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Commentary & Analysis

ISA 2015: Trends and Opportunities

InfoTrends’ Steve Urmano recaps the recent ISA Sign Expo with a rundown of some of the major product announcements, as well as a diverse array of other printing and finishing equipment on display.

By Steve Urmano
Published: May 11, 2015

At this year’s ISA event, which took place during April 9–11 in Las Vegas, Nev., the booths were sold out, with over 600 exhibitors showing their wares. ISA 2015 encompassed a 213,000-square-foot area, which is a considerable amount of space for attendees to cover. Embracing the opportunity to network with industry colleagues, the 19,000 attendees increased their industry knowledge and viewed the vendors’ new offerings. ISA 2015 was the largest sign graphics tradeshow in recent history. Some of the wide format-related highlights from this year’s event are as follows:

  • The recently launched Canon Océ ColorWave 700 is designed for sign and digital printing companies looking to produce a variety of graphic arts applications. With the ability to print on thicker media (up to 32mil), a wider range of graphics and point-of-sale applications can be supported. Items such as color posters, pop-up banners, disposable point-of-purchase displays, wallpapers, and canvases can now be printed in single pass. The Océ ColorWave 700 also features the company’s patented screening technology, which produces consistent, water-fast prints with high readability and even area fills. Additionally, an optional Onyx workflow helps integrate this new print technology into existing wide format printing operations.
  • CET Color’s Q5-1000 104-inch UV wide-format printer offers a Ricoh Gen5 printhead. The single-row model can print CMYK+W, and the double-row model can print CMYK+W x2. The device is capable of producing variable dots from as small as 5 picoliters to 10 and 15 picoliters.
  • Durst introduced a new 1.8-meter (72-inch) Rhotex 180 TR dye-sublimation textile printer at ISA. The Rhotex 180 TR is equipped with Fuji Dimatix printheads and uses water-based, odor-free dispersion inks with no VOCs. Suitable for polyester and polyester blends, sportswear, home textiles, and soft signage output, this printer is the first of the company’s smaller format widths to be offered in North America.
  • EFI showcased a variety of products that are now offering LED curing. These include the entry-level H1625 CretaPrint device for ceramics, the Jetrion for labeling, and three versions of the VUTEk (hybrid, roll-to-roll, and high-speed roll-to-roll).
  • Epsonshowcased a number of products at ISA, including:
    • The solvent-based Epson SureColor S70675/6, which is built for signage applications with production speeds of up to 190 square feet per hour
    • The S70000 series, which utilizes a new Epson printhead design called dual TFP, an improved print engine technology, and UltraChrome solvent ink
    • The Epson SureColor F6070 (44-inch)/F7170 (64-inch) wide-format device, which has been completely redesigned for use in dye-sublimation print applications. These models feature the newly designed printhead branded PrecisionCore.
    • The F7170, which joins Epson’s line of SureColor F-Series printers. It offers an improved roll-to-roll mechanism with a take-up reel that delivers improved winding accuracy to the dye-sublimation transfer textile market.
  • HPwas one of the major exhibitors at ISA 2015. Some of its announcements included:
    • The PageWide XL Series, which includes four devices. The XL 4000 starts at eight A1 pages per minute (ppm), the XL 4500 offers 12 A1 ppm, the XL 5000 features 14 A1 ppm, and the XL 8000 offers 30 A1 ppm. The XL 8000, which will become available first, offers a 40 width (1,016mm) and 8 “Printbar” printheads.
    • HP’s PageWide XL Media Portfolio provides a single solution for a monochrome and color architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) graphics that enables the user to grow new application areas. Some of the targeted application areas include AEC, mapping, and graphics applications such as retail point-of-purchase (POP) display.
    • HP’s new Latex 370 wide-format printer is built for unattended operation. It features a large three-liter ink tank. The software workflow provides easy access to files and RIP, while the cloud-based workflow offers print information that can be used to improve and manage print efficiencies.
    • The HP Scitex FB550 Industrial Printer and HP Scitex FB750 Industrial Printer now provide 12-percent faster print speeds—up to 419 square feet per hour (Express Mode) for the FB550 and 469 square feet per hour (Express Mode) or 915 square feet per hour (Billboard Mode) for the FB750 with continuous sheet loading.
    • The HP Scitex 15500 Corrugated Press features a Corrugated Grip that is designed to grab and hold even severely warped corrugated boards to facilitate printing without head strikes. The new HDR230 Series Inks offer low odor and are optimized for printing on porous corrugated media.
  • The Miller Weldmaster Sewing System is designed for sewing the gasket-like latex bead for soft signage. It has a sewing needle cooling system that keeps the needle from getting too hot, which is a common issue for the latex bead used in channel frames.
  • Novus showcased its Synergia H/UV and Pictora devices at ISA. The Synergia H is a combination flatbed and roll-to-roll machine offering production speeds of up to 3,000 square feet per hour. The Pictora is a high-speed digital printer that prints directly to rigid materials. It enables the user to print directly to a wide range of precut, ready-to-ship rigid substrates, including wood and other laminates.
  • PrinterEvolution’s Eos126 DS is a direct-to-fabric printer built for high-volume fabric producers. It is available with an optional inline cutting system and an automatic turn-off control that will finish the curing and automatically shut off the inline calender heat press when the printer is unattended. The Eos is available in two widths (126-inch and 100-inch) and two configurations (eight printheads and 12 printheads).

All of these announcements will further expand the wide-format printing industry and contribute to its upward growth path. Las Vegas is often considered one of the very best show venues, and ISA 2015 certainly had a special energy. The general opinion among show attendees is that the economy is better than it has been in years past and end-users are investing in new equipment. Over the years, ISA has expanded to cover soft signage textile printing, direct-to-garment printing, and ad specialty printers. InfoTrends believes that this diversity will help ISA continue its success in the future.

Steve Urmano is the Director of InfoTrends’ Wide Format Printing Consulting Service. He develops InfoTrends’ annual global market forecasts for hardware and supplies used in the wide format printing markets. He is also responsible for conducting multiple research studies on a custom basis and as part of InfoTrends’ syndicated research.


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Wide Format Editor

Richard Romano

Richard Romano, Section Editor/Senior Analyst
Richard has written about communication, graphics hardware and software trends for the past 15 years.

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