The introduction of digital dye-sublimation (dye-sub) printing to the fabric industry allows for a multitude of applications. Many print service providers (PSPs) adapt from traditional methods to digital because of its quick turnaround. With this change in efficiency also comes a higher quality finished product.
Dye into Print, of Clifton, NJ, opened in 1999 and originally offered screenprinting and electrostatic printing to its customers. However, it transitioned to digital dye-sub in 2002 after researching the benefits. Today the PSP employs roughly 100 people in a 60,000 square foot facility. With national business prevalent and a small portion of its work coming from overseas, it offers up to ten-foot wide seamless transfer dye-sub printing onto fabric and inkjet printing onto vinyl. About 90 percent of its offerings are considered digital fabric printing; these include banners, backdrops, tablecloths, flags, napkins, stage skirting, in-store signage, pillow covers, wallcoverings, chair covers, carpets, and scarves.
The company relies on a Mimaki USA, Inc. JV5-320 wide format device using Sawgrass Technologies SubliM ink. “This is used to achieve the best results combining high-resolution printing with wonderfully saturated color output at elevated speeds,” explains Matthew Lederman, president, Dye into Print. The PSP works with Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, Inc.’s fabric line to provide clients with a variety of substrates at a reasonable cost.
Quick Orders, Quality Products
With each hour of every day consumed with digital fabric printing, employees of Dye into Print are knowledgeable in how to finish a job correctly the first time and quickly send it out the door. The entire order process, on average, takes four working days after proof approval.
A typical order begins with a work order for production, preflight, and a PDF proof for approval. Once a PDF is approved, the client receives a second proof, this time even closer to the final application—pre-production printed fabric. After approval, printing begins. Files are output on dye-sub transfer paper and transferred to the fabric on a roll-to-roll heat press. Then the printed fabric is sent to the sewing department and finished according to customer specification. Once sewn it is reviewed by the quality control department and packed for shipment.
While the above sounds like a typical workflow found in any print ship, Lederman shares that textile printing differs from processing more traditional signage orders. “It involves a variety of components and variables making it a more complex and challenging form of digital printing,” he explains.
Dye into Print’s customer base is vast and every client realizes the benefits of a digitally printed piece of fabric. As Lederman describes, textile printing exhibits a richer look, creating an increased intrinsic value to the overall product. In addition, its natural feel is compelling to many buyers.
The Natural Look
The PSP regularly works with visual merchandising companies to create point of purchase in-store displays for the promotion of new retail products. For one recent project, a client requested natural looking displays, which Dye into Print achieved with dye-sub transfer printing. Using SpectraJet SilverBack transfer paper, the Mimaki JV5-320 printer and Sawgrass SubliM ink, and Aurora fabric the job was completed in seven working days.
A challenging portion of the overall order was the finishing process. Several steps were altered to accommodate the fabric into the provided framework—aluminum extrusion frame grooves with silicone gasket edging. Despite the minor issue, the job was completed on time and the client was satisfied with the outcome.