This year when I learned that SGIA 2006 would host over 598 exhibitors (the largest SGIA show ever), I had to find my cowboy hat and head on down to Las Vegas, Nevada. The SGIA (Specialty Graphic Imaging Association) is an international association for specialty imaging. Their mission is to provide imaging professionals with the tools and information needed to make the best possible business decisions. Besides the very informative conference sessions, we were allowed to explore the latest equipment, inks, media and applications for the digital and screen-printing applications.
The DPI (Digital Printing & Imaging Association) holds the DPI Product-of-the-Year competition in conjunction with the annual SGIA Trade Show. The competition honors those digital imaging products having a major and beneficial impact on the industry. The DPI Product-of-the-Year awards are some of the most prestigious awards in the industry. A panel of judges anonymously evaluates submissions based on criteria that include color, detail, and tonality. Here are the winners of the different categories in alphabetical order.
Canon – Best Poster Size Printer
Canon USA Inc. put the spotlight on its new imagePROGRAF 12 color wide-format printers, from the 17-inch imagePROGRAF iPF5000 up to Canon’s first 60-inch printer, the imagePROGRAF iPF9000. Canon USA was well represented with 6 new printers (Three 12 color graphic art printers and three 5 color CAD and general office printers) The Canon iPF9000 60” 12 color printer won “The DPI Product-of-the-Year award” for BEST poster size printer. The images were printed on the Canon Premium Bright Photo Gloss media using the Ergosoft PosterPrint software RIP. The iPF9000 printer also won the BEST fabric category, printing on 3P Universal canvas with the Ergosoft RIP.
The Canon iPF5000 17” 12 color printer also won “The DPI Product-of-the-Year award” for the BEST presentation size printer. The prize winning image from the iPF5000 17” imagePROGRAF printer was created with the new 12 color Lucia pigmented ink set, printed on Canon Premium Bright Photo Gloss media, and using the Ergosoft PosterPrint software RIP.
The Canon iPF9000 and 5000 12 color printers have set a new benchmark in aqueous printing and winning this competition validates their best-in-class performance and value. The iPF9000 printer provides one of the industry’s largest color gamuts with a 12-color ink set of Canon’s LUCIA pigment inks, allowing images to achieve image permanence and longevity. Coupled with a suite of innovative image processing software and a range of substrates, the iPF9000 printer is ideal for professionals looking to make a big impression with their work. (And this printer is fast- up to 355 square feet per hour) The MSRP on the 60” iPF9000 will be $14,995 (US), the MSRP on the 44” iPF8000 will be $5999 (US) and the MSRP on the 17” iPF5000 will be $1999 (US)
Oc’ Arizona 250 GT – UV Curable Vision Award category
Oc’ Display Graphics Systems received the DPI Vision Award for its Arizona 250 GT. This award calls attention to new digital imaging product development which is most likely to have a profound and positive effect on the industry. The Oc’ Arizona 250 GT printer uses UV curable inks and the Oc’ VariaDot imaging technology to deliver near-photographic image quality. It also includes a true flatbed platform to print onto a wide variety of rigid substrates. It was designed to produce the best possible image quality ever achieved in a flatbed printer. It can print onto rigid media up to 49 inches wide by 98 inches long by 1.89 inches thick. It also has an optional roll-to-roll module which can print onto flexible media up to 87 inches. It delivers a true production print speed (sellable prints) of 172 square feet per hour and sells for around $160,000 (US)
MacDermid ColorSpan – Best UV Curable Rigid Substrate Printer
The ColorSpan 9840uv is an industrial-grade, high-speed, UV-curable flatbed printer designed for printing high quality graphics on inexpensive rigid or flexible roll materials. The ColorSpan 9840uv is a high-performance 98-inch (2.5m) production printer that produces extremely durable, high-quality output for outdoor and indoor applications on media up to 2.75 inches (70mm) thick. Its SolaChrome UV pigmented inks offers an exceptionally wide color gamut for reproducing bright vivid colors and excellent adhesion on the widest range of substrates. What’s more, ColorSpan 9840uv includes outstanding automated features to ensure print quality and enhance your productivity. The ColorSpan 9840uv 98” printer won “The DPI Product-of-the-Year award” for the BEST UV-curable printer. The prize winning image from ColorSpan 9840uv printer was created with its CMYK Solachrome UV ink set, printed on United Industry Ultraboard with the Kodiak software RIP. The ColorSpan 9840UV has a retail price in the USA of $149,995.
Mimaki GP 604D – Best Direct Inkjet to Garment Printer
The Mimaki GP-604D is an ink-jet printer that widens the design range by allowing users to easily print attractive images on dark-colored T-shirts. You can dramatically increase your profitability by the use of on-demand production techniques. The key advantage of the GP-604D is its digital on-demand production techniques, which enables a designer to profitably produce from single to variable lot orders. It creatively broadens business opportunities for printing not only excellent full-color T-shirts, but also on to novelty items, canvas bags, and the like. Although the use of discharge inks is not new in garment decorating, it is a unique feature to “digital on-demand garment decorating”. This allows the user to combine the effect of bleaching or whitening an area of a garment, and then in effect laying in a process color graphic using pigmented textile inkjet inks. The GP-604D, which is a 4-head flatbed printer, has an auto-adjusting head height feature that allows it to print objects up to 5” thick, according to the company. It can print on T-shirts, sweat shirts, tote bags and assorted cotton-blended items. The GP-604D 16” printer won “The DPI Product-of-the-Year award” for the Direct to Garment print category. The prize winning image from Mimaki GP 604D printer was created with its CMYK Miamki Textile Pigment ink set, printed on a Gildan Heavy Weight Cotton T-shirt with the Mimaki Rasterlink GP software.
Wide Format Printing Specialist