Magazine Article


Finishing the Job
Finishing services add value to digitally printed images, signage, and displays

Output providers continue to look for new finishing solutions to help them provide the latest product and service solutions to meet their clients' needs.

Finishing has been a popular product service in imaging labs for decades and continues to have a stronger appeal in today’s marketplace. The benefits for finishing are key. It provides protection and added life to an image, modification of the look or presentation of the image, as well as repurposing the image for a plethora of new applications in the marketplace.  

From laminators to cutters to mounting board to films and overlaminates, there's a slew of products to help photo labs finish the job. Let's take a look at a sampling of the current crop of finishing products; many of these were on display at last month’s SGIA show in Atlanta.


At SGIA 2008, GBC featured the GBC 2064WF-1 system for laminating and mounting graphics up to 64-inches wide. Designed for high-productivity digital environments, the 2064WF-1 operates at speeds up to 18 feet per minute and utilizes swing-out supply shafts for easy loading and unloading. The 2064WF-1 laminator features a patented safety system that eliminates dangers to fingers while maintaining control of graphics and providing smooth output. Control panels are located on both sides of the laminator for convenient bi-directional operation. With multiple rollers, the 2064WF-1 can run thermal and pressure-sensitive finishing jobs consecutively to create a wide range of applications. Incremental selections on the control panel allow the 2064WF-1 to provide optimal pressure for all film gauges and board thicknesses. At SGIA, the laminator ran a write-erase application utilizing GBC's Arctic Write Erase film and GBC SurePrint Adhesive-back Vinyl. This application then was mounted to GBC's flexible Magnetic Stock.

Quality Media & Laminating Solutions offers a complete line of laminators, from an economical single-heat 62-inch Quality 64TLX model to an 80-inch AGL dual-heat model. The Quality 64TLX is designed for the "sign and wrap" market and features a top-heated roller, three unwind shafts, and two rewind shafts. The second rewind shaft can take up laminated output instead of having it fall to the floor. Quality also sells and services the AGL line of professional laminators known for their heavy-duty build quality. AGL laminators are available in 62- and 80-inch models with no heat, single-heat, and dual-heat capabilities.

SEAL's 62 Pro D laminator is a top choice for print-finishing requirements in volume production environments. Capable of finishing images up to 61-inches wide, at speeds up to 20 fpm, the SEAL 62 Pro D offers standard features like dual-heated high-release silicone rollers with variable temperature, a 1.5-inch (max) adjustable nip, flip-up pull rollers, a swing-up feed table, multiple drop-in style "combi" supply/unwind shafts, ergonomic controls, and roll-to-roll operation.

Drytac showcased a number of new products at SGIA, including the JetMounter JM54 SHA. The JetMounter JM54 SHA motorized laminator is engineered by Drytac to deliver a combination of performance and value unequalled in the finishing industry. Compatible with any pressure-sensitive overlaminating film, JetMounters are also ideal for permanently mounting graphics onto cardstock, foam board, MDF rigid, and PVC board.

Drytac's new VersaCoater UV XL offers a high-speed finishing solution for just pennies a square foot. With no VOCs, INSTACure UV-curable coatings offer an earth-friendly solution consistent with today's greener printing requirements. The new compact design offers 33% of the footprint of competitive models; coats to the full width of the machine; and has a process speed up to 100+ fpm (33mpm).


Alcan Composites USA has expanded its Dibond Metal Series graphic display-board line with three new rich metallic shades designed to broaden designers' choices when creating premium displays. The three new colors--Dibond Brushed Copper, Dibond Brushed Bronze, and Dibond Brushed Stainless--have been added to the Dibond Metal Series that previously had featured Dibond Brushed Silver and Dibond Brushed Gold.


For magnetic signage, Magnum Magnetics now offers magnetizers to allow output providers to magnetize magnetic material post-print. The company offers two widths with a choice of standard-energy and high-energy magnetization. Their magnetizers can be built for in-line usage or can be stand-alone units with optional mobile stand and feed/receiving trays. The company was also showcasing its handheld magnetizers at SGIA.


Coda introduces the latest in mounting adhesive technology with Cold-Mount 1 (CM1), a true Universal Mounting adhesive. CM1 is a new low-cost ultra-aggressive adhesive from Coda that consists of an opaque-white center, or carrier, coated on two sides with Coda's new CM1 adhesive formulation. The adhesive has one heavy paper release liner; the very smooth opaque-white adhesive is suitable for most mounting situations. The extremely even nature of this adhesive makes it especially appropriate for very thin graphic materials and high-gloss materials. The adhesive is very aggressive and has been engineered to form an especially tight bond with most standard mounting substrates. It is especially compatible with "low energy," difficult-to-bond-to surfaces such as plastic (Styrene) surfaces, expanded PVC (e.g., Sintra), and all Gatorfoam surfaces.


Last month, MACtac launched its new StreetRap for short-term, high-impact messaging in areas previously untapped for advertising efforts. With the use of StreetRap, indoor and outdoor concrete, asphalt, or cinder-block surfaces can quickly transform into eye-catching graphics. Paired with MACtac's Permacolor PF6300--a durable, slip-resistant 5.0-mil. clear overlaminating film that offers graphics protection from scratching, tearing, and UV light--the StreetRap system is easy to apply and remove from properly prepared surfaces. It's the perfect cost-effective and printer-friendly solution for unique graphics on a multitude of applications and surfaces. The company also announces IMAGin B-free Plus for long-term outdoor advertising and promotion applications over flat and slightly curved surfaces.

Avery Graphics has introduced several new digital products, including DOL 3000 Luster, DOL 3100 Gloss, and DOL 3200 Matte overlaminates. DOL 3000, 3100, and 3200 are 3.2-mil. clear, calendered vinyl films durable for up to two years and are ideal for protecting promotional campaigns, including P.O.P., trade shows, outdoor signage, floor graphics, wall murals, and advertising from fading and abrasion. A permanent adhesive ensures ink and media compatibility. The new overlaminates are available in 30-, 54-, and 60-foot x 50-yard rolls. Avery Graphics will also feature MPI 2601 Wall Film, a calendered film with removable adhesive, specifically made for digitally printed wall graphic applications.

ElevenTen Color has announced the addition of two new products to its Luminosity media portfolio, Ultra-Removable Adhesive Vinyl and Pressure Sensitive Laminating film. Ultra-Removable Adhesive White Vinyl, available in 54-inch and 60-inch x 50-yard rolls, is compatible with solvent- and ecosolvent-based inks and has an indoor lifespan of up to two years. The adhesive technology allows for this material to be removed and reapplied multiple times without tools or cleaners, a valuable tool when creating advertisements, promotions, wall graphics, and trade-show displays, as well as on painted walls, wallpaper, windows, and wood paneling. ElevenTen Color's Pressure Sensitive Laminate enhances color and contrast of printed graphics for a noticeably deeper and richer image. Two versions of the laminating film are available: standard and UV.

3M Graphics Market Center offers two new members of its extensive Promotional Products Portfolio. 3M Scotchcal Changeable Translucent Graphic Film IJ63 has the ability to adhere to both acrylic and glass surfaces. The easy-on and easy-off features of the changeable adhesive simplify installation and removal. 3M's new Scotchcal Perforated Window Graphic Film IJ66 offers 5.8-mil., non-cast construction and increased print area--40% perforated/60% print area--making it ideal for a wide range of short-term bus, train, and building window applications.

Dreamscape rolled out Dreamscape Textured Wall Wraps, a textured vinyl media with excellent hiding power and the ability to reduce glare and light reflection. The Dreamscape Textured Wall Wraps are more than twice as durable and four times as thick as other peel-and-stick films. Its 13-mil. thickness, coupled with its unique, textured surface, helps Dreamscape Textured Wall Wraps mask imperfections in walls and display substrates. New Dreamscape Textured Wall Wraps also meet all requirements for use with solvent, ecosolvent, and UV-curable ink printers. It is available in two textures: Caviar (a fine pebble surface) and Monet (which replicates a textured fabric weave). Dreamscape Textured Wall Wraps are formulated for both short-run and high-volume digital production applications and are available in 75- and 150-foot lengths.


ORACAL unveiled Series 8800 Premium Cast Translucent Film, a 2-mil. cast film that features day/night color consistency and a silk matte finish. With high temperature resistance, eight-year outdoor durability, and 57 colors (custom colors also available), this premium translucent film is ideal for demanding corporate identity signage programs. It is suitable for use on rigid, thermoformed, or flexible surfaces.


Fletcher-Terry is celebrating 140 years in the finishing business. Fletcher-Terry announced its new automated substrate cutter--the Alta99, developed in response to a market need for an efficient way to consistently cut a variety of materials with one pass while protecting operators from the inevitable fatigue that comes from hours of production cutting. This allows users to perform other tasks during the cutting. The Alta99 cuts sheets of up to 4x8 of 4mm DiBond .080" aluminum, up to 10mm PVC, and up to ½-inch of corrugated plastic and foamboard.


Brooke International offers a range of roll-to-print cutters for lower volume labs, as well as higher production units. The company is also known for its jigsaw puzzle machines, which let you turn your customers' images into jigsaw puzzles; a number of size/piece configurations are available.


Wizard International announced the release of SwitchBlade Technology, a quick-change cartridge system for the Wizard CMC 8500e. Labs can easily switch between multiple blade and debossing cartridges within seconds, and without the use of additional tools or head changes. Utilizing a modular design, changing from a 45-degree bevel to a 90-degree bevel is as easy as switching snap-in cartridges. SwitchBlade Technology is included as a standard feature for new Wizard CMC 8500e orders; a SwitchBlade Technology upgrade package will be available for existing Wizard CMC 8500e users.