A Fabric View - CMYUK talk about their passion for digital textile printing

July 04, 2019
EFI FabriVU EFI FabriVU

Thinking of getting into textile? You’ve seen the numbers, so why wouldn’t you? To recap, a recent survey by Smithers Pira highlighted a predicted growth rate for digital textile printing at over 17.5% per annum over the next six years. In this period, the survey forecasts that the total available global market for digital textile printing will more than double from $1.73bn in 2018 to $3.bn in 2023. That’s a lot of opportunity - but where to begin? With CMYUK, is the obvious answer.

As the UK’s largest independent supplier of large-format digital printers, cutting equipment and materials, CMYUK has been quick to recognise the potential of a burgeoning market - or to be more precise, markets plural - and has not only built up an impressive suite of hardware and materials offerings for those wanting to get involved, but has ensured it has the indepth knowledge-base to help you make a seamless transition into the space.

CMYUK Group Director Robin East says: “We want people to recognise the opportunities afforded print companies by printing onto textile. To realise that it’s not that difficult to get involved in. And to know that we can help them make the transition successful. We have the ultimate equipment, materials, expertise and passion to help them benefit from what I truly believe has become the highest demand sector within digitally printed graphics.”

Just as the digital disruption within the events and signage industry provided an efficient, speedy and sustainable solution for manufacturing, we are now witnessing the transformation of the printed textile sector via digital print technologies. To anyone involved in the trade, this growth has been evident for quite some time, encouraging a raft of independent print companies to develop solutions alongside the established, heavy-duty textile print providers that are converting their plants from rotary screen printing to digital.

“Textile print covers so many possibilities,” comments East. “For the large-format PSP, soft signage is an obvious choice because it allows them to target existing customers with a different product - one that resonates with so many of them, especially those public facing where sustainability is a key issue. The environmental merits of switching to textile printed graphics are a great sales tool!

For the soft signage market, CMYUK offer the market leading 3.4m wide EFI VUTEk FrabriVU 340 four-colour (CMYK) dye-sublimation printer – available as standard print direct to textile / or to transfer paper. Both require offline calendaring, which is why CMYUK also offers the renowned Klieverik machine.

Also now available is the FabriVU 340i, which has an inline calender. Users can turn off the inline fixation, which then allows the printer to run as aforementioned. Obviously when opting for the printer with inline fixation, users have the benefit of a single process that can increase the production throughput, mitigating the cost of an offline calender and larger equipment footprint.

It’s worth noting that the market leading PONGS and Berger polyester soft signage materials, offered exclusively by CMYUK, have been colour profiled and calibrated for temperature and stretch, delivering perfect quality and colour for the VUTEk FabriVU printers.

This business in a box offering covers the key applications required for soft signage:

  • Front-lit display (used primarily for TFS - Tension Frame System)
  • Back-lit display (used for lightbox applications)
  • Block-out/Black back (used for exhibition/retail backdrop graphics requiring ’no show through’)
  • Flag
  • Stretch display (used for pop-up display/ exhibition graphics)

“Beyond soft signage though, there are a plethora of textile print applications and markets that can provide PSPs with growth and profit building potential,” notes East. “Take the décor market for instance, where the path to customisation was first opened up by the extraordinary growth in demand for bespoke wallpapers/murals for domestic and contract use and has led to a multitude of bespoke print opportunities.

“For our stand at the recent Sign and Digital UK exhibition we collaborated with designer Hazel Carruthers to showcase décor possibilities. The reaction to that was exceptional, and points the way forward for new business opportunities for PSPs.”

Running the EFI VUTEk FabriVU printers with paper transfer and offline calendaring, their scope widens – dye-sublimation inks being suited to many decor and fashion products too. With dye-sublimation (paper transfer) there is no requirement for washing post print as the fabrics used generally have no coating. Some fabrics are also now available with inherent FR (meaning no post treatment to conform to BS standard ).

EFI FabriVU printers aren’t the only dyesub machines in CMYUK’s arsenal of course. Those interested in the décor market might also want to take a look at the Mimaki TS55- 1800 and Mimaki TX300P-1800.

The 1.8m wide TS55-1800 paper sublimation only printer is the latest offering from Mimaki, offering high quality, high speed, printing with a range of options. A jumbo roll feed can be added, enabling loading of 2500 linear metre rolls of sublimation paper. A bulk ink system can be added to accommodate 10 litres of ink per colour (CMYK), also reducing the ink price p/l.

The 1.8m wide TX300P-1800 is a direct-to-textile printer only, offering the ability to run both dye sublimation and pigment inks (at the same time / for switch over), allowing users the flexibility of printing onto polyester materials with dye sublimation inks, and onto natural fabrics with pigmented inks.

And the digitally printed textile story doesn’t end there. We’ve not even really mentioned garment/fashion/sportswear printing yet… areas especially benefiting from the advances in polyester materials that now have the look and feel of natural fabrics.

The point is, if you are a PSP looking to re-invigorate your commercial offering, the growth of digital textile printing presents an unrivalled opportunity to bolt-on a profitable suite of products and services leveraging your existing production skills in prepress, colour management, digital printer operation and finishing.

CMYUK is here to help you pull together the right kit, materials and know-how to generate a good return on investment in what promises to be a vibrant sector over the coming years,” says East. “Come and see for yourself how we can help digitally printed textile dovetail with your current offering at our demo centre in Shrewsbury.”

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