For Flatbeds Only:
More than 25 companies
offering rigid media.
Say “flatbed” and one of the first
benefits that comes to mind is that it can print directly onto flat,
rigid media. Your sales staff sells that idea of versatility to
prospective clients, and those same customers typically will come up
with all sorts of projects that require different and wide-ranging
media. You’ll be asked to output onto a variety of surfaces—from a
score of composites, cardboard, glass, and wood, to plastic, metal,
tile, carpet, and much more.
Taking on specialty and even unusual
printing jobs can indeed help your shop carve out a new and lucrative
line of products. But finding sources of a variety of printable rigid
media can sometimes prove difficult, and flatbed owners can’t afford to
have their machine sitting idle simply due to hard-to-find media.
To help you in your search for rigid
media, we have done some of the legwork for you. On the following
pages, you’ll find more than 25 companies offering print-ready rigid
media at least 24-in. wide. We’ve provided brief descriptions of each
company’s rigid offerings, as well as the company’s website, so you can
follow-up for more information.
In addition, you may want to keep these
points in mind as you shop around for rigid products:
• Before you purchase the all-wood 4-ft
door or the 5 x 10-ft glass panel to print upon, be sure you take a
look at your machine’s specs. Check how thick materials can be and how
heavy a payload the printer can handle. Some are designed to
accommodate very thick and very heavy substrates, but many are not.
• In addition to the resources that
follow, you might consider using smaller-format pieces—such as
pretreated glass, foamboard, or tiles. Since most flatbeds allow the
ganging of smaller items onto the bed, users could print an image onto
a bed of smaller pieces to make a mural.
• Since flatbeds can print onto virtually
any flat surface, you may be able to find local distributors of these
and other uncoated products. Test first, however, to see if your
printer can print directly onto a sample piece.
If the test graphic isn’t satisfactory,
see if your distributor can apply an inkjet-receptive
coating/pretreatment to the uncoated stock. Or, check with your printer
OEM—many, such as NUR and VUTEk, are selling primers that shops can
apply to substrates. Typically, these primers are hand-applied using a
roller or spray.
Acriglas Metallic acrylic sheets emulate
the look of bright dipped brushed anodized aluminum, come in a brushed
finish (4 x 4 ft) or a matte finish (4 x 6 ft), and range in thickness
from 1/8 to ½ in. Compatible with wide-format inkjets, Acriglas
Metallic is available in 16 colors and 10 textures.
Alcan Composites offers several rigid
substrates for direct-print with large-format printers.
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-m thicknesses and in sizes up
to 60 x 120 in. Designed for interior signage, exhibits, and displays,
as well as outdoor applications, it’s compatible with solvent and
UV-curable wide-format printers. Dibond Brushed Gold gives a metallic
gold finish in a 3-mm rigid media.
Sintra is a lightweight yet rigid,
expanded PVC board with a low-gloss matte finish. Designed for large
graphics, signage, exhibits, visual merchandising, P-O-P displays, and
photo mounting, it is available in a wide range of thicknesses—from 1
to 13 mm, and in various colors and sheet sizes.
Gatorfoam, made of durable polystyrene
foam between Luxcell wood-fiber veneer liners, is available in sizes up
to 60 x 120-in. sheets for direct printing. Gatorplast features an
extruded polystyrene foam core laminated on both sides with high-impact
Fome-Cor, a foam-centered board with
clay-coated paper liners, has a wide range of uses—from P-O-P and
displays to picture framing, photography, and exhibits—and 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.
Fome-Cor JetMount board has a higher density, is more rigid, and is
specifically designed for mounting and direct printing of digital
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 (while Fome-Cor compresses
completely and stays closed permanently when die cut, creating a 3-D
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 are
available in a variety of sizes, sheets, and thicknesses. Products
include: FiberBrite Original, VandalSafe, Survivor, and TuffStuff.
The photoluminescent PermaLight rigid
media (PVC or aluminum) can be used with both solvent and UV-curable
flatbed printers. The rigid PVC Permalight is 0.045- to 0.059-in. thick
with glossy or matte surfaces. Used to print safety signs, the 48 x
40-in. rigid aluminum Permalight sheets have a matte surface and are
0.7-mm thick. The product is also available in a range of luminance,
for specific code and safety compliance.
Available in a wide variety of thicknesses
and sheet sizes, Plexiglas acrylic sheets and Tuffak polycarbonate
sheets can be printed on with wide-format inkjet printers.
Bienfang Framing Products
Bienfang, a division of Elmer’s Products,
features Bienfang MightyCore 0.25-in. foamboard, which is compatible
with solvent and UV-curable inkjet inks.
French manufacturer DHJ International
features inkjet-printable Decoprint Brusan, a printable fabric
laminated onto a thin aluminum film. The resulting rigid material is
inkjet printable (with solvent, mild-solvent, or UV-curable printers)
and then formable into 3D shapes or objects. The materials can be
shaped by hand or by vacuum forming, and will retain its shape after
forming; it can be reflattened, rolled up, and used again. Available in
checkmate texture (for photographs) or brilliant (for advertising),
Decoprint comes in 57-in. rolls and two thicknesses: 50 or 100 microns.
Hi-Tech Textiles is the US distributor (www.hitechtextiles.com).
Offers a variety of rigid roll and sheeted
products, including Lexan, PET UV, PETG, Veltex, C-M/M, Dynox, White HI
Impact Styrene, Expanded PVC, and Acrylic. Products are available in
ranges from 0.05- to 0.5-in. thick and are compatible with UV-curable
inks; some products are compatible with solvent and aqueous systems.
Gilman Brothers offers many foamboards
that can be directly printed using solvent and UV-curable wide-format
inkjets. The boards are available in a variety of thicknesses (1/16 to
4 in.), sizes (up to 48 x 192 in.), densities, and surfaces.
InSite Reveal Magnet Receptive Foamboard
features a printable paper surface with a ferrous film under it, which
allows a magnetic sheet to “stick” to the front surface. InSite Reveal
features a bright white paper exterior with extruded polystyrene Reveal
foam with memory (to retain its thickness during printing, mounting,
laminating, and die cutting). InSite Polycoated offers a
polyethylene-coated paper surface that creates a barrier to moisture
and humidity; this stable and lay-flat foamboard is a good choice for
hanging signs. InSite Flame Resistant features flame-resistant paper
and extruded polystyrene foam, which can be utilized for trade-show
exhibits, retail store, theaters, and other public places.
Ryno Board has an extra heavy-duty paper
exterior, with an extruded polystyrene interior, which features good
compressive strength and dimensional stability. It resists denting and
warping and also prevents moisture absorption.
A heavy-duty plastic-faced foamboard,
Duraplast is moisture-proof, warp-resistant, and offers a clean crisp
edge for cutting and finishing. Available in a variety of colors and
sizes from 3/16 to 2 in., Duraplast is designed for use in signs,
exhibits, and displays.
Hartman offers a variety of foam-centered
boards that can be used in printers using pigment or dye-based aqueous,
solvent, and UV-curable inks.
HartPrint can be used with both pigment,
dye, and solvent inks, offers either a satin or matte surface,
thickness of 3/16 or ¼ in., and is available in sheets up to 48 x 96
in. Harty is a ¼-in. ultra-rigid clay-coated foam-centered board
available in sheets up to 48 x 96 in.
Other printable foamboards are its
standard clay-coated HartBoard (available in a 1/8- or 3/16-in.
thickness and in sheets up to 48 x 96 in.), 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.
Horizons Imaging Systems Group
AlumaJet is an inkjet-printable aluminum
that can be used with water-based dye and pigment inks; no pretreatment
is required. Laminate or overspray adds protection against image loss
due to moisture or UV exposure. AlumaJet can be printed on using an
inkjet printer with a straight-paper-path configuration. Sheet
thicknesses range from 0.012-in. to 0.016-in. AlumaJet comes in matte,
satin, or brushed silver, as well as satin gold and semi-gloss white.
It also offers an 0.005-in. thick flexible material that will work with
Imaging Alternatives features SmartGrain
inkjet-printable wood veneer. The veneer is specially treated using
chemicals, enabling it to be printed on most standard inkjet printers
using aqueous, solvent, or mild-solvent inksets. The pretreatment
allows it to accept the digital image and also accept a protective
finish (spray or self-adhesive plastic laminate). Large-format
materials are 0.02-in. thick, depending on the backing material. Only
available in maple, SmartGrain veneer comes in sheets up 4 x 8 ft.
Jains Irrigation Systems
Jains Irrigation Systems features
Excel-Pro, a PVC foam sheet specifically designed for use with
large-format printers. Compatible with solvent inksets, it is
weatherproof, non-warping, and has fine cell structure and high-impact
strength. Featuring a bright-white smooth matte finish, Excel-Pro is
available in thicknesses from 3 to 10 mm and in 48 x 96-in. sheets.
Kömmerling offers four PVC media that can
be printed by wide-format flatbeds: Kömabrite, Kömabrite dp, Komacel
Plus, and Kömatex.
Kömabrite features a bright white matte
surface, a fine-celled foam structure, and excellent ink adhesion at
production speeds. Weather- and chemical-resistant, it’s available in
thicknesses from 1 to 6 mm and in 4 x 8-ft sheets.
A closed-cell PVC sheet, Kömabrite dp is
designed for digital printing on interior applications such as P-O-P
displays, trade-show exhibits, and signage (as well as limited outdoor
uses). It offers a bright-white matte surface, is available in 2- to
6-mm thicknesses, and comes in standard sizes up to 5 x 10 ft.
The newest product, Komacel Plus is a
thicker, but lighter PVC material. It offers all of the characteristics
of the company’s standard Komacel, but adds a matte wood grain faux
finish (the surface’s roughness is what allows it to be printed on
UV-curable flatbeds). Used for both interior and exterior applications,
Komacel Plus is available in thicknesses from 10 to 30 mm, and in sizes
up to 48 x 120 in.
KomaTex is a printable, rigid PVC with a
fine matte finish on both sides. It comes in 14 standard colors,
thicknesses from 1 to 12.7 mm, and in sheets up to 5 x 10 ft. It can be
printed using water-based, solvent, or UV-curable inks.
D-Lite panels from Laminators Incorporated
are lightweight, aluminum sign panels that can be directly printed
using solvent or UV-curable flatbed printers. The 3-mm panels comprise
a high-gloss aluminum surface bonded to a corrugated plastic core and
are available in 12 colors.
Omega-Bond is a solid polyethylene core
with painted aluminum surfaces that is compatible with aqueous,
solvent, and UV-curable inksets. It’s available in several colors and
in sheets up to 5 x 10 ft.
Compatible with wide-format solvent and
UV-curable flatbeds, Polyguard and Thru White are available in 0.05-
and 0.072-in. thicknesses and in sheets up to 48 x 72 in. Thru White is
bright white with a smooth coating and is for indoor signage; Polyguard
is for short-term outdoor use and has a high glossy polyethylene
coating on both sides.
UltraPrint is an inkjet-receptive rigid
foamboard (3/16-in. thick). For use with aqueous pigment and dye-based
inks, it has a matte finish and is available in 48 x 96-in. sheets.
Ontario Specialty Coatings
Ontario Specialty Coatings has
inkjet-receptive rigid media for the Kodak/Encad NovaJet 880: Digiboard
is a 5-mm foamcore board with either a white matte or satin gloss
finish; CoroJet is a 4-mm white matte or clear glossy water-resistant
Coroplast; and SintraJet is 3-mm Sintra expanded PVC with a white matte
Outdoor Sign Supply
Offers standard and coated foamboard,
CoroBoard, and PVCBoard compatible with aqueous, solvent, and
Plaskolite's 3015 White acrylic is
compatible with wide-format inkjet printers using UV-curable inks.
Sheet thicknesses range from 0.118 to 0.236 in.; sheet size is 49 x 97
Seal Graphics Americas
All of Seal’s white- and black-surfaced
foamboards (including PillowCore and MightyCore) are printable using
digital flatbed printers with UV-curable and solvent inks. Seal
recently added White on Black Foam Board, which features 11-pt
clay-coated white paper sandwiching a black foam core.
Seal Inkjet Stoplight is an 8- or 12-mil
bright white polyester/aluminum media for pop-up exhibit and display
graphics. Made of 100% opaque backing film with a universal inkjet
coating, the media offers a quick-drying printable surface for dye and
pigment-based aqueous and thermal inkjet printers.
Offers Rigid PVC sheets from 0.2- to
0.82-mm thick and up to 47-in. wide. Also offers 2- to 20-mm PVC
foamboard up to 48-in. wide. Both are compatible with solvent inks.
Produces a variety of clear and opaque
rigid materials that are compatible with aqueous, solvent, and
UV-curable inks: 41- and 44-series polypropylene; 55-Series APET;
65-series PETG; Rejuven8j is a PLA plastic made from renewable sources
such as corn; Valiant Ultra clarified styrene; 10-, 12-, 14-, and
16-series HIPS, and Valiant styrenic alloy.
Available in more than 40 textures,
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.
Textures include bamboo, brick, diamond plate silver, castle stone,
driftwood, slate ivory, and the company’s latest—coral
Its Opacity line of clay-coated paperboard
is opaque, available in thicknesses from 8.5 to 11 mils, and comes in
sheets up to 60 x 75 in.
UltraFlex offers several sheet and rolled
rigid media, all of which are suited for use as P-O-P displays, bus
shelter advertising, backlit boxers, and indoor posters. Rigid media
includes 14- and 18-mil Styrene and Pressure Sensitive Styrene; clear,
white, or frosty Rigid Vinyl; translucent Dulkote; and opaque Spraytex.
Compatible with UV-curable and many solvent-based inks.
United Industries offers several rigid
substrates with extruded foam cores that are compatible with UV-curable
and solvent inks.
Ultra Board is a heavy-duty, all-plastic
foamboard with a high-impact polystyrene surface. It ranges in
thicknesses from 3/16 to 3 in., comes in white, black, red, and blue,
and is available in sheets up to 48 x 96 in.
Ultra Aluminum is foamboard with an
anodized aluminum face. Available in brushed or polished gold and
chrome, as well as acrylic baked white finishes, it’s available in
thicknesses from 3/16 to 3 in. and in sheets up to 48 x 96 in.
Ultra Plus is heavy-duty polystyrene foam
between two layers of 1- or 2-mm PVC liners. It ranges in thickness
from 1/4 to 3 in., comes in white, and is available in sheets up to 48
x 120 in.
Other printable rigid media includes Ultra
Core (3/16-in. foamboard with a 12-pt clay-coated paper face) and Ultra
Mount (available with pressure-sensitive or heat-activated liners in
3/16- to 1-in. thicknesses).
Celtec is a foamed polyvinyl chloride
(PVC) sheet for high-strength, lightweight applications. The smooth,
matte-finished sheets are available in a wide range of sizes and
thicknesses (from 1 to 25 mm), and can be digitally printed using
solvent and UV-curable inks. Celtec is available in sheets up to 60 x
120 in. and in 12 standard colors. Recently, Vycom announced that
Celtec is now available in 30-mm thicknesses in 49 x 96-in. sheets.
Ultra White is a 2- to 6-mm solid PVC
substrate designed for outdoor use where resistance to UV degradation
is critical. A bright-white high-gloss product, it’s available in 4 x
8-ft sheets, and is printable with solvent inks.