Digital Output Jul 2024

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10 } A ractive Sustainability

Magnets’ Stance in the Green Debate

How it’s made, what it’s constructed of, and more. by Melissa Donovan

14 } Get in the Game

Multi-Substrate Printers—Textiles

Take advantage of fabric printing with one device. by Melissa Donovan

23 } Table Treatments and More

Textile-Based Media for Tabletops and Tablecloths

Functional signage takes messaging and branding to the next level. by Cassandra Balentine

Functional Graphics

What better use of digital print than environmental graphics, more specifically museum graphics—whether for a limited time exhibit or something longer term, wide format printing is ideal for these scenarios. This is personified in our cover story, which focuses on a recent exhibit that took up residence in the Boston Children’s Museum.

Olsen Images was tasked with creating durable, functional graphics that could withstand small hands and feet, as well as high traffic.

Olsen Images, Inc. based out of Waltham, MA was tasked with creating durable, functional graphics that could withstand small hands and feet, as well as high traffic. This included a photo booth-style piece, a pin-thetail on the donkey game, pretend play areas, and much more. Read about it in Mesmerizing Museum Graphics.

Elsewhere in this issue, we tackle functional graphics in the form of fabrics. Table Treatments and More looks at tabletops, awnings, and tablecloths. Choosing the right substrate for these applications means taking durability into account—from packing and unpacking to potential weather encounters when used outdoors.

Fabrics are also the topic of Get in the Game. Considering textiles, but not ready for the commitment of a dedicated device? Using a solvent-, UV-, or resin-based printer means print providers can offer a base level of fabric printing for trade show displays, banners, and polyester-based graphics.

Finally, magnets are covered in Attractive Sustainability. Manufacturers are committed to relaying how magnets are sustainable—manufacturing processes can easily minimize waste, which is ideal for the environment; certain components—such as rare earth—that make up the magnet are considered recyclable; and magnets are a multi-use substrate.


Thomas Tetreault


Melissa Donovan


Cassandra Balentine


Melissa Mueller


Sarah M. White


Olivia Cahoon, Tim Greene, Mark Hanley, Melinda Tetreault, Amber Watson



Thomas Tetreault


Amanda Doyon 978-921-7850, Ext. 170

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Laminators Unveils Pre-Cut Sign Blanks

Laminators Incorporated launches a new line of pre-cut sign blanks. Designed to meet the growing demand for ready-to-use signage solutions, these pre-cut sign blanks offer convenience, durability, and versatility for businesses and sign makers alike.

The new pre-cut sign blanks are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, accommodating a range of applications, from retail and advertising to safety and regulatory signage.

Panels are made using Laminators’ three-millimeter thick Omega-Bond Economy—a solid core ACM panel featuring one-side gloss white and one-side matte white painted aluminum bonded to a solid polyethylene core making them rigid yet lightweight. Manufactured using technology and the finest materials, these sign blanks are designed to ensure lasting performance and a professional finish. #160

SENFA Launches Products in PEARL Range

SENFA launches two new products in the PEARL range—compatible with all types of UV, latex, direct sublimation, and transfer inks.

PEARL ABSOLUTE BLACK is a smooth, soft touch, diffusing premium textile that guarantees high-quality frontlit graphics, ideal for visual communication. Easy to use, it can be printed on the textile side.

PEARL ABSOLUTE COLOR is a smooth, soft touch, diffusing premium textile that guarantees high-quality backlit graphics, ideal for visual communication. Easy to use, it can be printed on both sides.

The PEARL collection of easy-to-install, printable textile products offers ease of handling and installation, responding to the demand coming from distributors and printers. #161

Introducing HP Production Foamplus Board

The new HP Production Foamplus Board allows printers to create high-quality foamcore signs in a matter of seconds using their HP PageWide XL Pro printer.

HP Production Foamplus Board lets print service providers print just one sign or a large production run. Traditionally, foam board signs have been printed on bond paper and mounted to the foamcore. HP Production Foamplus Board prints directly to the board.

It’s lightweight and easy to transport. HP Production Foamplus Board resists compression and cuts clean by hand or with automated digital cutting equipment.

The versatility of this foamboard makes it the go-to solution for presentations and displays, as well as a valuable addition to any wide format print shop. #162

Canon U.S.A., Inc. Launches the colorWAVE T-Series and plotWAVE T-Series

Canon U.S.A. Inc. announces the next generation of its PlotWave large format printers for technical document printing and its ColorWave models, which also handle light graphic applications. Built on CrystalPoint and Radiant Fusing technologies, the Canon colorWAVE T-Series and plotWAVE T-Series combine the latest innovations in product design and controller technology to deliver highly productive printing systems that are designed to reliably and easily reproduce high-quality technical drawings or posters and point of sale output. All models include PRISMA Tech Suite—a new set of workflow solutions—as well as multiple I.T. security features. #163

Nekoosa Launches NextBond

Nekoosa announces NextBond UV-cured durable adhesive, a robust, eco-friendly, and costeffective alternative to traditional solvent-based adhesives for long-term print applications.

NextBond is a solvent-free, non-toxic durable adhesive solution. Nekoosa streamlined the product process by curing the NextBond adhesive inline with UV lamps and removing all hazardous waste and harmful volatile organic compounds. Also, NextBond will not shrink and maintains adhesion strength when exposed to challenging outdoor environmental and chemical conditions.

NextBond UV-cured, durable permanent and highpeel removable adhesive options are currently featured in three existing Nekoosa wide format product lines, and it will add these adhesives to more of the product lines. #164

1) Nekoosa announces its NextBond UV-cured durable adhesive solution, which is currently featured in three existing Nekoosa wide format product lines.

LexJet Debuts New Wallcoverings

LexJet, a division of S-One Holdings Corporation, introduces the new Timber Portfolio of wallcoverings. The new Oak catalog offers a versatile range of wallcoverings designed to elevate any space with sophistication and durability. It provides a unique, aesthetic look for various environments, from subtle textures to decorative cloth-like surfaces. Each wallcovering is a PVC-based substrate free from phthalates and is Type II-certified, guaranteeing a blend of style and eco-consciousness suitable for commercial and residential environments. The Oak catalog wallcoverings are compatible with latex, eco-solvent, solvent, and UV inks. #165

Epson’s Latest SureColor Now Available

Epson announces the availability of the SureColor F1070 hybrid printing solution. Ideal for garment decorators, entrepreneurs, artisan businesses, and print service providers, the easy-to-use printer is purpose built for both direct to garment (DTG)

and direct to film (DTF), supporting printing on a variety of materials and uniquely shaped products. The compact, cost-effective printer is designed to deliver high-quality output to empower designers to spend more time creating and honing their craft.

The SureColor F1070 combines outstanding image quality, easy operation, and incredibly flexible performance, all in one space-saving package. The elegant design showcases a minimalist exterior with transparent viewing panels for a captivating view of the printing process.

Featuring a PrecisionCore MicroTFP printhead with Nozzle Verification Technology coupled with UltraChrome DG2 ink with CMYK+Wh, the SureColor F1070 delivers vibrant colors and detail with amazing clarity. Leveraging a cartridge-free ink pack system that helps reduce ink replacement, the SureColor F1070 supports uninterrupted printing to help ensure consistent productivity and performance. #166

Mimaki New Ink Cartridge Packaging

Mimaki USA announces paper-based ink cartridge packaging, the latest initiative in Mimaki Engineering’s sustainability program. This new packaging replaces plastic housing for ink cartridges and is intended to reduce plastic waste and CO2 emissions. This project continues Mimaki Engineering’s progress towards its Sustainable Development Goals and provides customers with a more earthfriendly alternative.

The paper housing is used in SS21 eco-solvent 440ml ink cartridges for Mimaki CJV Series and JV Series eco-solvent graphic printers.

Mimaki Engineering established an in-house standard for plastic reduction rate and has achieved a reduction rate of 68 percent for the SS21 ink cartridge. This is expected to reduce the amount of plastic used by approximately 44 tons per year and CO2 emissions from the plastic manufacturing process by approximately 57 tons per year. #167

Give Retail Pro a Shot

Newlife Magnetics' focus on science and engineering has led to its success in leading the magnet industry through research and development of exciting new products that solve customer problems, increase efficiency, and improve customers' lives without harming the environment. Do you need a fresh way to display your graphics? Give the new Retail Pro a shot. Retail Pro is a micro-suction film that can adhere to various surfaces repeatedly, including, but not limited to, cars, windows, and countertops. Visit for more information. INFO# 168

Automate DTF Cu ing

Engineered and manufactured by Saga, the ExpressCutPRO digital die cutter reduces labor and increases profits by eliminating the time-consuming task of manually cutting direct to film (DTF) or UV DTF transfers. Featuring an integrated conveyor belt and quick response workflow, this allows for a fully unattended workflow experience. Increase your output while reducing operation costs with ExpressCutPRO DTF Cutters. Visit or contact Supply55, Inc. at 734-668-0755 and INFO# 169

Easy Decorative Edge Protection Installation

Trim USA’s Perimeter Trim System gives you the ability to quickly, easily, and inexpensively install decorative edge protection around your mounted images. This system eliminates the need for hand cutters, rulers, and markers, with little training needed to operate. Giving your mounted images a polished finish that adds value and distinguishes your work. The high-impact ABS plastic extrusions will not shrink or warp, which means that your work will last. Give us a call at 800-642-0959 or email us at INFO# 170


Mesmerizing Museum Graphics

Quick Look

Museum graphics benefit from digital printing technology. Whether the display is permanent or temporary, a basic backdrop or interactive, the right combination of media and ink offers attendees high-quality visuals as well as durability.

Boston Children’s Museum of Boston, MA often calls on local print service provider Olsen Images, Inc. of Waltham, MA to generate graphics for certain exhibits. Olsen Images specializes in presentational and display services, large format digital printing, as well as exhibit and sign fabrication.

In the Spring of 2024, the museum’s team connected with Dan Olsen to create backdrops of various shapes, sizes, and materials in additional to other applications for a limited-time exhibit.

Hundred Acre Wood: A Winnie-the-Pooh Experience allows families and their children to wander through the Hundred Acre Wood and visit popular scenes recreated from the original stories by A.A. Milne. These include photo opportunities, pretend play in various locations like gardens and kitchens, a building site, and more.

Attendees can also learn about the story behind Winniethe-Pooh through information provided on the graphics.

...the right combination of media and ink offers attendees high-quality visuals as well as durability.

Sponsored by The Paper Store, Hundred Acre Wood: A Winnie-the-Pooh Experience runs from mid-May through the beginning of September. It celebrates Boston Children’s Museum’s main message, “engaging children and families in joyful discovery experiences that instill an appreciation of our world, develop foundational skills, and spark a lifelong love of learning.” D

1 & 2) Olsen Images, Inc. of Waltham, MA was contracted by Boston Children’s Museum to create graphics for a recent exhibit.

Significant Finishing Investment Bringing Jobs In House

Print World is a family run shop based in Fort Worth, TX. Shawn Petrie saw an opportunity to begin his own shop with his wife Amy more than 30 years ago when the business where he was working closed, leaving a customer base and no one to service it. Both he and wife still run and operate the day to day.

Winning Business

To compete in a busy market, it comes down to customer service, competitive pricing, and quick turnaround. Print World made the investment a couple of years ago to move to digital in lieu of traditional offset printing because it was less expensive and no one was doing large runs any longer.

It came across Graphic Whizard USA, Inc. in 2020 and made a significant investment in finishing equipment. Graphic Whizard’s dealer in TX, James Tucciarone of Bindery Solutions, is a terrific partner. He helped the Petries build a shop able to fulfil customer demands quickly and accurately.

Currently, Print World employs two 8336SCCM slit/cut/ creasers, a 335 AKF crease/knife folder, a 33LSC laminator/slit/cut, and corner rounder in house from Graphic

Whizard. It also just invested in a Graphic Whizard DF0604 flatbed digital die cutter.

Identifying Opportunity

Petrie identifies some of the biggest opportunities in the printing industry today involving large format, which is why the shop purchased the Graphic Whizard DF0604.

“We have seen a number of opportunities relating to large format that we used to send out and a few months ago we invested in a flatbed digital die cutter from Graphic Whizard so that we could keep the business in house,” explains Petrie. It is important to acknowledge and stay on top of trends as well as a rapidly evolving marketplace. If you don’t customers will go elsewhere.

Partner with Graphic Whizard

Graphic Whizard along with James Tucciarone at Bindery Solutions helped position Print World to be competitive and remain current with the ever-evolving demands of the digital marketplace.

To achieve success similar to Print World, reach out to Graphic Whizard at or sales@ D

1) Left to right: long time employees of Print World, Alex, Olga, and Luis. 2) Bryan, another employee of Print World, next to its Graphic Whizard DF0604 flatbed digital die cutter.

Magnets’ Stance in the Green Debate

hen it comes to being eco-conscious, reinventing how and what products are used in a print shop isn’t necessary. Examine what is already in house and used on a daily basis. Take magnets for example. Magnetic signage is inherently sustainable as a multi-use product, especially compared to single-use graphics.

In addition, what magnets are made up of and how they are manufactured aid in their sustainability. Finally, magnets are also

recyclable depending on what materials they consist of.

How It’s Made

Understanding how magnets are manufactured is helpful in providing a clearer view on the connection between magnets and sustainability.

Brian Ebenger, VP of business development, XCEL, explains that the manufacturing process for a flexible magnet includes milling, mixing, calendaring, and extruding. “Flexible magnets are typically made from a combination of thermoplastic elastomers and rubber

compounds mixed with ferrite powders and magnetized to give

Flexible magnets are manufactured with “a magnetic powder that is added to a binder and then calendered, laminated with PVC or PET, and wound on a roll that can be ran through a roll-to-roll printer. The rolls of magnet can also be cut into sheets,” shares Matthew Adams, sales executive NA, Newlife Magnetics LLC.

The PVC or PET face allows the magnet to be printed to.

In addition to including printable surfaces to the body of the magnet so that is compatible with various printing technologies, the magnet may also feature characteristics “such as additional stiffness, flexibility, and temperature resistance to provide excellent performance in a range of customer applications,” adds Ebenger.

Recycling Options

Depending on a magnet’s construction and end use, it may be considered recyclable.

Arnold Magnetic Technologies Corporation and Cyclic Materials are collaborating to develop a rare earth recycling program, creating a circular supply chain for rare earth materials. Arnold Magnetic produces permanent magnets made from rare earth materials. Cyclic Materials’ recycling capabilities allow for the reuse of rare earth materials reclaimed from magnets. While previous recycling measures only reclaim select elements, Cyclic Materials plans to recycle all elements from Arnold Magnetic’s supply feed to offer a broader range of recycled materials at a much higher yield. This includes Arnold Magnetic’s FlexCoat-EZ. This product is 100 percent recyclable.

According to a blog post by Magnum Magnetics Corporation, while many magnets are produced from non-renewable rare earth metals, their environmental impact is offset by their ability to be infinitely recycled. Permanent magnets can be recycled in device after device,

though many people don’t recycle them because they are unaware of their potential.

Ebenger shares that magnetic material is easily recyclable.

“Magnetics typically have a white PVC face but now have PVC-free options. However, regardless of the face stock, magnetics can be recycled and re-milled into fresh magnet for future use.”

XCEL uses a variety of recycled raw materials in the production of flexible magnetic material, low volatile organic compound adhesive systems for applying print surfaces to magnet, and provides scrap return programs where customers return unused or scrap magnet so the material can be fully recycled in the magnet making process. Recycling is done with both plain magnetic extrusion or sheeting as well as with certain sheeting products with recyclable films.

“Magnets with a PVC print face on them are not recyclable, but magnets with a PET print face can be recycled for waste to energy,” notes Adams.

Newlife Magnetics’ Printmag

Ultrawide magnet has a PET print surface that allows it to be recycled. In addition, the highenergy 20-mil Printmag features a PET print surface and can replace standard 30-mil PVC-faced magnet for car sign applications. Both products are solvent, UV, and latex compatible.

Another example is Adams Magnetic Products’ GreenMAG.

A durable, proprietary printable coating is applied directly to the magnet sheet. GreenMAG doesn’t contain phthalates and is completely recyclable. Also, the company encourages users to return scrap material and Adams will use it to manufacture more GreenMAG.

Multi-Use Graphics

Sustainability extends beyond recyclability. As a multi-use product, digitally printed magnetic signage is more sustainable than single-use graphics.

“Yes, magnetic signage is easily recyclable but it can also be reused depending on the graphics/message. If there are repeating promotions year after year, magnetic vinyl can be stored and reused as needed,” shares Ebenger.

Accessibility is key. “If you have seasonal graphics, they can easily be stored for use the next season. With the right system, they can be stored under the graphics that are currently being used,” agrees Stephen McLevey, business development and Flexmag commercial manager, Arnold Magnetic.

“Magnets are also a sustainable alternative to many single-use products. In retail and commercial spaces, magnets are ideal for replacing single-use items such as stickers, paper banners, and tape. Magnets are a reusable alternative to traditional printed advertising that can last for years. They can help businesses become more sustainable and boost their bottom line when used sparingly as a reusable

alternative,” as noted from the Magnum Magnetics blog post.

The repositionability of a magnetic graphic is also important.

Ease of install allows it to be used repeatedly. “Magnetic graphics can be repositioned repeatedly, unlike adhesive- or static-based media that lose their tack or

charge over time. Magnet receptive media allows the printer to update existing graphics without having to reprint the entire display, by layering printed updates on top of the old base graphic,” notes Adams.

Keeping Aware

Connecting sustainability with magnets relies on education.

Ebenger believes the positive connotation between magnets and sustainability is something that needs to be better communicated in the industry. “Education is critical as the graphics industry rapidly changes and there is more interest in a ‘green’ initiative. Focus typically starts with plastics so magnetic is usually ignored.”

“Through education and communicating with customers on the sustainability and recyclability of magnetic material is how we’ll spread the word,” adds McLevey.

In addition to this, manufacturers like the ones mentioned in this article continue to be forwardthinking in how to create as well as maintain sustainable materials.

Newlife Magnetics constantly looks for ways to make its magnetic products more useful and sustainable. “We use recycled content in our magnet-receptive media and that media can be recycled for waste to energy. We are moving away from PVC-faced magnetics as much as possible and turning to more sustainable laminates that are universally printable with solvent, UV, and latex printers,” shares Adams.

An example, its Platinum magnet receptive, which contains 32.4 percent recycled content and is PVC free.

“The future of sustainability regarding flexible magnets is driven by the selection of the raw materials used to formulate the magnet material and print surfaces, the manufacturing processes used to produce the magnets, and the end-of-life recyclability of the magnetic material,” explains Ebenger.

XCEL follows lean manufacturing philosophies to minimize waste, which helps prevent overproduction and decreases demands for raw materials and energy needed for production.

Commitment to Magnets

What magnets are constructed of, how they are manufactured, and whether or not they can be recycled is evolving. Companies commit to manufacturing processes with a focus on minimizing waste and educating print providers on the benefits of a multi-use substrate. One thing is for certain—manufacturers are relaying how magnets are sustainable. D

any print providers aren’t textile printers. Their background and majority of their services focus on vinyl, banner, and even rigid board. However, with the continued interest in fabric printing, these same print service providers (PSPs) are looking for a way to get into the game.

Committing to a dedicated textile printer can be a big investment. As an alternative,

it is worth considering a wide format digital printer that can print to all materials—including textiles. This allows for the creation and solicitation of multiple applications output from the same piece of hardware.

Solid Option

Depending on a PSP’s current customer base and perhaps if they have an idea in mind on what kind of fabric and applications will be requested by future clients,

a multi-substrate compatible printer that can print to textiles offers both advantages as well as disadvantages.

There are a number of positives when it comes purchasing a multi-substrate compatible printer, according to David Lopez, product manager, Professional Imaging, Epson America. These include customer retention, streamlined training process, consistency in ink costs and supplies, and versatility in projects.

Customer retention is a great advantage. “By having the ability to print to multiple substrates PSPs accommodate more customer needs and maintain consistent color and control over projects and reduce required outsourcing,” shares Lopez.

Controlling costs, which aligns with reducing time and resources is another benefit. One printer means employees focus their training on one piece of equipment. Also, with a single device, “maintaining a consistent ink supply enhances operations efficiency and reduces downtime associated with keeping inventory

and locating different ink sets,” adds Lopez.

“Having this type of versatile machine allows the user to handle textile jobs as well as many other applications for a variety of different markets with a single device, reducing capital expenditure on equipment,” agrees Brian Brooks, manager of product management, Roland DGA Corporation.

The disadvantages of using a multi-substrate printer for textile applications lie within the details of specific textile output requirements. “Customers should keep in mind, that while

multi-substrate printers can print on both traditional materials and textiles, they may not always deliver the specialized performance of dedicated textile machines for specific highvolume textiles or heavy-duty application,” adds Brooks.

Limited specialty features are another challenge. “Dedicated textile printers leverage ink that is compatible with a wider variety of textiles, ranging from cotton to polyester and accommodate specific colors—such as florescent pink, florescent yellow, red, and orange—to expand the color gamut output and meet the color

requirements of ever-changing apparel trends,” notes Lopez.

While the real benefit is producing additional applications with existing equipment, there are limitations, agrees Matt Loede, director – large format, textile and software, Durst Image Technology US, LLC. “For example, some of the main disadvantages of UV printing on textiles is the inability to handle very stretchy textiles well, the UV ‘feel’ of ink on the graphic, and the foldability/handling of textiles printed with UV are less ideal compared to when printed with dedicated dye-sublimation (dye-sub) printers.”

Josh Hope, director, marketing, Mimaki USA, Inc., points out that alternatively a dedicated textile printer—specifically one built with dye-sub ink—allows for printing to other substrates in addition to fabrics. “For example, transfer dye-sub can be used to produce graphics on hard surfaces such as metals, plaques, glass, and specially-coated panels for industrial décor.”

Beyond Traditional Ink

Eco-solvent, solvent, latex/resin, and UV ink are all used for digital fabric printing.

Eco-solvent “machines are capable of using heat transfer media, which allows for printing on a diverse array of materials, including textiles. They are also ideal for a range of additional applications, including signage, decals/ stickers, window graphics, and vehicle graphics,” says Brooks.

Mutoh America, Inc. offers a sustainable solvent ink, MP31, which runs in its ValueJet 1628MH. This ink set is designed to adhere to nearly all substrates. “The ValueJet 1628MH prints to rigid media up to a half-inch thick. It also prints to most roll medias including coated fabric. Versatility is

Mutoh ValueJet 1628MH’s most desirable aspect as it will print on more substrates than UV and eco-solvent,” shares Ken Parsley, product manager, Mutoh.

Latex or what is also referred to as resin-based ink can also be used for textile printing. Epson’s line of SureColor R-Series 64-inch roll-to-roll printers utilize UltraChrome RS Resin ink technology, a water-based ink formulation that adheres to various substrates, including natural fiber textiles like cotton.

“Unlike solvent-based signage printers, resin-based printers support output on a variety of materials without requiring special coating—including textiles— making them a cost-effective solution for print shops. Resin ink technology also offers productivity benefits. The water-based ink produces output ready for immediate lamination, thereby accelerating project turnaround time regardless of the substrate. Furthermore, resin ink emits no volatile organic compounds or unpleasant orders, and aligns with many sustainable printing practices and regulations required by some clients, regardless of substrates,” shares Lopez.

Roland also offers a resin/latex printer—the TrueVIS AP-640— that can be used with various textile applications in addition to printing on more common substrates like vinyl, banner material, and backlit film. “It’s a great choice for PSPs who want to fulfill customer textile orders as well as many other types of jobs with a single device,” shares Daniel

Valade, product manager of digital print, Roland.

John Ingraham, senior product marketing specialist, Canon U.S.A., Inc., says PSPs work with latex as well as UV printers for printing textiles. “These printers make it possible to print without a two-step print and heat press process, saving time and material waste of transfer paper.”

The Canon Colorado M-series with UVgel inks can print on a range of roll-to-roll media including banner material, photo paper, transparent and metallic films, and some textiles.

“For PSPs looking to provide a bit of printed textiles perhaps to give their current clients a ‘onestop shop,’ UV printers can print on many textile materials providing acceptable adhesion and great image quality and fidelity,” adds Loede.

Roland TrueVIS LG and MG series UV printer/cutters also print on textile materials. “With these UV printer/cutters, PSPs can have outstanding versatility, as they allow for not only full-color printing but also the printing of white and gloss inks for textural and dimensional effects directly onto textiles,” explains Jay Roberts, product manager – UV printers, Roland.

Application Focus

Fabric-based applications that are a fit for multi-substrate compatible printers revolve around décor or soft signage.

“Most common fabric applications are polyester based, and

1) Roland TrueVIS LG series UV printer/cutters print on textile material.

a lot of those are décor applications. However, as ink sets become more versatile and media coatings improve cotton, canvas, and linen applications are becoming more common in resin/latex and UV printing,” explains Valade.

According to Lopez, the best fabric-based applications for a multi-substrate printer are soft signage applications such as trade show displays and banners, as well as wall applications including wall papers.

For UV in particular, Loede says most frontlit applications, silicone edge graphics, backdrops,

canvas, tent, and awning applications are well suited for UV printing. Stretchy applications, folded applications, and soft, subtle upholstery and décor applications can be challenging with UV ink.

Textile printing with UV ink is limited to banners and flag applications, states Ingraham. Apparel applications are better handled with dye-sub, direct to garment, or direct to fabric printers, he admits.

“When using a multi-substrate printer, although it’s compatible with textiles and cotton substrates, in general Epson

does not recommend producing wearable textiles. Apparel has specific ink requirements and standards, and not all multisubstrate printers have met the stringent criteria, making them a less suitable option for printing wearable textiles where regulatory standard is paramount,” advises Lopez.

Eco-solvent machines that work with heat transfer media would not do well in the creation of “applications that require deep fabric penetration, such as traditional dyeing processes for outdoor fabrics, might not achieve optimal results with heat

transfer media, and would be better served by dedicated textile machines,” admits Brooks.

Material Look

When it comes to fabric printing, there are many substrate options, like polyester, cotton, and everything in between. Coated materials help to extend the range of compatible substrates.

Lopez believes there are two major factors to consider before choosing a textile that is applicable with a roll-to-roll printer. “The first consideration is the stretch of the material. Since tension is required to run roll to roll,

you can only utilize textiles with a two-way stretch in the horizontal direction. If you use a four-way stretch textile, the image will look distorted. The second factor is the porosity of the textile. Ink can penetrate the textile and stain the printer’s platen, causing unwanted ink smearing on the backside of the textile.”

Coated fabrics are more common in terms of versatility. For example, “there are many coated fabrics available that will work with the Mutoh ValueJet 1628MH. Uncoated fabrics will be a problem for solvent-based ink as it will sink into the fabric and produce an unacceptable output,” recommends Parsley.

“Most textiles that are robust, coated, and dimensionally stable are a good fit for multi-substrate compatible printers because they can hold up to the feeding of the press and the ink/substrate adhesion. Most uncoated and stretch products are a challenge to process on multi-substrate compatible printers because those printers lack the advanced handling of a dedicated textile printer,” agrees Loede.

Minimal Investment

Multi-substrate printers that include textiles in their repertoire are ideal for PSPs looking to offer customers a base level of fabricbased printing. Applications like soft signage are often created using eco-solvent, solvent, UV, and latex/resin ink. It is advantageous for any PSP catering to its current clientele while expanding into new markets with minimal equipment spend. D

A = Acid

AQ = Aqueous

CM = Contact Manufacturer

D = Disperse

DDP = Direct Digital Print

DDS = Direct Dye-Sublimation

DS = Dye-Sublimation

PIGM = Pigment

REA = Reactive

RES = Resin

SUB = Sublimation

TDS = Transfer Dye-Sub

WB = Water-Based

122 Mosaica Group (The) Panthera Panthera

123 MS Printing Solutions


t is the season for community events. From farmer’s markets to music festivals, road races, and craft fairs, there is no doubt that outdoor activities are popular in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Gatherings like these often attract vendors from near and far to promote products, services, and brands. This is done with the help of printed graphics on functional and easy-to-assemble items like tabletop banners, tents, awnings, and tablecloths/table throws.

These products are generally used multiple times, so they must withstand storage, travel, packing, and unpacking. The possibility that they will be utilized for short-term outdoor use should be taken into account when selecting the materials, inks, and printing process.

Textile Selection

Certain fabrics are well suited for promotional applications like printable tabletops and tents. Media selection depends on the ultimate end use.

Tabletops and tents are commonly used to present branding and messaging at events, some of which may be held outdoors. These purposeful graphics are typically reused for short spans of time. They should be durable enough to withstand travel, shipping, packaging, and repacking.

“The ideal fabric media for tabletops and tents depends on the environment. For outdoor settings, a polyester fabric treated with a durable water resistant (DWR) coating is

by Cassandra Balentine

recommended. This coating protects the fabric from rain by causing water to bead up on the surface instead of being absorbed into the fabric. This feature is especially useful for tents, as it ensures that people and items under the tent remain dry even during inclement weather. For stretch tabletops, the fabric’s stretch and recovery is a key characteristic to enable a tight fit around the frame and give a smooth, seamless appearance,” shares Sharon Roland, director of marketing, Fisher Textiles Inc.

For these applications, Ken Bach, business development

director, Aberdeen Fabrics, Inc., recommends a lightweight fabric known as soft knit, which weighs approximately five ounces. He points out that tent fabric, sourced from China, may offer waterproofing but often lacks stretchability.

Tablecloths and table throws are another popular promotional printed fabric.

To protect tablecloths from spills during dining, Roland suggests selecting a fabric treated with DWR. However, if food and drinks are not involved, a polyester heavy knit fabric can be used instead, as it is typically

less expensive and just as effective. “It is also helpful for tablecloths to have wrinkle-resistant qualities, which can eliminate the need for ironing or steaming,” she adds.

Bach points out that typically, table throws are designed for indoor use; however, the same fabric can also be used outdoors when necessary. “Printed fabric, especially, is well suited for short-term outdoor applications.”

For fabric-based, functional signage used outdoors withstanding the elements is a necessity.

“Fabric is ideal for short-term outdoor applications, particularly for durations under six months, as both the fabric itself and dye-sublimation (dye-sub) ink can be adversely affected by UV rays over prolonged exposure. Despite this limitation, using fabric outdoors offers numerous advantages, including ease of installation, reduced glare, sustainability, and efficient shipping,” explains Bach.


One major benefit of textilebased signage is its ability to be reused. However, proper care and consideration must be taken

into account for these items to live out their expected lifespan.

In terms of print processes, Jeff Mills, fabric product manager, Beaver Paper & Graphic Media Inc., points out that dye-sub printing is an excellent way to have the colors embedded in the fabric. “The fabric can easily be washed in case the tabletops get dirty without losing vibrancy or durability.”

Roland shares that DWR treatment typically lasts around 50 washings. “The print should last even longer if not used for long periods of time outdoors and stored inside a cool, dark place.”

Bach points out that when printing isn’t tailored to a specific event, displays can be reused for years. Fabric—being washable and foldable—is particularly resilient, minimizing the risk of damage during removal.

Tabletops used for trade shows or special occasions may have a use of two to three times before they are discarded, comments Mills.

Round Up

Many media manufacturers offer printable textiles that are well suited for promotional items like tabletop banners and tents, tablecloths, table throws, and awnings.

Aberdeen prides itself on offering a range of table throws that excel in both lightweight high opacity and snug, stretchy fits for various table styles. “What truly distinguishes us is our commitment to sustainable manufacturing practices,”

shares Bach. “We revolutionized our processes to produce fabric without generating any wastewater or releasing microplastics into the water stream during manufacturing. This dedication to sustainability makes our fabric one of the most eco-friendly choices in the market.”

Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, Inc. offers Accent Soft Knit 5 FR, a medium weight 100 percent polyester warp knit fabric, commonly referred to as a celtic cloth. This fabric has a bright white shade, while demonstrating great wrinkle resistance and outstanding printability. Accent Soft Knit 5 FR is treated to meet the NFPA 701 small scale flammability standard. A UV and dye-sub transfer printable fabric, either side is compatible for printing.

Beaver Paper’s TexStyles Soft Knit polyester fabric is well suited for flat or contoured structures, decorative accents, overhead signage, and wall murals. Soft Knit is available for dye-sub transfer and direct to film. It is 100 percent polyester, offers vivid color reproduction, very stable with minimal shrinkage, and meets NFPA 701.

“Beaver Paper has always suggested Soft Knit to be used as a fabric for tabletops as a dye-sub solution. In the past two years we have suggested our TexStyles NatureSeries Soft Knit in alignment with our focus on sustainable fabrics,” shares Mills.

Because a tabletop (drape) typically has a limited number of

times they are used before they are discarded in a landfill, Mills suggests its TexStyles NatureSeries Soft Knit fabric because of the enhanced biodegradability feature. “A typical polyester fabric will take hundreds of years to biodegrade in a landfill and our fabric will biodegrade at the same rate as a natural fiber like wool. This enhanced biodegradability is a result of an additive called CiCLO, which is added during the yarn manufacturing process.”

Mills adds that the fabric is not a waterproof product to be used for the outdoors.

For outdoor tents, Fisher Textiles offers GF 1010 Element, a bright white, 100 percent polyester fabric with a DWR treatment that is sturdy and excellent for outdoor banners. Stocked 125 inches wide, it weighs 8 ounces per square yard. Roland

says a more sustainable option for table tops and tents is its ET 5351 Waterfall, made with 100 percent post-consumer recycled polyester and treated with DWR. It contains 48.7 (500 ml) recycled water bottles per linear yard. Stocked 125 inches wide, it weighs 7.7 ounces per square yard.

For tabletops, Fisher Textiles’ GF 5019 Symmetry features a nice stretch and contains ten percent Spandex. Stocked 126 inches wide, it is 5 ounces per square yard. “We also offer this fabric in black with no-bleed yarns that are 100 percent colorfast and won’t fade when washed,” shares Roland.

For tablecloths, Fisher Textiles’ GF 5355 Cascade is the softest waterproof product that the company offers. Stocked 122 inches wide, it weighs 6.9 ounces per square yard. A heavy knit

option for tablecloths is GF 1708 Heavy Knit, it is wrinkle resistant and moderately opaque. Stocked 126 inches wide, it weighs 6.8 ounces per square yard. The company also offers this in a “green” version, ET 9708 Heavy Knit made with 100 percent post-consumer recycled polyester and contains 40 recycled water bottles per linear yard. “One thing that sets us apart from the competition is that we are very generous in our sample policy and want customers to test and approve fabrics before purchase,” adds Roland.

Now with the acquisition of Verseidag, Serge Ferrari Group has become a one-stop shop for nearly all textile print media. From indoor and outdoor advertising such as retail/point of purchase displays, wallcoverings and exhibits, to printable awnings and building facades membranes, Serge Ferrari offers a variety of options, including PVC and phthalate free, GreenGuard and OEKO-TEX certified, Reach compliant, and recyclability at the end of service life.

TVF is a leading supplier of outdoor print media fabric. Only attractive, consistent materials are selected for use. Quality vinyl print media fabrics make excellent frontlit displays due to strong, waterproof constructions. Mesh fabric has an open

build to allow airflow, making it a smart choice for banners or building wraps in windy regions. Many of its lightweight polyester outdoor fabrics feature mildewand UV-resistant properties optimal for flags and banners.

UFabrik Tent Textile is a heavyweight woven textile that is both water and airtight. It features a lotus-effect print face, making it the preeminent textile for gazebos, marquees, canopies, tents, and outdoor event graphics. It also boasts 80 percent plus opacity—highly advantageous to these types of applications. UFabrik Tent Textile is designed for direct or paper transfer without any ink offset when wet and can be stored without issues.

Ultraflex Systems Inc.’s VorTex Soft Stretch T222 is a 6.48 oz. knitted polyester fabric optimized for dye-sub transfer printing. It is more opaque than comparable stretch products on the market, which allows the product to be used in a range of applications; especially in installations where opacity is needed to hide frame and tubing structures. VorTex Soft Stretch T222 is fire resistant and available up to 126 inches wide.

Digitally Printed Textiles

Many textiles are utilized for functional signage like tabletops, awnings, and tablecloths. Depending on the intended end use, considerations for durability take into account packing and unpacking and potential weather when used short-term outdoors. D

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