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Rigid Proliferation

(October 2009) posted on Thu Oct 29, 2009

Print providers have more options than ever when choosing a rigid media.

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Before the proliferation of flatbed printers, utilizing rigid substrates in a job was a much more labor-intensive process. Typically, graphics were printed on vinyl and these graphics were then adhered to the substrate and then laminated. Any damage or imperfections during the process typically meant that images required a shop to back through the entire printing, mounting, and laminating process.

Of course, as the capabilities increase for rigid media, so does demand—and with the number of options out there, to help shops narrow their 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. Nearly 40 companies are listed here; keep in mind that, due to space, we have only provided a sampling of each company’s rigid roster; visit the company’s website for more information.

The Acriglas Clear Impressions line is designed to reproduce the look of patterned glass, is crystal clear, and carry textures on one or both sides of the sheet. Nine new textures are available (18 total): 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 1/2-in. Also available: Acriglas Metallic and Neon Lights substrates.

Advantage Distribution
The company’s Eco Advantage rigid media line includes: HD Board (made from 92% recycled material, FSC-certified), Outdoor Board (with printable white paper liner, FSC-certified), Earthboard (100% recycled content, compostable, biodegradable), and Eco Styrene (biodegradable, high-impact).

Alcan Composites
Alcan Composites offers several rigid substrates for direct-print with large-format printers, including its newest addition, e-panel, an aluminum composite material (ACM) made of two pre-painted sheets of .008-in. aluminum with a solid polyethylene core. Masked on both sides, e-panel is suitable for direct digital print, and can be saw cut, routed, or punched. Available 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 .020-in. aluminum facers thermobonded to various thicknesses of polyethylene forming a prefinished panel. Available in 3-, 4-, and 6-mm thick sheets up to 62 x 196 in., and in various colors and finishes.