Sign & Digital Graphics

November '12

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Q: What are the opportunities in the grand-format textile printing market? A: According to a recent study by Typical applications for dye-sub include flags and banners, stretch graphics, trade show graphics, and retail point of purchase. (Image courtesy of Flag Crafters) Fabric has a high perceived value that is opening many doors into a higher-end appli- cations and clientele. (Image courtesy of Mimaki USA) InfoTrends, printed textiles represents a $165 billion market, and demand is increasing for custom and personalized fabric design for home and office, retail soft signage, trade show and exhibition graphics. While the potential is great, less than 1 percent of printed textiles are digi- tally printed today, according InfoTrends. These are all areas of opportunity. Another very important point is that the digital textile market is not yet commoditized. Printed fabric still com- mands high margins, and the market is not saturated. Competing profitably in this industry is typically achieved in sev- eral ways: • decreasing operating costs on equip- ment and supplies; • increasing efficiency with automa- tion, or faster equipment; and • finding areas to grow that aren't yet saturated. Of the approximately 30,000 U.S. sign It is important for print service providers to understand all of the aspects of the textile print- ing process—from prepress to production to finishing—to ensure a solid product. shops, we estimate that less than 100 are doing industrial grand-format textile printing (we define industrial as 126" or wider on commercial speed inkjet tex- tile printers). According to a recent 2012 SGIA Market Trends report, graphics and sign companies expect a median growth rate of 11.2 percent this year. Of these companies, 60 percent said they will add imaging equipment or technology to their business and 50 percent said they will add post-print or finishing equip- ment. That trend shows an increasingly crowded market. Q: What are the primary markets for dye sublimation? A: The soft signage, retail, exhibition The best choice is to find the piece of printing equipment that will allow you to do direct print and transfer processes equally well. The Evo 33 pictured is designed to print using both methods. 50 • November 2012 • SIGN & DIGITAL GRAPHICS graphics, event/entertainment industries and customized fabric are the greatest textile printing opportunities. Typical applications include banners and flags, stretch graphics, trade show graphics, retail point of purchase, and the small niche markets like gaming tables and ceramics. Garments and interior and exterior design are also growing markets. DIGITAL PRINTING AND FINISHING DIGITAL GRAPHICS

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