By Olivia Cahoon
A variety of clients seek customized window graphics for privacy, brand promotion, and as a value-added feature for wallcoverings. To meet these needs, print service providers (PSPs) offer window graphics for practical and aesthetic functions in office spaces, retail, and home décor. Established in 1990, Astek Wallcovering is a specialty wallcoverings provider in Van Nuys, CA. The company started as a wallpaper distributor with three employees in a small office and accompanying warehouse. It originally relied on wallpaper mills and manufacturers for product distribution.
Above: A custom graphic window inside the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills leasing office using Lintec E-21O4ZC UV-curable film.
Today, Astek Wallcovering has 50 employees that create digitally printed, handcrafted naturals, and specialty wallcoverings. It uses an extensive lineup of grand format UV, latex, eco-solvent, and aqueous presses in addition to routing capabilities. Alongside its production facility, the company also has a professional, in-house design studio with 15 graphic designers, artists, and illustrators.
Astek Wallcovering offers a variety of digitally printed wallcovering collections as well as custom printed wall and window media graphics worldwide. It operates from a 35,000 square foot production and warehouse facility.
A majority of the PSP’s wallcovering clients use digitally printed window films to provide dual solutions—addressing privacy and artistic finishes. “Our clients use these films as an opportunity to add to the design of the space while also serving as a privacy film,” shares Jeff Dey, director of business development, Astek Wallcovering.
Astek Wallcovering started offering digitally printed window graphics in 2007 when it invested in its first digital press with white ink capabilities, the Durst Image Technology US LLC Rho 600 Pictor. Using this device, Astek Wallcovering expanded its window application offering and started mimicking a frosted window appearance.
While the company offers window graphics as a standalone service, the majority of its clients request window media as an extension to wallcoverings. Clients taking advantage of this value-added service include corporations, retail owners, and individual users with a variety of window needs, including privacy, brand promotion, and home décor.
Due to its expertise in window and wall applications, Astek Wallcovering experiences few challenges during printing. However, the PSP does find difficulty in the sales cycle and specification process for window media. “It is important to keep the lines of communication going between all stake holders so that everyone understands the product, installation methods, and production and installation timelines. Managing expectation is half the battle,” admits Dey.
As a longtime supporter of Durst UV printers, Astek Wallcovering primarily employs a five-meter wide UV inkjet Durst Rho 512R Plus for its window applications. “The quality, speed, and ability to print white ink are specifically helpful in printing on clear window films,” comments Dey.
With its digital presses, Astek Wallcovering uses media from Lintec of America, Inc. For window media applications, the PSP often selects Lintec E-2104ZC UV-curable film. According to Dey, the UV-curable film is truly optically clear and allows the Durst UV inks to lay down efficiently. The wide width also enables the PSP to fit wider windows without requiring seams.
Astek Wallcovering’s window media applications do not require any finishing. Dey says this is a direct result of the digital printing process and UV ink combined with Lintec’s media. “With UV inks, our prints are durable enough for our applications.”
Window Media Succeeds
Whether it’s a value-added offering or the main application, window media promotes brands, decorates spaces, and advertises messages. As the capabilities of these substrates and digital printing devices expand and improve, so does customer interest.
Astek Wallcovering takes advantage of this interest and combines digitally printed wallcoverings with window media applications—offering a cohesive, complete solution for corporations, brands, and even home décor.
May2019, Digital Output