Sign & Digital Graphics

July '16

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • July 2016 • 35 Innovations Abound Lily Hunter, product manager, Textiles and Consumables at Roland DGA deantly feels that recent devel- opments in equipment and media have played major roles in the growth of this category. "Manufacturers such as Roland are constantly innovating to improve printer image quality, productivity, reli- ability and ease of use," Hunter says. "We offer higher-density inks that dry quickly and we offer a wider color gamut and deliver greater opacity. Additionally, end users are looking for high quality output while keeping overall operating costs to a minimum. That includes not only print- ers designed for optimum efciency, but also lower-cost consumables, including ink and paper." Knit Fabrics Gaining in Popularity Hunter points out that trends on the fabric side include the rise in knit fab- rics, which are typically less expensive, "stretchier" materials, whereas woven fabrics are stiffer, higher-cost fabrics. "We are starting to see more knit fab- rics that can be used in place of woven fabrics, providing the same look and feel at a lower cost. Today's polyester is not your stereotypical 'shiny' leisure suit fab- ric anymore. There is 'spun' polyester, which looks and feels like cotton, and companies like Premier Textiles now offer polyester fabrics that look like linen and other home décor textiles." She adds that traditionally, ags and backlit signage were direct printed in order to get the desired ink saturation. "However, thanks to new and advanced dye-sublimation printers such as our Roland Texart RT-640 and XT-640, it's now easy to achieve this same level of saturation for these applications with transfer sublimation. It's also important to keep in mind, that with direct subli- mation, you need to use coated fabrics, which can limit your choices. Transfer dye sublimation does not require coated fabrics, allowing for a wider choice of materials." Transfer Vs. Direct Printing Options Both transfer and direct-print subli- mation printing technologies have their advantages and drawbacks. As we know, the main difference is that with transfer, you are limited to printing only onto Mimaki's Ryosuke Nakayama says that an advantage of direct-to-fabric printing is ideal for applications such as soft signage because it requires less time to manufacture and is seen from a distance and does not require fine printing. (Image courtesy of Mimaki USA) The Mimaki TS300P-1800 printer is a 77-inch dedicated transfer paper model said to be ideal for digital textile printing or applications requiring transfer to hard surfaces. (Image courtesy of Mimaki USA)

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