By Digital Output Staff
Each year we welcome input regarding the top companies in media, software, and hardware. Our readership is the best source for determining the Reader’s Choice Top 50. We use our lead system, DOdirect.net, to tabulate results based on interest in articles as well as advertising.
With the past 12 months being one for the record books, we asked 2021 award winners to share any notable contributions their company or products made to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of press time many still were part of the relief effort in one way or another.
Congrats to all of this year’s winners and cheers to a successful 2021!
Above: TVF is an international supplier of print media, apparel, and home furnishings textiles to the digital printing community.
The Top 50
The deserving companies in this year’s Reader’s Choice Top 50 awards are included here in alphabetical order.
3M continues working with governments, health agencies, distributors, and others to prioritize supplies to the most critical customer and public health needs. It is grateful for the work 3Mers are doing to support the public health response and are taking actions to help protect and support them, including offering remote work when possible and providing robust safety protocols in its facilities.
Agfa delivers innovative and reliable solutions for the graphic communications industry that takes customers to the next level of quality and productivity while helping to reduce their total cost of print production. During COVID, while many customers were locked down, working remotely, or running minimal staffing, Agfa provided a free, weekly, educational webinar series focused on helping them reduce costs.
Alpina Manufacturing LLC offers Acrylic Standoff, LED Lightbox, Flip-up, Silicone Edge Graphics, Slide-in, and Banner Grip Frames made any size or quantity to hold graphics or banners. Change graphics without removing frames from wall. Beautiful presentation at a low cost for indoor or outdoor use. 24/7 online quote and ordering website available—no minimums; manufactured in Chicago, IL.
Arlon Graphics is a cast vinyl manufacturer in the business of creating innovative material for visual expression. Arlon manufactures and markets high-quality, pressure-sensitive materials for fleet, architectural, digital imaging, and signage. Through its distribution partners across the globe, a growing number of strategically positioned sales offices and warehouses, and customer-centric operations, Arlon is recognized as a global leader in graphic films.
Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions manufactures pressure-sensitive graphic films with digital, screenprint, and sign cut technologies. Applications for films range from promotional graphics such as signage for walls, windows, and floors; point of purchase (POP) exhibits; displays; vehicle wraps; and transit graphics to longer term applications like fleet branding and marking, backlit signs, vehicle color change, and architectural graphics.
Banner Ups by Budnick Converting offers a variety of adhesive grommet tabs and tapes. Its products may be used to create super-strong banners instantly without the hassle or expense of sewing or grommeting. New products include KederTape and SEGDesign frames. Peel and stick KederTape is for no-sew silicone edge graphics sign finishing.
BILD Print Media is a one-of-a-kind print media suitable for a range of applications and easily handles heavy traffic. Print any image to create custom floor graphics, providing an endless array of marketing and branding applications. Flatbed, hybrid, roll to roll, or sheet fed, BILD print media offers printers an exclusive reliable media to produce a range of permanent or free floating applications.
Caldera is a software company with more than 25 years of experience in developing, marketing, and supporting high-quality technological software for wide format imaging with a commitment to increasing productivity, cost efficiency, and color output. Caldera’s suite of production-orientated print and print-to-cut workflow programs offers color management, imaging, and driving solutions.
Canon Solutions America provides enterprise, production, and large format printing solutions, supported by exceptional professional service offerings. It helps companies of all sizes find ways to improve sustainability, increase efficiency, and control costs with high volume, continuous feed, digital and traditional printing, and document management solutions.
Continental Grafix USA, Inc. manufactures high-quality self-adhesive and non-adhesive perforated window products. It also offers specialty high-quality, versatile window, floor, and wall films for event marketing, retail, POP, display graphics, sporting events, and environmental graphics.
In the last few months, Drytac produced and shipped huge quantities of floor graphic materials, slip-rated laminates, and temporary signage media, most of this to meet the urgent demand for COVID-19 awareness and safety signage. Drytac is an international manufacturer of adhesive-coated products including window, wall, and floor graphics media; laminating films; high-performance tapes; durable labels; custom and pattern coating; industrial adhesives; and medical tapes.
Durst is a manufacturer of advanced digital printing and production technologies. Its products are designed for performance, reliability, and longevity—offering the highest print quality, productivity flexibility, and efficiency. Durst is a family company with an 80 year history, where values are focused on innovation, customer orientation, sustainability, and quality.
EFI is a global technology company leading the transformation from analog to digital. It is passionate about fueling customer success with products that increase competitiveness and boost productivity. To do that, it develops technologies for the manufacturing of signage, packaging, textiles, ceramic tiles, and personalized documents with printers, inks, digital front ends, and a business and production workflow suite.
Epson America, Inc. offers an extensive array of image capture and output products for the business, commercial print, graphic arts photographic, signage, direct to garment, and fabric production markets.
Esko is a global developer of integrated software and hardware solutions for the print and packaging sectors. Its products and services drive profitability in the packaging and printing supply chain by reducing time to market and raising productivity.
FDC Graphic Films, Inc. is a master distributor and converter of top performing, in-stock products for sign and graphics, which includes digital print media, sign vinyl film, and heat transfer vinyl. It promises to deliver on-time, complete, and error-free products to customers.
Fisher Textiles’ personal protective equipment (PPE) fabric line was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the demand for innovative PPE applications for signage and structures as well as garments.
FLEXcon continued to support its core customers when COVID-19 hit, while looking for opportunities to support the frontline workers and community. This resulted in the development and donation of face shields, fit test hoods for qualification, creativity kits for local students, and floor graphics to local school districts.
The Graphic Systems Division of Fujifilm North America Corporation is a global solutions provider in multiple segments including commercial—analog and digital, wide format, labels and packaging, and industrial. Fujifilm is an industry leader on color knowledge.
Graphic Finishing Partners (Gfp) ships thousands of machines through a network of dealers and distributors covering North America. Gfp machines are proven to shorten production time, increase profitability, and produce consistent, professional results. They are simple to operate, full of labor-saving features, and budget friendly.
Graphtec America markets and distributes high-performance roll feed and flatbed cutting plotters for signage, heat transfer apparel, label, decal, and package prototyping. Graphtec is committed to further enhancing its competitive strengths, product features, performance, and drive for excellence.
HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through its portfolio of printers, solutions, and services, the company provides customers how-to webinars, tools, and COVID-related templates to help them grow.
INX Digital delivers technologies that drive digital growth all over the world. Combining the ink formulating expertise of INX with leading EVOLVE, PRODIGY, and TRIANGLE brands makes INX Digital an unequaled source for products, technologies, systems, consultation, and services.
To address the challenges of this unique time in world history, the LexJet team came together to rapidly devise a plan to keep everyone safely working, using an at-home model paired with safe practices throughout its supply chain. LexJet is dedicated to total convenience and personal customer service for its vast line of digital color imaging products.
Lintec of America is a manufacturer of pressure-sensitive films for visual marking signage and architectural window applications. It specializes in optically clear frosted and textured films for display POP and window graphics. Its newest product offerings include an 80 percent recycled content optically clear UV inkjet printable polyester window graphic material and a polyester-based matte overlaminate.
Mactac supplied media for wall, window, as well as floor graphics throughout the country during the pandemic. They are used for applications such as social distancing reminders, mandatory mask signage, and face shield assembly. Keeping everyone safe is top of mind especially when creating PermaGard Shield antimicrobial overlaminates.
Magnum Magnetics is U.S. manufacturer of flexible magnetic sheeting, strip, and custom profiles. It offers printable magnetic sheeting for multiple printing presses including offset, flexographic, inkjet, and digital. The company takes the time to understand an application before recommending a magnetic solution.
Headquartered in Germany, Marabu North America draws on more than 160 years of experience in developing inks and coatings. Its product line includes MaraJet digital printing inks, UltraJet UV-curable inks, ClearShield water-based coatings, the StarLam liquid laminator, and Marashield UV-curable coatings.
Founded in 1976, employee-owned and located in Castle Rock, CO, Master Magnetics, Inc. features an extensive line of sign holding magnetic assemblies, printable magnetic and magnetic-receptive sheeting, and magnetic strip. Ideal for sign making, vehicle graphics, and POP displays.
Mimaki USA, Inc. is a global industry leader of wide format inkjet printers, cutting plotters, three-dimensional (3D) modeling machines, software, hardware, and associated consumable items such as inks and cutting blades. The company engineers and manufactures a complete range of products that attain the total workflow solution for sign graphics, textile and apparel, industrial products, and 3D markets.
MultiCam is proud to serve the global manufacturing industry for over 30 years, delivering high-quality products using American made steel, components, and people. MultiCam has delivered over 14,000 machines, each made to order and built to last. Its product portfolio includes CNC router, digital cutter, laser, plasma, and waterjet cutting machines.
Mutoh America, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of wide and small format printers and plotting cutters. The printers are known for their Smart Printing Technologies, print speeds, and quality. Models are available in eco-solvent, UV LED, dye-sublimation (dye-sub), and direct to textile. Whether you’re looking to print custom vehicle wraps, apparel, banners, signage, gift, and promotional products or packaging prototypes, Mutoh has a printer to fit your needs.
Nekoosa is a manufacturer of specialty print media, offering pressure-sensitive films and cling media, polyester synthetic papers, application tapes and premasks, carbonless papers, and extruded films. It provides an array of products for promotional applications, including signage for windows, walls, and floors that can be printed across all types of printing platforms.
Newlife Magnetics is a flexible magnet and print media manufacturer specializing in wide format magnetic media including printable magnet sheeting up to 60 inches wide. The Platinum line of magnetic-receptive print media offers high quality at a low price. Its Cling King Spider Mat is becoming the industry standard for countertop displays and graphics.
Onyx Graphics is focused on its worldwide customer base. This was especially true during 2020, including free educational webinars to fine tune ONYX skills; ONYX TruFit for automated nesting and media savings for any RIP environment; and ONYX 21, providing practical, easy-to-use tools print shops can use today.
Orafol Americas Inc., a subsidiary of ORAFOL Europe GmbH, is a leading global manufacturer of premium vinyl graphic products, reflective solutions, and adhesive tape systems used in signage, graphics, industrial, and traffic and safety applications. The company’s distribution network spans the Caribbean, Canada, Latin America, and the U.S.
For over 20 years, Que Media, Inc. has grown to become a distinguished global coating manufacturer of aqueous, solvent/eco-solvent, and latex digital print media for display graphics, point of sale advertising, and photo reproduction. Its expertise has been most influential in the wide format and color laser industries.
To help customers and the industry navigate these unprecedented times, Ricoh Americas Corporation takes an alliance-building approach that enables customers to simplify today’s complexities while expanding their application set. From production systems that produce PPE to a library of high-resolution social distancing artwork available for download.
Roland DGA Corporation’s digital imaging technologies help print providers adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 and meet the widespread demand for health and safety graphics. The company’s Social Distancing Signage Solutions—customizable packages built around the TrueVIS VG2-540 printer/cutter—make the production of COVID-related graphics simple and cost effective.
SA International (SAi) is recognized as a global leader in providing complete, professional solutions for the sign making, digital printing, and CNC machining industries. Whether you’re looking to create signage, vehicle wraps, or 3D signage, SAi has the right software.
Signs365 is a grand format, trade-only wholesale printer. It offers a variety of high-quality, full-color printed materials to suit any need. 24 Hour Production and $10 Overnight Anywhere shipping are standard on all orders.
StratoJet USA’s mission is to build the very best printers you will use for years and to make and save money. This year times have been difficult for our communities, and we are here for them with the StratoJet Print Rescue Program offering zero percent interest on any printer with a six-month payment holiday.
Summa is a manufacturer and supplier of high-end, quality vinyl roll cutters, flatbed cutters, and laser cutters. The company is a driving force behind several COVID-19 initiatives and deployed its machines to cut protective materials to supplement shortages locally in Belgium and in Boston, MA at its Summa America office. Summa also inspired dealers and end users to do the same within their local communities.
Supply55, Inc. is a leading manufacturer and distributor of workflow products for the digital printing segment of sign, screen, graphic arts, exhibit, home décor, corporate identity, and athletic apparel.
swissQprint is a manufacturer of high-end large format printers. The UV LED inkjet printers are 100 percent Swiss made. swissQprint offers both true flatbed printers with a roll-to-roll option as well as a dedicated roll-to-roll printer.
Tekra serves the digital marketplace with plastic films for HP Indigo, toner-based, solvent inkjet, UV inkjet, and latex inkjet printers. During 2020, while continuing to serve the digital market, Tekra pivoted a part of its business to provide plastic films for face shields and other PPE products to do its part during this global pandemic.
Trotec Laser is a leading international provider of advanced, high-speed laser equipment for cutting, engraving, and industrial marking. Trotec was originally founded in Wels, Austria in 1997 and established in the U.S. in MS in 2002. Now headquartered in Plymouth, MI, the U.S. business has grown to ten times its original size, with a number of support facilities located throughout the U.S.
TVF is a leading international supplier of print media, apparel, and home furnishings textiles to the digital printing community. It offers a complete line of polyester and cotton textiles engineered for digital printing. TVF provides solutions for dye-sub, latex, direct disperse, UV, and digital pigment printing for soft signage, apparel, and home furnishings.
Ultraflex Systems, Inc. is a global leader, supplier, and preferred partner developing and delivering high-performing, digitally printable textiles and flexible substrates. Its ever-expanding media portfolio includes front lit, backlit, blockout, mesh, textiles, and flooring, ranging from 30- to 198-inch widths for solvent, eco-solvent, latex, UV, screen, and dye-sub printing.
Zünd, the leading manufacturer of digital flatbed cutting systems, offers multifunctional cutters/routers with numerous tools and automated material-handling options for processing substrates up ten feet wide. Designed for maximum versatility and modularity, G3/S3 and dual-beam D3 cutters are powered by ZÜnd Cut Center.
In addition to the Top 50 winners, we wanted to honor ten additional companies in the space in alphabetical order.
3A Composites acquired the Elmer’s and EnCore foamboard division from Newell Brands, broadening its product offering to display, graphic arts, and framing. It endeavors to be an industry-leading supplier with a range of products by combining the knowledge and expertise of both companies. The integrated FOME-COR Collection is foam boards with a variety of high-quality, specialized facers. INFO# 223
Colex Imaging, Inc.’s customers produced COVID-19 products on the Colex Sharpcut Flatbed Cutter including protective face shields, masks, floor graphics, sneeze guards, dividers, and signage for hospitals, nursing homes, government facilities, universities, schools, airlines, banks, and restaurants. INFO# 224
Condé is a leader in the digital transfer market and offers everything needed to get into the custom imprinting business including transfer systems, software, blank imprintables, transfer paper and supplies, and instructional videos. INFO# 225
Displays2Go remains committed to helping businesses reopen, and stay open, safely—and to come back stronger than ever. From acrylic sneeze shields to digital body temperature scanners, it is thankful to quickly produce and offer a continuous supply of the essentials the greater business community needs most, today. INFO# 226
DreamScape is a leading manufacturer of digitally printable wallcoverings. In response to strong demands for social distance signage, it developed two new products that are ideal for floors, counters, and of course walls. Dreamscape Wall + Floor Wraps are durable three-ply vinyls that require no lamination, and have certified slip resistance. INFO# 227
Gans is a one-stop solutions company. In the digital world, it specializes in perforated window vinyl and is the exclusive provider of dual-liner Holographic Window Perf, as well as other high-end products, such as SENFA fabrics, ten year SRT car wrap vinyl, and backlit films. INFO# 228
ImagineThis is a premiere large format and out-of-home digital print shop. It specializes in going large. Whether you are looking for large quantity orders or the largest outdoor graphics, ImagineThis delivers with the highest quality and quickest turnaround at competitive pricing. The company prides itself in meeting customers’ large format printing needs. INFO# 229
Nazdar is a manufacturer of the most comprehensive selection of UV curing, water- and solvent-based screen printing, inkjet, and narrow web inks obtainable from a single source. INFO# 230
Photo Tex Group Inc. is the exclusive distributor for Photo Tex polyester self-adhesive removable inkjet fabric. Photo Tex does not shrink, rip, or wrinkle in any climate and can be easily removed, reused, and re-positioned. The Opaque/Block Out and S-High Tack (also floors) versions work great on no, low volatile organic compounds, eggshell paints, and semi-textured walls. Fire rated and non-toxic. INFO# 231
When the pandemic first reached our shores, many hospitals were severely short on PPE. S. Walter started to furlough employees at its paper and box converting plant, when it realized its CNC cutters could be put to good use by making face shields. To date, it’s provided three million face shields and are still producing them in house. INFO# 232
Cheers to the Honorees
Be sure to visit DOdirect.net throughout the year and request information on vendors and their products. You decide the Reader’s Choice Top 50.
Feb2021, Digital Output