By Courtney Saba
The printing industry is dynamic, always adapting and accelerating. This is especially true with textiles, a growth segment of the market. Print service providers (PSPs) add capabilities to print and finish textiles to attract buyers and boost revenue.
Digitally printed textiles are increasing in popularity, particularly within out-of-home advertising. Flags, banners, tents, and umbrellas created with digital are eye catching and interest any passerby. The possibilities are unlimited with the correct equipment, presenting businesses with endless opportunities.
After buying the printing division of another business in 2008, Xarisma emerged as an advertising solutions company, providing printed textiles, print media, media displays, graphic design, and installation. Custom flags, banners, tents, and silicone edge graphics (SEGs) are some examples.
Based in Huntsville, AL, the company reaches the entirety of North America, including Canada, and also has partner divisions in China and Europe. A staff of 70 operate out of a 55,000 square foot facility. Of the services provided, 50 percent is textile printing. Although Xarisma promotes this service for multiple applications, the company finds that textiles are mostly requested for advertising purposes. Whether indoors or outdoors, flags, banners, or umbrellas, Xarisma is equipped to offer high-quality solutions.
“We develop our media and custom purchase it through mills. Currently, we acquire our own print media from China, Europe, and the U.S.,” says Jon Houser, partner, Xarisma. He believes the combination of high-quality media and printing equipment, as well as fast turnaround is the key to the PSP’s success.
Some of the materials used frequently on the textile side include a standard flag material referred to as SolarMax, which is U.S. made. Soft Knit is a versatile fabric used for indoor displays like banners and table covers. Poly 600 offers matte graphics for indoor use. Art Canvas is a high-end fabric for photo-quality prints that features strength for stretching around frames. Poly Satin is a high sheen, lightweight fabric ideal for indoor applications.
According to the company, it is considered one of the first major flag manufacturers to offer digitally printed textiles. “Textiles used in media advertisement are becoming more popular. Ten years ago there were very few companies like Xarisma printing textiles for trade shows and advertising. Now if you go to a trade show, a majority of the booths are manufactured from textiles,” adds Houser.
When the PSP first began digitally printing, it chose DuPont for flags and banners. As demand increased, the facility housed five DuPont printers. Today, Xarisma uses Durst Image Technology US printers to output onto textiles in addition to vinyl, rigid board, adhesive-based media, and paper.
The 126-inch Durst Rhotex 322 and 320 printers allow Xarisma to print on a range of media, including its own proprietary EverTex polyester used for flag applications. The 77-inch Durst Kappa 180 is a high-performance inkjet device that prints on different textile fibers with water-based dispersion, reactive, and acid dye inks. Besides Durst hardware, the PSP also owns Hewlett-Packard (HP) devices including the 96-inch hybrid HP Scitex FB700 Industrial Printer.
The Matic Cronos Plus sewing machine reduces production time and ensures precise seams for PVC/silicon keder, velcro, hemming, and reinforcements. Cronos is distributed in the U.S. by Media One Digital Imaging Solutions LLC. “The Cronos machines allow us to sew the textiles in a strict and controlled manner. It eliminates the need for holding the textile straight—as the machines do that for you,” explains Houser.
The newest addition to Xarisma’s production facility is a 126×125-inch Zünd G3 3XL 3200 digital cutter.
A Textile Workout
Xarisma recently created signage for CrossFit Huntsville. This regional CrossFit gym is situated in an old warehouse. It came to the PSP with the goal of transforming into an active exercise environment.
The total time from submittal to install took about three weeks and covered 3,000 square feet of media. The job included multiple applications, like an SEG textile frame, printed textiles, textile-based wall adhesives, and printed boards installed on the walls. Durst and HP printers, SEG graphics, the Matic Cronos Plus, and the Zünd G3 were all used.
Fabric included polyesters knitted from 150 to 300 grams per square meter, some of which were knit in house. “They were ideal because being flexible, they fit perfectly into an SEG frame,” explains Houser.
A few challenges were met during install. The job site was under construction by day, therefore Xarisma had to install at night. Three employees with scaffolding finished the work in three nights. The wall surfaces presented another challenge. There were many obstacles mounted on the walls—smoke sensors and electrical plugs—and the surfaces were not perfectly flat. Using precision and the right equipment, Xarisma maneuvered around each obstacle to finish in a timely fashion.
Houser says this job stands out from others because it covers design, production, and installation. It is a reflection of the typical work produced by Xarisma and is a beautiful display to showcase its capabilities.
As the demand for textile printing grows, PSPs accommodate by adopting and expanding their capabilities. From banners to flags and custom wallpaper, Xarisma continues to master each segment to stay ahead of competition.
Mar2016, Digital Output