Manchester Print Services gets comfy with upholstery printed on HP Stitch

March 23, 2021

Manchester Print Services (MPS) has installed a second HP Stitch digital textile printer specifically for the production of upholstery for corporate customers.

The new HP Stitch S500 was installed at MPS's Middleton premises, alongside its existing HP Stitch S1000. The 64" (1.6m) HP Stitch S500 uses digital dye sublimation technology to achieve rich, accurate colours on both transfer paper and direct to fabric at high speeds, ideal for applications including fashion and sportswear, soft signage and décor products.

MPS was one of the first businesses in the UK to install the 126" (3.2m) HP Stitch S1000 for the production of textile displays, which it still runs along with an HP DesignJet Z6200 and an HP Latex 360. It replaced a dye sublimation printer from another brand when MPS agreed a major customer contract.

We secured a big project spanning four years," explains Lee Egan, Director, Manchester Print Services. "Our dye sublimation printer from another manufacturer wasn't quick enough and didn't have the colour-matching capabilities we needed. The project includes printing one corporate colour across approximately 4,500 panels and the colour has to be consistent, from day one to several years from now, so we needed the confidence provided by the HP Stitch."

With high-speed dye sublimation now established at MPS, in spring 2020 the company bought into Charlton Fabrics, a manufacturer of upholstery for contract furnishing customers including bars, restaurants and cruise ships. MPS's involvement brought more printing in-house and helped Charlton Fabrics to expand, but further growth needed more printing power.

Lee explains: "We wanted a new textile printer to work exclusively on the upholstery work, reserving the HP Stitch S1000 for mostly printing graphics."

The new HP Stitch S500 printer was installed in the summer of 2020 and according to Lee Egan: "Investing in another HP Stitch gives us colour consistency; the Stitch system is also very user-friendly with quality built into its design."

While several of MPS's key markets including exhibitions, retail and hospitality continue to be affected by COVID-19 and related restrictions, Lee says MPS has recovered thanks to its diversification.

"From March to May 2020, work was practically non-existent, but we were busy again from July onwards, as luckily we work across a lot of different sectors. In fact, having a pause in production gave us some time to grow into other areas. For instance, the HP Stitch printers are compatible with any polyester fabric, besides the fire-retardant fabric we use for upholstery, so we're looking at other opportunities."

MPS has recently released 25 new designs for upholstery for the hospitality sector and made home décor samples available to furnishing shops to reach independent customers.

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