduction in printing costs compared to eco-solvent and latex inks.

Canon plans to use UVgel technology in a new line of roll-to-roll large-format printers that can provide cost-effective, non-toxic, durable, colorfast, high-quality prints on flexible materials such as banner materials, display films, and canvas.

The first printer to use Canon UVgel technology will be a high productivity, 64 inch roll-to-roll printer. It is scheduled for release in the spring of 2017.

Advanced Hardware

The Canon UVgel technology platform incorporates several new hardware technology developments.

Advanced, next-generation piezoelectric printhead technology will employ patented acoustic sampling technology that monitors nozzle performance on-the-fly during printing.

A unique LED UV curing sub-system will operate completely independently from the printing system. By ensuring identical jetting-to-curing timing for every droplet, this sub-system will deliver unprecedented uniformity across the printed image.

The LED-based UV system cures the gel without adding heat to the media. This will enable UVgel systems to print on even on thin, heat-sensitive flexible media.

Continuous, on-the-fly, nozzle performance compensation will facilitate confident unattended printing and reduced print waste.

According to Toyotsugu Kuwamura, executive vice president and general manager, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “This new technology will power an upcoming generation of roll-to-roll printers that will help our customers increase their print production efficiency while lowering their operating costs, enabling them to profitably grow their business.”

According to the Canon press release, the company’s significant investment in UVgel technology demonstrates Canon’s continued commitment to be a leader in digital graphics markets.

Canon also makes the Océ Arizona series of UV flatbed printers for rigid sheets.


SGIA Expo: Esko Workflow Innovations for Wide Format Graphics

During SGIA Expo September 14-16, Esko (Booth 954) will demonstrate innovative Esko workflow tools that can help wide-format graphics producers get more out of their equipment and personnel.

Although the variety and volume of digitally produced signs and displays continues to grow, some graphics companies aren’t prepared to efficiently handle that growth. Many wide format workflows and finishing operations still involve too many manual steps, too much equipment set-up time, incorrect material handling, and overall lack of control.

“Esko is in a unique position to introduce new efficiencies to the wide format graphics workplace,” explains Stephen Bennett, Esko vice president of sales. New operational controls and management tools for Esko’s digital cutting workflow and Kongsberg tables can remove non-value-added time from the graphics production process: “These innovations help operators spend up to 30% less time in job preparation, and be ready for the next job 25% faster.” By integrating workflow software with Kongsberg finishing tables, users can expect overall equipment productivity increases of 10% or more.

Automation Engine Avant for Wide format Graphics Workflows

Automation Engine Avant is a new dedicated wide format workflow software bundle that can optimize wide-format graphics production from design to delivery. It includes preflighting, file editing, adding cutting paths, and nesting multiple prints on a sheet for optimal usage.

The productive workflows created by Automation Engine Avant increases throughput on digital printers and digital finishing platforms while enhancing file management and communication to customers.


The Avant bundles with Esko’s new Device Manager. The Device Manager software communicates job status and helps manage jobs based on cutting time and material. It makes precise production planning and prioritization of digital finishing jobs easier to manage. Operators can prioritize table queues, insert rush jobs and balance workloads between different tables, even at different sites.

With the new Estimating software module within Esko Device Manager, better job quotes and accurate forecasts are easy.

ArtoisCAD for Sign and Display Design

Esko’s powerful structural design software, ArtiosCAD, is ideal for designers of POP, POS, and free-standing displays designers.

The new  ArtiosCAD Display Store makes designing attractive displays possible for everyone and gives printing firms quick access to new designs.


To streamline the editing of graphics printed on signs and displays, Esko has partnered with CHILI Publish to offer online editing. This means the artwork creator can enable anyone in the supply chain to modify packaging content within established constraints.

Simplified Kongsberg Platform Choice

Some finishing operations aren’t as profitable as they could be because the equipment isn’t optimally used. There are too many manual steps. Setting up cutting tables takes too long. And, prioritizing jobs for optimal material handling is not always possible.

Esko has streamlined and improved its Kongsberg table portfolio to help customers more easily identify the systems that best suit their needs. They can choose from two primary families for either the greatest flexibility for versatile and creative jobs (Kongsberg X), or the best productivity for efficient production runs (Kongsberg C).

Esko Kongsberg C

Visitors to the Esko booth at SGIA will see the Kongsberg X24 and Kongsberg C64 finishing tables with some new features:

Multizone Production lets operators divide the surface of the Kongsberg table into two or more zones. While the table head is working on one zone, an operator can use the other zone to clear the finished piece and load a new sheet. This allows the machine to operate continuously without waiting.

Auto Tool Adjust on Kongsberg tables uses camera inspection and digital image processing to make sure knife blades and router bits are still sharp and correctly installed. Operators get feedback on set-up or replacing of the bits and blades.

i-BF Board Feeder is part of a new family of high-capacity sheet feeders for the Kongsberg tables. It feeds corrugated, paper-core boards, and plastics from pallets quickly and accurately. The i-BF Board Feeder is indispensable for the automation of all jobs that involve medium-to-high run lengths of rigid materials.

“With our integrated software and hardware innovations, Esko closely aligns the performance of digital finishing operations and prepress workflows with the faster digital presses, effectively eliminating an important bottleneck,” concludes Bennett. “We simplify the workflow process for sign and display facilities—or as we say, ‘Sign and Display Simplified’.”

About Esko

Esko is a global supplier of integrated solutions for producers of packaging, labels, signs, and displays and the commercial printing and publishing industries. Esko products and services drive profitability in the packaging and printing supply chain by reducing time-to-market and raising productivity.

iSys Label to Unveil Desktop Label Printer for Small Lot Wine Producers

isyslabelAt Labelexpo Americas September 13-15, iSys Label will introduce the LUNA 850, a desktop label printer specifically for the small lot wine or beverage producers.

Loaded with 8.5 x 11-inch (215.9mm x 279.4mm) sheets of die-cut wine label material, the LUNA 850 enables small and large wineries to bring beverage label printing in-house.

Software supplied with the LUNA 850 is easy to use and allows for full color management and precise color matching. Die-cut labels can be printed and applied within minutes, making the need for outsourcing a thing of the past.

iSys Label will also show their flagship products, the roll-to-roll APEX 1290 and EDGE 850 digital label printers for short to mid-length production runs.

These LED, toner-based presses eliminate the need for brand owners to order preprinted labels. Companies can use these printers to reduce label inventories and wait times and customize each label with variable information in full color.

The Apex 1200 desktop label printer handles media rolls from 3 to 12.9 inches

The EDGE 850 is a single-pass CMYK LED desktop label printer handles media rolls from 3 to 8.5 inches wide.

Companies don’t have to be experts in the label business to benefit from iSys label printers. According to a post on the iSys Label Blog, entrepreneurs have been using the EDGE 850 short-run digital label printer to print custom water bottle labels for local businesses, community events, corporate functions, parties, and weddings.

Additional features to be highlighted at the Labelexpo show will be water and wine bottle labels, white toner printing capabilities, and roll to cut GHS BS5609-compliant labels.

About iSys Label

iSys Label is a developer and manufacturer of short to mid run digital label printers that deliver production-quality labels print after print.

Based in Calgary, iSys Label develops customized product configurations to fit customers’ needs and provides effective solutions that meet their highest expectations.

iSys Label started out developing leading-edge performance printers for the oil and gas industry. Today, the company serves many different industries, including: labels and packing; government agencies; engineering; aerospace; military defense; marine; manufacturing; commercial art; graphic design; and newspaper.

Innovation Group Report Highlights Trends in Retailing

If your graphic communications company serves retailers, you may be interested in the retailing trends outlined in the “Frontier(less) Retail” report from The Innovation Group of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence. The report was produced in partnership with WWD (Women’s Wear Daily).

According to Lucie Greene, worldwide director of The Innovation Group, the current retail landscape seems to be borderless, blurred, and amorphous: “The physical and digital realms are set to merge in new ways with the introduction of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things.” Boundaries are collapsing everywhere.

“Geographic territories as becoming increasingly meaningless as retail goes truly global,” says Greene.

Even the idea that a product must be something tangible is changing. The report points out that “Customers now accept the digital, the nebulous, the ephemeral, and even the borrowed, as well worth spending money on.” Instead of spending money on physical items, customers may forgo buying products in favor of more experiences.

Greene believes retailers today have a permanent need for agility: “Even companies that embrace transformative innovation are finding that the pace of change, rather than being incremental, is far more rapid than they could ever have imagined.”  She contends that “A seamless commerce experience is paramount.” A minimal gap between inspiration and purchase is the key to success.”

The Frontier(less) Retailing report discusses the state of retailing in 2016. It explains the interaction of trends such as: ubiquitous digital commerce; artificial intelligence in retail; and the use of immersive digital technologies to create memorable experiences in flagship stores, parks, museums, and public spaces.

If you believe digital signage might reduce the demand for printed graphics, this report could change your perspective. To produce memorable, immersive experiences, retailers are likely to require an imaginative blend of display screens, decorative graphics, and three-dimensional themed furnishings.

The Innovation Group analysts note that “Digitizing stores shouldn’t be about slapping screens on every possible surface. It should be about using technology to create a greater sense of engagement with the physical space and the products on display.”

About The Innovation Group

The Innovation Group is J. Walter Thompson’s futurism, research, and innovation unit. It charts emerging and future global trends, consumer change, and innovation patterns, then translates this information into insights for brands.

WWD provides information and intelligence to senior executives in the global fashion, retail, and beauty communities.

SGIA Expo Preview: DisplayGenie Software for POP Display and Box Design

New display design software from SA International (SAi) can help expand the range of products you can create with a wide-format flatbed inkjet printer and automated cutting equipment. SAi will demonstrate the software in their booth (#3250) at the 2016 SGIA Expo September 14-16 in Las Vegas.

DisplayGenie streamlines the process of designing and creating freestanding point-of-purchase (POP) displays, folding cartons, and boxes made from materials such as corrugated paperboard, corrugated plastics, or rigid honeycomb material.


SAi DisplayGenie integrates with the Designer interface in Flexi, SAi’s all-in-one design, print, and cut software for signmakers and print service providers. This means you can use Flexi’s popular graphic design tools. You can easily add text, logos, ready-made artwork, and other design elements.

“SGIA Expo is the ideal platform to demonstrate the plethora of business-enhancing capabilities that SAi DisplayGenie provides.” explains Annette Plummer, director of marketing for SAi in North America.

Easy-to-adjust Templates

SAi DisplayGenie is compatible with all existing wide-format RIP software that drives flatbed printers and cutters. DisplayGenie features:

  • a simple, but complete toolset for easier display and box structural design
  • an extensive and continuously expanding library of display and box templates
  • an intuitive interface for personalizing each template to meet each client’s specifications
  • an animated 3D folding preview that helps you catch any mistakes before the job goes into production

With DisplayGenie, designers don’t have to start from scratch each time a client submits new specifications for a display or box. When a designer enters new geometric values, the DisplayGenie software rebuilds the design in seconds.


To enable your customer to preview how the finished job will look before it goes into production, you can export package display or box designs as 3D PDF files. Your client will be able to rotate the design and view it from all sides.

 About SA International (SAi)

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, SA International (SAi) is a global leader in providing complete, professional software solutions from design to production for the signmaking, digital printing, screen-printing and CNC machining industries.

SAi has resellers around the world with over 100,000 customers in more than 50 countries. SAi has offices in Brussels, Belgium; São Paulo, Brazil; Pune, India; Shanghai and Hong Kong, China and Tokyo, Japan. For more information, visit: www.ThinkSAi.com