More than 45 sources of rigid print media.
Ironically, the increased choices of rigid media available to print providers—and the related print technologies—have enabled print shops to be even more flexible in the types of jobs they take on and the variety of products they can produce. Plus, printing on rigid has simplified the printing and post-printing processes, cutting production time. The result from all of this: some very positive return on investment.
Finding the best rigid media, however, is not always the easiest task. Although there are far fewer suppliers of rigid versus standard vinyl, the number of sources and choices continue to grow. To help you narrow your selection, The Big Picture has compiled a list of manufacturers and exclusive distributors of print-ready rigid media that is at least 24-inches wide. More than 45 companies are listed here; keep in mind that, due to space, we typically only provide a sampling of a company’s rigid roster.
The Acriglas Clear Impressions line, designed to reproduce the look of patterned glass, is crystal clear and carries textures on one or both sides of the sheet. Nine new textures available (18 total) include: Brushed, Woven Silk, Mesozoic, Precambrian, Box Mini-Flute, Waffle Iron, Techno, and Morning Dew. Offered in standard sizes of 4 x 6 ft and in thicknesses from 1/8- to ½-in.
The company’s Eco Advantage rigid media line includes: HD Board (made from 92% recycled material, FSC-certified) available in 48 x 96-in. sheets in 3/8- or 1/2-in. thicknesses; Outdoor Board (with printable white paper liner, FSC-certified) available in 49 x 72-in. sheets in 0.55-in. thicknesses; Earthboard (100% recycled content, compostable, biodegradable) available in 40 x 60-in. sheets in 0.80-in. thicknesses; and Eco Styrene (biodegradable, high-impact) available in 48 x 96-in. sheets in 0.2-, 0.3-, or 0.6-in.thicknesses.
Available in a wide variety of thicknesses and sheet sizes, Plexiglas acrylic sheets and Tuffak polycarbonate sheets can be wide-format inkjet printed.
American Fiber Technologies
FiberBrite comprises a line of fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) panels, all of which are compatible with solvent and UV-curable flatbed digital printing. The panels, available in a variety of sizes, sheets, and thicknesses, include: FiberBrite Original, ValuePlus, Survivor, and TuffStuff.
The photoluminescent PermaLight rigid media (PVC or aluminum) can be used with solvent and UV-curable flatbed printers. Available in various thicknesses in glossy or matte finishes.
The company’s inkjet-printable Fine Art Metals, designed for fine-art applications, are aluminum and gold coated with an inkjet-receptive clear gloss. Available in a five finishes—Brushed Silver, Matte Silver, Satin Silver, Satin Gold, and Satin White—the metals are produced in sizes from 8.5 x 11 to 20 x 60 in., and in thicknesses of 0.005, 0.012, 0.016, and 0.020 in.
Offers its line of CV rigid vinyl (non-plasticized) media in various sizes and thicknesses. Gloss and matte finishes available.
Precision Board High Temperature (PBHT) and Low Temperature (PBLT) Urethane boards can be digitally printed using inkjet. Available in thicknesses from ½- to 20 in. and in sheets 20 x 60 in. to 5 x 10 ft.
Offers Enviroboard MR (Moisture Resistant) rigid boards designed as a multi-ply alternative to traditional foamboard and corrugated plastic boards. Printable on both sides. Available in 48 x 96-in. sheets for flatbed UV printing applications in 3-, 3.5-, and 4.7-mm thicknesses.
Compatible with most solvent-based printing systems, CoolFlex Rigid is a 15-mil (custom thicknesses available) rigid PVC sheet that’s engineered for Tri-Vision boards, kiosks, transit shelters, and tradeshow displays. Available in 48 in. x 150-lb rolls.
Its 14-mil rigid vinyl is available in gloss white or translucent in 38- and 50-in.-wide rolls and is compatible with solvent and mild-solvent inks.
Re-board sandwich board is a 100% recyclable indoor/outdoor board with craft liner; water-resistant and flame-retardant (upon request); available in various thicknesses and sizes. Out-board, designed for outdoor applications, is a polymer-laminated, paper board-based composite material, which provides a water vapor barrier. Available in sheets: 50 x 70 in. (other sizes on request) and 720 mµ thick. Distributed in US by ZN Production Company (znprodco.com).
Decorative Panels International
GreenCore Rigid Print Media (RPM) is a two-sided, ultra-smooth board designed for UV-curable as well as dye-sub printing. Made from raw materials, the media is biodegradable. Available in matte finish in 1/8- and 1/4-in. thicknesses in 4 x 8-ft sheets.
Its MightyCore is a solid-center foam board that features an extra rigid core, ultra-smooth surface, easy cutting, and a chemical-free construction. Available in ¼- and ½-in. thicknesses and in white, black-on-black, white-on-black, and white-black-black. The MightyPrint Expressions line combines the MightyCore rigidity with various finishes, including glossy, canvas, and premier kraft; available in ¼-in. thickness and various sizes. FoamBoard, available in white and black-on-black versions, features a polystyrene core and ultra-smooth surface; in thicknesses from 1/8- to ½-in. and various sizes. PilloCore is a crushable foam board for adding rigidity to P-O-P displays and standees, and is especially designed for die-cutting; 3/18-in. in various sizes. Encore formerly carried the Bienfang Products name.)
Ireland-based Foamalite’s products are foamed PVC sheets. Available standard without coating or with polyethylene masking on one side, Foamalite offers a smooth finish for use as P-O-P displays and signage panels and is available in thicknesses from 1 to 19-mm in a range of colors. Gilman Brothers (gilmanbrothers.com) is the master US distributor.
Gilman Brothers offers many foamboards that can be directly printed using solvent and UV-curable inkjets. The boards are available in a variety of thicknesses (1/16- to 3 in.), sizes (up to 48 x 192 in.), densities, and surfaces. All feature the Reveal extruded polystyrene foam center.
InSite Reveal has a bright-white paper exterior over memory foam; also available with adhesive-coated or acid-free liners. Insite Biodegradable is a standard, paper-faced memory foamboard with Gilman’s biodegradable rigid foam center and SFI-certified paper liners. InSite Polycoated offers a polyethylene-coated paper surface that creates a barrier to moisture and humidity.
Hartman offers a line of HartBoard substrates that can be used with pigment or dye-based aqueous, solvent, and UV-curable inks.
A printable clay-coated, foam-centered board, HartBoard offers either a satin or matte surface, thickness of 1/8 or 3/16 in., and is available in sheets up to 48 x 96 in. Harty is a 1/4-in., ultra-rigid, clay-coated, foam-centered board available in sheets up to 48 x 96 in. and now in a brighter white. HartLite, Hartman’s acid-free, environmentally friendly foamboard, is available in 1/8- or 3/16-in. thicknesses in sheets up to 48 x 96 in. Other printable foamboards include color-coated HartCote (3/16-in.-thick and up to 40 x 60-in. sheets), and an all-plastic HartPlus with a smooth white surface (1/4-in. thick in 48 x 96-in. sheets).
AlumaJet is an inkjet-printable aluminum that can be used with water-based dye and pigment inks. Sheets range up to 20 x 24-in. and thicknesses of 0.005, 0.012, and 0.020 in. In matte, satin, and brushed finishes.
Imaging Alternatives features SmartGrain inkjet-printable wood veneer. Compatible with most aqueous, solvent, or mild-solvent inks, the wood veneer is 0.018-in. thick and comes in sheets up to 24 x 30 in. Custom-sized sheets up to 55-in. wide are available.
Its IntePro sheets are either extruded polypropylene or high-density polyethylene. Designed to be more durable than corrugated fiberboard and lighter than wood or solid plastic sheets, they can be used for indoor and outdoor graphic-art signage applications including signs and P-O-P displays. Available with a conical flute or X-flute, which offers a smoother, more rigid printing surface, in 48 x 96-in. sheets in various thicknesses and colors. Its InteFoam expanded PVC foamboard for P-O-P displays and signage can be heat bent, routed, laminated, and pressure- or vacuum-formed into many shapes; available in 48 x 96-in. sheets in various thicknesses and colors.
Features a range of PVC rigid media. Its Ex-cel line of PVC rigid media includes Ex-cel Pro, specifically designed for digital printing with a closed-cell structure and featuring a bright-white, smooth, matte finish; available in thicknesses from 3-10 mm in 48 x 96-in. sheets. Ex-cel Rigid is extruded from environmentally friendly compounds and has a smooth, glossy finish. It is available in gray or white in thicknesses from 2 to 12.7 mm in 39 x 79 (gray) or 48 x 96-in. (white) sheets.
Kapco Graphic Products
Rigid substrates include 14-mil Gloss White and 14-mil Translucent White rigid vinyls, which are compatible with solvent and mild-solvent inks.
Kömatex is a lightweight, closed-cell, free-foam, rigid PVC sheet with a matte finish and is available in a range of thicknesses, sheet sizes, and colors. Kömacel Plus is a PVC foam sheet with a semi-rough surface that gives the finished digital print an aged look. Also available in an embossed version, the lightweight substrate can be used for indoor and outdoor applications and is available in 10-, 13-, 16-, and 19-mm thicknesses and a sheet size of 48 x 96; 48 x 120 size sheets are available on request.
KömAlu is a 3 mm printable sheet designed for outdoor applications with a lifespan of five years; comprising two aluminum sheets sandwiching a polyethylene core, it features a durable surface for both interior and exterior uses. Sheets are available in 2 mm 48 x 96 white/white; 3 mm 60 x 12 gloss white/matte white; and 3 mm 48 x 96 white/black.
New is Omega TerraMax, an eco-friendly, lightweight composite board specifically designed for digital printing. It features a honeycomb core, smooth, double-sided, white surface, and is available in 10-mm thicknesses in 4 x 8-ft sheets. Alumalite features a corrugated plastic core, and double-sided aluminum for stability and strength, while Econolite is similar to Alumalite, but only has one finished side. Omega-Bond panels are rigid, lightweight, and feature double-sided painted aluminum bonded to a solid polyethylene core, designed to prevent bowing, warping, swelling, and de-lamination.
Pro-Lite comprises painted aluminum faces bonded to a 10-mm corrugated plastic core that is resistant to water and UV light. Omega-EP is a durable, lightweight, economical expanded PVC graphic board with dent and scratch resistance. The lightweight 3-mm D-Lite panels comprise a high-gloss aluminum surface bonded to a corrugated plastic core and are available in 12 colors.
Polyguard has a double-sided polyethylene coating designed for temporary outdoor applications. It is available in 0.024 and 0.05-in. thicknesses in various sheet sizes. Thru White has a smooth clay coating, is bright white on both sides, and 100% recyclable. Designed for indoor retail signage it is available in thicknesses up to 0.1-in. thicknesses in sheets up to 48 x 96-in. sheets. Earthboard has a white, clay coating on both sides, can be UV printed, is composed of 35% post-consumer waste, and is 100% recyclable. Available in 0.050-in. and 0.080-in. thicknesses in 48 x 96-in. sheets.
Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America
Its Graphic-al line of rigid media includes:
Graphic-al OR has the rigidity of an aluminum composite material with a thinner, 0.005-in. aluminum skin and a foamed plastic core. Available in 48 x 96-in. sheets in 3-mm thicknesses.
Graphic-al DP is similar to OR but is specifically engineered for flatbed printing and UV-curable inks. 48 x 96-in. sheets; 3mm thick; can be cut with a saw, substrate cutter/router. White only.
Graphic-al LT comprises two skins of 0.010-in.-thick aluminum and polyethylene core. Top and back surfaces are polyester coatings; both sides are covered with transparent protective film. The 48 x 96-in. sheets are available in five colors.
Note: The company suggests pre-testing the LT and OR products prior to printing.
UK-based Multiplanel offers Alupanel Digital, an aluminum composite specifically designed for digital printing with a specially developed coating on both sides for improved ink adhesion; available in 48 x 96-in. sheets (2- and 3mm thicknesses). Hollow Core features a polypropylene core sandwiched with 0.3-mm aluminum with various strength and bending stiffness; in 48 x 96-, 120-, and 160-in. sheets (various thicknesses). Featuring a removable masking to protect its one smooth, printable side, Foam PVC is available in 1 to 6-, 8-, 10-, and 13-mm thicknesses and various sheet sizes and colors. MDF/Plywood features excellent strength combined with a flat surface, and is available in 1 to 30-mm thicknesses in 48 x 60- and 96 x 120-in. sheets. Various US distributors.
Its SolvoPrint Easy Panel line of rigid PVC media is designed for use with solvent, eco-solvent, and UV inks (available in 8.7-, 12- and 17-mil versions). Also available is Printlux Easy Panel for aqueous dye and pigmented inks (12- and 17-mil versions). All are designed to produce excellent print quality and strong color vibrancy; they also have high scratch and water-resistant properties. Available in 30-, 36-, 42-, and 54-in. widths, depending on product.
Its Converd by Neschen line includes Enviroboard MR (Moisture Resistant) rigid boards. Printable on both sides; available in 48 x 96-in. sheets for flatbed UV printing applications in 3-, 3.5-, and 4.7-mm thicknesses.
Its inkjet-printable products include Poly-Metal, a 3-mm or 6-mm thick aluminum on a polyethylene core comes in a variety of colors finishes in 4 x 8-, 4 x 10-, and 5 x 10-ft sheets; AlumaCorr, a co-polymer core with a laminated 0.015-in. aluminum surface on both sides and available in various sizes and thicknesses; and White-Wood, a white PVC vinyl laminated to wood on one or both sides, is available in 1/8-, ¼-, 3/8-, ½-, and ¾-in. thicknesses in 4 x 8 or 4 x 10-ft sheets; Poly-Scribe is co-extruded as one piece of plastic and available in 1/8- and 1/4-in. thicknesses and 4 x 8-ft panels in various colors. Nu-Alum is a pre-finished panel with a baked-enamel, polyester, wax-free coatingavailable in 14-, ½-, and ¾-in. thicknesses in 4 x 8- or 4 x 10-ft sheets.
Palight Premium is a foamed PVC sheet specifically designed for digital printing (as well as screen printing), and is suitable for use with UV-cured, solvent-based, and aqueous inks. Features a bright-white, smooth, and uniform surface; available in matte or gloss finish, several colors.
Available in 4 x 8-, 5 x 8-, and 6 x 8-ft sheets; in thicknesses from 0.40- to 0.984-in. Various stock/standard colors plus an array of Designer Colors.
Also available are: Palight GPS; PalSun, a polycarbonate sheet available in various finishes, in either transparent or translucent colors and in sheets in 4 x 8, 5 x 8, 6 x 8 ft. in thicknesses between 0.04 to 0.5 in.; PalGlas, an extruded acrylic sheet in either clear or sign white and in sheet sizes of 4 x 8 ft and thicknesses of 0.093 to 0.22 in.
Its Eco-Finish rigid print media is an eco-friendly board that’s 99-percent formaldehyde free. It comprises biodegradable and recyclable DPI GreenCore rigid print media with a water-based coating. The combination results in a bright-white, smooth surface specially formulated for high-definition digital printing, the company says. Compatible with aqueous and UV inks (as well as soy); Panel Processing says that the product should be compatible with solvent inks but testing is recommended prior to print work (the company will supply test panels on request). Standard sheet size is 4 x 8 feet; other sizes available.
Features several acrylic media, including its new Optix DA, an acrylic sheet specifically designed for digital flated UV printers so no adhesion promoters are needed prior to ink application. Available in a variety of sizes and thicknesses.
Polyproplyene Multi-Wall sheets are designed for outdoor and indoor signage, displays, and packaging. The substrate is also recyclable.
New is Falconboard Build, a paper-based graphic display board, structurally engineered for three-dimensional P-O-P applications. It maintains similar characteristics as standard Falconboard, a 100% paper-based, recyclable product made from renewable resources (up to 40% recycled fiber content minimum). It features an engineered paper core and water-based adhesives, coupled with a white printing surface. Produced chlorofluorocarbon-free, it emits zero VOCs during manufactur¬ing, and has been designed to be a “green” alternative to foam boards made from polyethylene, polystyrene, or polyvinylchloride. The board accommodates most inks and adhesives and is offered in eight standard thicknesses, from 1/4- to 4 in.; standard sheet sizes are 48 x 96 up to 60 x 120 in. (custom sizes also available). Both media are UV and inkjet compatible.
KromaPlex, a reverse-printable polycarbonate, is backed with 10-mil white, opaque, rigid backer film; it's compatible with solvent- and mild-solvent printers.
Offers a variety of rigid products compatible with solvent, UV-curable, and aqueous inks. Rigid products include Lexan and polyester films, as well as matte or gloss 10-mil, semi-rigid vinyls with permanent adhesives. Also offers various rigid media for non-illuminated signs and P-O-P displays.
Sihl Digital Imaging
Sihl’s line of DuraSol Rigid PVC are all designed for eco-solvent, solvent, and UV-curable inkjet inks: The company’s DuraSol Heavy 450 is an 18-mil satin coated, and tear-resistant rigid PVC film with a waterfast coating for solvent inks; it has a cardboard-like feel and is well-suited for pop-up displays and tradeshow graphics.
Produces a variety of inkjet-compatible products, including Rejuven8 Plus, a PLA plastic made from renewable sources such as corn. Also available is Valiant, a high-impact polystyrene sheet product specifically engineered for the graphic-arts market; Part of the company’s Green Initiative program, it boasts superior toughness, tear resistance, and is designed to meet the embossing, die cutting, lamination, and printing needs of the P-O-P market. Other media include: VPI 41- and 42-series polypropylene; VPI 55-Series APET; VPI 65-series and Spectar PETG; UltraTuf CXand VPI 10-, 12-, and 16-series HIPS.
Available in more than 95 faux designs, Texture Plus is a molded, high-density polymer with a water-based acrylic finish compatible with either solvent or UV-curable inks. The 1/2-in. thick, 2 x 4-ft panels come in standard or interlocking styles.
Formerly Alcan, the manufacturer offers several rigid substrates for direct-print with large-format printers. Its newest addition, Omni-Flute, is a recyclable polypropylene sheet designed for short-term signage and P-O-P displays. It features a smooth, treated surface that accepts direct digital printing and repositionable vinyl, and can be die- or knife-cut. Available in bright white, black, and natural (clear) colors; various sizes.
e-panel, an aluminum composite material (ACM) made of two pre-painted sheets of 0.008-in. aluminum with a solid polyethylene core. Masked on both sides, it’s suitable for direct digital print, and can be saw cut, routed, or punched. In 2-mm white (4 x 8-ft sheets), 3-mm white (4 x 8-, 5 x 10-ft sheets), and 4-mm white (4 x 8-ft sheets).
Alucobond ACM consists of two smooth 0.020-in. aluminum facers thermobonded to various thicknesses of polyethylene forming a prefinished panel. In 3-, 4-, and 6-mm thick sheets up to 62 x 196 in., and in various colors and finishes.
Dibond consists of two sheets of 0.012-in. aluminum bonded to a polyethylene core. Pre-painted with a polyester finish, it’s available in 2-, 3-, and 4-mm thicknesses and in sizes up to 60 x 120 in. and is compatible with solvent and UV-curable printers.
Sintra is a lightweight, rigid, expanded PVC board with a low-gloss, matte finish. It’s available in a wide range of thicknesses—from 1 to 13 mm—and in various colors and sheet sizes. For faster printing speeds, Sintra Print-Optimized versions are available in 3- and 6-mm thicknesses.
Gatorfoam, polystyrene foam between Luxcell wood-fiber veneer liners, is available for direct printing in sheets up to 60 x 120 in. and 3/16- to 2-in. thick. Also offered is Gatorplast, a 3/16- to 1/2-in. thick extruded polystyrene foam core laminated on both sides with high-impact polystyrene.
Fome-Cor, a foam-centered board with clay-coated paper liners, is available in stock sheets up to 60 x 96 and 48 x 120 in. It can be digitally printed directly using water-based, solvent, or UV-curable inks. Polystyrene-based Fome-Cor JetMount board has a higher density, is more rigid, and is specifically designed for direct printing and mounting of digital images.
Foam-X, a polystyrene foamboard with clay-coated paper liners, is a recovery board that retains its shape (producing an open edge) when die cut. Available in 3/16-in. thickness and up to 48 x 96-in sheets.
Structa-Board comprises an extruded polystyrene core that’s denser than Fome-Cor, and lightweight, man-made, wood-fiber veneer facers that offer the strength and rigidity of Gatorfoam. With a bright-white face and black polystyrene interior, it comes in 48 x 96-in. boards that are 3/16-in. thick.
A lightweight structural panel featuring a kraft paper honeycomb core with a high strength-to-weight ratio, Tripanel is a recyclable alternative to foam boards for tradeshow and P-O-P displays, indoor signage, and more. Available in a choice of 50-pt. fiberboard skins—foil laminated or clay-coated white—and in ½-, ¾-, 1-, and 1 1/2-in. thicknesses in 49 x 97-in. sheets. For various formations, Tripanel is available in angles of 15, 30, and 180 degrees in 1/2- and ¾-in. thicknesses. Compatible with most inks, Tricel reports.
Compatible with UV-curable and many solvent-based inks, UltraStyrene Opaque is a 20-pt rigid plastic (polystyrene) best suited for front-lit signs due to its structure and opacity. This product can be custom made up to 30 pt. and in widths up to 60 in. Accepts UV, solvent, eco-solvent, and screenprinting inks.
UltraStyrene Translucent is available in a 14-pt. and 18-pt. thicknesses. It is a rigid, plastic material (polystyrene) best suited for back-lit signs. This product can also be custom made up to 30 pt. and in various widths up to 60 in. Accepts UV, solvent, eco-solvent, and screenprinting inks.
United Industries offers several rigid substrates with extruded foam cores that are compatible with UV-curable inks. Specifically for flatbed printers, Ultra White DP is a lightweight, heavy-duty, bright-white, 18-pt., poly-coated, kraft paper-lined foam board with a dense extruded polystyrene foam core. It can be cut by hand, saw, or with razor cutters. Standard sheet size is 48 x 96 in. (increasing soon to 60 x 120 in.) with a standard thickness of 3/16-, ½-, ¾-, and 1 in.
Ultra Board is a heavy-duty, all-plastic foamboard with a high-impact polystyrene surface. Thicknesses from 3/16- to 3 in., comes in white or black surface colors; available in sheets up to 48 x 120 in.
With a white core and white surfaces, Ultra Plus is an all-plastic polystyrene foamboard between two layers of expanded PVC liner. Thicknesses from ¼- to 3 in.; in sheets up to 48 x 120 in.
Ultra Mount is a foamboard with poly-coated, 18-pt., kraft paper liners. Available in white or black and in thicknesses from 3/16- to 1 in., in 48 x 96-in. sheets. Also available in Peel N Stick, which comes coated on one side with high-tack, pressure-sensitive adhesive.
Ultra Aluminum Face is foamboard with an anodized aluminum face. Available in brushed or polished gold and chrome, as well as acrylic baked white finishes; white and black foam cores. Thicknesses from 3/16- to 3 in., and sheet sizes up to 48 x 96 in.
Available in standard as well as ‘Peel N Stick’ versions, Ultra Core is a 3/16-in. foamboard with a 12-pt. clay-coated paper face in white or black colors in 48 x 96-in. sheets; ‘Peel N Stick’ available in 10 pre-cut sizes from 8 x 10-in. to 48 x 96-in.
Celtec is a foamed PVC sheet for high-strength, lightweight applications. The smooth, satin-finished sheets are available in a range of sizes (48 x 96 in. up to 72 x 120 in. in selected gauges), thicknesses (from 1 to 30 mm), and 10 colors (available thicknesses vary). Digital and screenprint receptive; die-cutable.
Celtec Ultra White is a solid rigid PVC substrate designed for outdoor applications where resistance to UV is critical. Printable (digital and screen), it features a durable, smooth, gloss finish. Thermoformable and die-cutable. Available in 2-, 3-, and 6-mm thicknesses and in 48 x 96-in. sheets.
Optimized for UV flatbed printers, X-Board Print is a versatile, lightweight board for short-term displays and structures. X-Board’s high crush-strength paper core is manufactured from post-consumer recycled paper and sugarcane waste. Panels can be UV inkjet printed direct or decorative laminates can be applied over the board. Available in 10-, 12-, 16-, 20-, and 32-mm thick sheets and sizes up to 48 x 120 in.
Offers rigid vinyls, polystyrene, and high impact polystyrene in various sizes, thicknesses, finishes, and colors. Xcel's product roster comprises 50% post-industrial content polystyrene. Other rigid, printable substrates include styrene, a rigid PVC, polyester-PET, APET, and PETG.