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Fabric Graphics, March April 2010, Digital Edition

Fabric Graphics, March April 2010, Digital Edition

trend insiGht by Tim

trend insiGht by Tim Greene A look into the future One of my responsibilities at InfoTrends is to develop forecasts for digital printing technologies, and one of the key elements to forecasting is understanding what is happening among print service providers. 2009 was a bad year for those companies. Many are looking for new market opportunities, and digital textile printing presents one. Textiles bring unique and desirable characteristics to the soft signage applications these companies are used to producing. Digital printing systems have enabled digital textile production. Options are more numerous and more cost-effective, enabling greater adoption of the process and greater innovation among the providers. Two technologies that will make a big impact are Latex inkjet printing and UV-curable inkjet printing. By 2013, we forecast there to be nearly 3 billion square feet of textile production done using these technologies. Two years ago Hewlett-Packard introduced Latex inkjet printing with the launch of the DesignJet L65500. Latex is a unique ink formulation that provides high-quality, durable images and lower running costs than other water-based ink formulations. HP has launched smaller and less-expensive versions of these printers, allowing Latex technology to be used by more users. Many leading textile media suppliers have been working with HP to develop media specifically for the Latex platform. A few years ago, the idea of using UV-curable inkjet ink on flexible material was thought to be impossible. There are now a number of printers and textile media that are compatible with UV-curable inkjet printing. Development in the formulation of UV-curable inkjet inks has greatly improved and has enabled this digital production. These two technologies have advantages over dye sublimation. The first advantage is speed, because there is no transfer process. The second is less waste due to the lack of the transfer medium. Because these are direct-to-textile printing devices, there is no need for additional equipment, such as a heat press. Supporters of dye-sublimation technology rightly suggest that it offers better image durability and superior image quality. Furthermore, developments in single-step digital sublimation printers improve speeds and reduce the use of transfer papers with in-line ink fixing units. The development of new technology enables print service providers to participate in a wider set of digital printing applications. The improvement in digital production technology should enable better economics and faster service when working with printing resources. >> For more, search printing at Tim Greene is director, wide format printing and jetting technologies opportunities, InfoTrends, Weymouth, Mass. 4 4 Fabric Graphics Mar|apr 2010

new products Products for business Opaque sign material Blox-Lite from DaVinci Technologies is an opaque, grommetable banner and sign material that is printable on two sides. The FSC-certified product comes in 10-, 12- and 14-point media and is suitable for use to hang in windows and from ceilings. Applications for this product include digital, screen, offset and flatbed UV printing. Visit www. 3M ink series relaunched 3M Commercial Graphics and HP Large Format Division announced 3M Piezo Inkjet Ink Series 5400UV. Offered for sale directly through the 3M distribution channel, the 3M ink series 5400UV was designed for use with HP’s Designjet H Series Printers. 3M Ink series 5400UV features six-color inks, designed for use with a broad range of opaque, clear and translucent 3M media to facilitate most large-format needs. Applications include fleet and vehicle graphics, indoor and outdoor signs and flexible sign faces. Visit www.3Mgraphics. com, Poster paper GreenLight&trade is an FSC-certified, bright white, latex-saturated moisture-resistant backlit poster paper. Even though it is non-recyclable, this translucent engineered paper remains a more sustainable option than traditional styrene or polyester film for backlit signage. GreenLight&trade is currently printable using offset screen or flatbed UV technology. Signage fabric Fisher Textiles’ 480L Soft Poly Pad, an alternative to foam and core boards for retail signage applications, can be dye sublimated and UV-curable printed with roll-to-roll or flatbed printers. The three-layer material features a printable side laminated to a polyester fiber layer, a middle layer consisting of a polyester fiber made from recycled PET bottles and 480 poplin black on the back side. According to the company, the flexibility of the fabric and printable surface make it unique. It also offers finished edges that can be cut, with no sewing necessary. Visit www. Find more products 4 5

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