By Lisa Guerriero
Event and trade show displays are a thriving market. The ability to print on textiles via dye-sublimation (dye-sub) opens doors for print professionals.
There are two methods of dye-sub printing, transfer and direct. While transfer dye-sub presents challenges in the form of additional substrates, hardware, and required footprint; the final product offers crisp, vibrant graphics.
This combination of sharpness and bright color are sought after for event displays. In addition, companies capable of engineering tension and extrusion framing systems to accompany graphics maintain a further edge.
Trusting in Transfer
Rob Evans, VP, and John Nichols, president, Five Inc., established the company about a year and a half ago. It specializes in trade show displays and other event signage.
Five consists of about 15 employees based in Lehi, UT; the hub from which they handle textile jobs around the U.S. Work entails creating displays, from printing onto fabric to constructing the systems for mounting them. This includes fabricating proprietary tube-style displays and sewing silicone edge graphics (SEG) systems.
The printer works almost exclusively with dye-sub transfer. Evans acknowledges that some printers prefer direct printing to ensure correct color, but his company doesn’t encounter any problems with color quality. It finds that transfer offers sharp images with clean lines because the ink doesn’t bleed or migrate.
“We don’t think there’s any compromise in the color. There’s the benefit of added detail when you’re doing paper transfer,” he says. The only exception, he points out, is when printing flags the color needs to bleed through to the other side.
For dye-sub transfer, Five uses a Mimaki USA, Inc. JV34-260 with Sensient Imaging Technologies’ ElvaJet inks, which the company favors because they ensure great consistency, color, and vibrancy, according to Evans. Together, the ink and printer are well suited to fabric printing.
In late 2014, Five purchased a three-meter Kayo126 DS by PrinterEvolution. It chose the Kayo for its price point, recommendation from a trusted supplier, and its technical specifications.
By fabricating the display systems as well as producing the images, the company ensures its prints are perfectly presented—guaranteeing clients a complete fabric display.
“Although we regularly produce graphics for frames made by other vendors, our experience has shown that whenever possible, customers value the one-stop option because it reduces the time, hassle, and risk associated with managing multiple vendors,” says Evans.
The company recently worked with Insight Exhibits, on behalf of end user Jaybird, which produces Bluetooth-enabled headphones and activity trackers. “The goal was to make a strong impression,” explains Evans.
Five worked directly with Insight Exhibits, though Jaybird came in for a review during the process. It was a typical scenario for the printer in some ways, as it often provides custom solutions through another party that works in trade show displays.
Jaybird requested a mix of lifestyle and product images for the graphics. It wanted frames that were easy to assemble and conference rooms to support video monitors on both the outside and inside.
“They were looking for a unique system that was not ‘new traditional’ in the industry,” notes Jay Stevens, sales executive, Insight Exhibits. As such, Five built two-inch aluminum tubes with zip-on tension fabric displays. To make an impact, it created a back wall 50 feet long, 16 feet high, and two feet deep, with conference rooms on each end. For smaller shows, it built a 30x10x2-foot version, also with conference rooms on the ends.
Five used Fisher Textiles’ GF 4017 Soft Knit, a fire retardant all-polyester manufactured for dye-sub and latex printing. GF 4417 Black, a light blocking polyester, was also used for the liners. “It’s our standard material because it features a good white point, consistent stretch, and a fairly tight weave,” says Evans.
The Jaybird display was printed on a Mimaki JV34-260, which is driven by Caldera RIP software. For the transfer machine, a Klieverik was chosen for its durability and even heat distribution.
It took about a week to print and produce the display systems, after the job was submitted and the artwork approved. The back wall was printed in two panels, for the top and bottom portions. Each one was 50 feet continuously, so the only challenge was reaching the 16 foot mark. Jaybird loved how the graphics turned out, including the way the top and bottom panels fit together.
Stevens says Jaybird appreciated how it can take the 30×10-foot display and convert it into a 10×20-foot fabric booth, as well as the overall quality and convenience of the exhibit. “Jaybird can put the large 16×50-foot back wall together in less than an hour; and with a team of three, stand it up and move the other functions. The uniqueness of this build along with the creative thinking by Five allows us to ship an entire booth in less than three crates. Jaybird is ecstatic on the build and receives positive feedback the moment it’s up till the time it’s down,” he continues.
Five provides its customers with impeccable graphics by carefully choosing equipment, materials, and processes that provide an eye-catching, unique finished product. By handling the printing as well as creating the display system, it offers clients an end-to-end display solution.
Mar2015, Digital Output