Signs, banners, flags, fine art reproductions, and other items achieve a soft, dramatic look when constructed with textiles. Lightweight and reusable, this type of media rolls up easily and inexpensively ships to various sites. Digital printing offers advantages over traditional textile screenprinting. It eliminates the need for screens, reduces cost and production time, and allows for smaller runs.
FABRIX, Inc. of Charlotte, NC produces printed textiles with a focus on the environment and saving customers money. Scott Donovan, owner/president, FABRIX, spent his career in the graphic communications, printing, and textile industries. When he founded the company in 2002, he chose to capitalize on printing textiles. “We specialize in printing fabric for commercial applications. 99 percent of our work is fabric. The other one percent is on rigid substrates,” he explains.
FABRIX produces banners, golf tournament flags, trade show displays, event graphics, point of sale signage, performance apparel, custom pattern yardage, pet products, and table covers.
“We create projects ranging from single flags and banners for mom and pop businesses all the way up to large runs for Fortune 500 companies,” says Donovan.
One method for producing projects on textiles is dye-sublimation (dye-sub). Graphics are reverse printed onto transfer paper using solvent-, oil-, or water-based ink. Then a heat press sublimates the image onto 100 percent polyester fabric.
FABRIX prefers dye-sub transfer. “It yields the best results on textiles and allows us to image on metal and fiberglass reinforced panels if clients request it,” states Donovan.
Printing on textiles requires attention to detail. “It is a slow and laborious process—if done correctly,” he notes. “We make sure our layouts, color matches, and finished construction are all planned properly before starting production.”
The company relies on Mimaki USA, Inc. digital printers, including a JV3-250, JV4, and JV33. Coldenhove Papier’s Jetcol is its transfer paper of choice. Textiles are used from two suppliers, Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, Inc. and Fisher Textiles Inc.