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Fabric Graphics, March April 2010, Digital Edition

Fabric Graphics, March April 2010, Digital Edition

3M Rough Wall Film

3M Rough Wall Film installed on a stucco wall at Monster Color, Phoenix, Ariz. Dye sublimation transfer evolved as wide-format equipment capable of printing on paper was used to print dye-sublimation ink on paper to be heat transferred offline. Banners and other soft signage can be printed directly on vinyl and paper-backed fabric, but dye sublimation gives bolder, more permanent colors. Talk about permanent. “On a recent trip, I mistakenly drove to the wrong Minneapolis airport,” says Nora Norby, Banner Creations. “I discovered banners hanging there that we had done for the airport 15 years ago.” On landing in Dayton, Ohio, Norby discovered even more 15-year-old banners still in use. As grand-format equipment is used to print transfer paper, service providers will need to rethink the sublimation process. Transfer paper coming off a 3.2-meter printer requires a heat unit of the same width. It can be difficult to maintain even heat across such a wide expanse, resulting in uneven sublimation. And handling such wide paper and fabric can wrinkle or crease one or both of them in processing. For this reason, direct dye sublimation is drawing more attention because only a single layer has to go through the heat unit. Since it is difficult to synchronize the speeds of the printer and heat, the process is still likely to be offline. McGinnis of Sawgrass believes that pigments are the future print process. As technology moves from solvents to water-based pigment inks, printing on natural fabrics will become easier. Direct printing with UV-curable pigment inks or with latex inks offers the means to print on natural fibers without the post-processing required of dyes. 2 2 Fabric Graphics Mar|Apr 2010

At the same time, dye sublimation is ideal for indoor use. The fabric is light, easy to handle, and can be rolled, folded and installed without folds or wrinkles. Unfortunately the only fiber suitable for dye sublimation is polyester. While polyester comes in a variety of weights and weaves including linen, poplin, muslin, silk, velvet, gauze, canvas, as well as mesh, knit, and metallics, users may prefer natural fibers. Equipment is constantly evolving, and new machines are introduced regularly. Mutoh representatives are optimistic that this industry is growing. The company introduced a 64-inch hybrid—the ValueJet 1608HA—in 2009, and the ValueJet 1628-TD and 2628-TD, designed for soft signage, will be shipping this spring. Mimaki also rolled out new equipment in anticipation of a better year in 2010. Now available are the JV5-320DS direct sublimation printer, JFX-1631 UV LED printer and UJV-160 hybrid UV LED printer. 3M Film used as floor graphics in a retail shop. MediaOneusa.com | TOLL FREE 888 445 4099 | FAX 714 242 9718 |sales@mediaoneusa.com Your #1 resource for Direct to Fabric Printing SEE US AT EXHIBITOR2010 LAS VEGAS NV MARCH 15 – 17 BOOTH 454 US Distributor for Dgen Teleios • Equipment • Nationwide Tech Support & Training • Specialty Coated Fabrics for Disperse Dye, UV curable, Solvent Dye Sub, Solvent, Latex, & Dye Sub Transfer • Disperse Dye, Reactive, Acid & Pigment Inks • Print Direct; Flags, Tents, Banner stands, pop-up displays, Table Cloths, Light Box Displays, Retail Signage, Banners and many more • Fabrics are Certifi ed Flame retardent NFPA701, CA19, M1, B1 www.fabricgraphicsmag.com 2 3

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