November '20

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1 8 G R A P H I C S P R O N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M are also desktop printers that producers can consider for much shorter run goals. For finishing equipment, volume consider- ations also help determine what kind of equip- ment a shop needs. "Heat calenders or presses are available from a countertop scale (for single T-shirts as an example) to wide-format, large drum calenders for high-speed dye-sublimation heat transfer and direct disperse printing," notes Compton. With the cutting process, producers can opt for everything from hand-cutting with a hot knife or scissors, all the way up to auto- mated rotary and laser cutting equipment for large-scale production. Sewing equipment is also primarily depen- dent on volume. This ranges from single sew- ing machines to highly automated sewing tables, which belt-feed fabric through mounted sewing equipment with minimum labor necessary to complete print projects, Compton says. TAPPING INTO THE MARKET Even with the newest and timeliest trends in dye-sub textiles, parties agree that any producer interested in tapping into the market should keep in mind that there's still some preparation involved. "The easiest thing in sublimation is (to) the buy the equipment," contends Huebner. "The hardest thing is to become an actual 'sublimator.'" Shops first need to figure out all the issues they can come across and then try and seek a niche, he advises. Roland recommends that shops use social media as a platform to get the word out if they're interested in garnering more attention from clients on their dye-sub- limation services. "Shops should utilize social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and LinkedIn to showcase their work, even if it is only a prototype, and spark interest for these types of applications among their customer base," she says. Parties also agree that one of the most actionable ways producers can get a strong foothold in the dye-sub textiles market is consulting with their suppliers and man- ufacturers. These companies generally have a solid understanding of what's trend- ing and the ability to suggest the appropriate textile for the right job and applica- tion. Print service providers should contact experts regarding all dye-sublimation textile product categories, urges Compton. Conferring with the experts on dye-sublimated textiles helps producers expand their print business and grow revenue streams, even in an uncertain era where traditional sublimated goods might not be as heavily in demand. GP MIKE CLARK is the contributing editor for GRAPHICS PRO and RV PRO magazines. He previously served as the associate editor for Printwear and Sign & Digital Graphics magazines. Contact him at Top: Manufacturers now offer dye-sub textiles designed for customizable wallcoverings. (Image courtesy Top Value Fab- rics.) Above: Face masks also continue to trend and provide a customizable good that producers can sell to a wide swath of clients and markets. (Image courtesy Top Value Fabrics) Even with the traditional trade show market limited during the current time, shops can still use dye-sublimated textiles to produce vibrant, detailed signage for clients. (Image courtesy Roland DGA) WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TRENDING NICHE MARKETS IN THE GRAPHICS INDUSTRY? GET SOME IDEAS HERE:

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