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A Fabric Printing Appraisal

(January 2017) posted on Tue Jan 10, 2017

Dye sublimation or direct-to-fabric?

By Darek Johnson

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PVS In-Store Graphics recently purchased an EFI Vutek® FabriVU 340 digital fabric printer that permits either direct or transfer print imaging, meaning it will print directly on fabric, or on transfer paper to sublimate onto fabric or rigid surfaces. EFI says the 2,400 dpi, 11.1-ft.-wide printer produces Pantone-accurate colors at speeds up to 5,381 sq. ft./hr. Built by EFI’s Reggiani textile printer operations in Italy, the FabriVU machine displays serial number one, which tells of PVS’ aggressiveness in adopting new technologies. To supplement the FabriVU, PVS added a Monti Antonio roll-to-roll heat press, a laser-cutting table and an Impulsa Synchromatic ECO sewing system to finish digitally printed textiles for fabric-based displays and signage. The 30,000-sq.-ft. facility also builds custom displays (it houses a metal and wood shop), packaging and more.

Shinn said PVS works with fabric-framing and extrusion manufacturers to design and construct structural frames for its fabric displays. He also noted that his firm beta tests Vutek printers for EFI, and owns a Vutek GS3250 LX, as well as a Vutek HS100 Pro UV-cure printer.

The HS100 Pro offers true grayscale imaging with six color + white ink channels (or an eight-color option) and variable matte or gloss finish for a broad color gamut and greater photographic image quality. PVS applies its print to indoor and outdoor signage, as well as backlit, display, POP, poster and exhibition signage.

The GS3250LX, a production-level UV LED hybrid, features an eight-color inkset (CMYKcmyk) + white, up to 1,000 dpi, and a print speed up to 2,400 sq. ft./hr. It can accommodate flexible or rigid substrates up to 126.5 in. wide and can simultaneously process two 60-in. rolls.

Shinn said PVS employees enjoy technically complex production work, especially when conceptualizing, design-ing and producing brand items for large-name manufacturers. For example, the company recently produced 200 custom packaging boxes for the Leatherman Tread multi-tool, which required extensive handwork. It has also produced innovative, hinged cedar boxes that hold Adidas’ $125, limited edition, Crazy 8 Brooklyn Nets shoes that the retailer distributed to prominent athletes. PVS also works with Chrome Industries, a maker of sports bags, footwear and apparel, which recently contracted with PVS to produce 30 wood, pipe frame and soft signage displays for REI stores nationwide. PVS digitally printed Chrome company signage on the fabric and plywood end caps.

Robin Donovan, Signs’ editor-in-chief, recently visited PVS. She said the Portland firm works with numerous brand names, ad agencies and environment organizations, and the company claims its success stems from a focus on unique design and fabrication work that’s accompanied by quick turnaround times. Robin said PVS also encourages its employees to create unique artwork during any down-times, to keep their creativity and enthusiasm going.


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