Sign & Digital Graphics

February '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • February 2019 • 65 Clients also use Mutoh machines to print wall coverings and clothing. The company is trying to get some people involved in automotive to do seat cov- ers and headliners, which are more per- sonalized products that a smaller printer would be a good fit for, he adds. Direct-to-textile is also used heavily in P. O. P. sig- nage, trade show graphics, museum fine art prints, ban- ners, flags, fabrics for cus- tom clothing and interior design. Jason Bartusick, product development, strategic plan- ning for Media One USA, says that along with flags, backlit graphics are a good use of direct-to-textile dye sub- limation because "dye sub backlits have better satu- ration than they do with transfer." A benefit of using trans- fer paper is that if you have a problem with the machine printing the paper, sublimating can hide the prob- lems. When people bring up the cost differ- ences of transfer paper vs. direct-to-tex- tile printing, he says that transfer paper costs anywhere from 5 cents to 12 cents per square foot depending on the weight of the paper. On the direct side, it costs about 1.5 cents extra per square foot for a direct disperse coating, he says. "A lot of people get this perception that coated fabric is super expensive, but everyone is already using coated fabrics. That's the funny part," he says. "Everybody is using coated fabrics. Everybody. There is not a single cus- tomer in the industry that uses a fabric that is not fire retardant." So it doesn't take that much time to add one more chemical to the textiles before printing direct, he adds. "From a quality perspective, I'd say transfer is going to give you a little tighter image and just a little tighter on text," he says, although the difference is so minute he doesn't think it really matters. Any material that touches your skin should be done with transfer paper, he adds. If the large print is going to be out- doors, direct-to-textile has better dura- bility than transfer paper. Another advantage of using transfer paper is that you can do smaller runs, Bartusick says. As for the cost of the machines, he says they are equivalent. If a shop has never done textile printing before, he says it is a 3-month to 6-month learning curve. He also recommends that shops seek out a good company to help them with the finishing process, like sewing or welding. SDG The transfer process is a great way to deal with fabrics that stretch, such as sportswear. (Image courtesy of Mimaki) The Mimaki TS55-1800 Press. (Image courtesy of Mimaki)

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