Next Printing has beefed up its ability to print textiles for the increasingly popular backlit light box display market, with the installation of the Asia Pacific region’s first HP Stitch S1000 dye sublimation printer.
The 3.2 metre wide press uses water-based dye sublimation inks and was chosen for its ability to print accentuated imagery with deep blacks and vivid colours using 1200 dpi printheads on textiles while at the same time reducing the impact on the environment during the production process.
The press, distributed in Australia by Quadient, can print at top speeds of 220 square metres per hour onto either dye sublimation transfer papers or 50 per cent polyester textile and can operate unassisted with 10 litre ink tanks installed.
Concerns around sustainability and environmental protection weigh heavily on the management and owners of Next Printing with managing director Romeo Sanuri telling Sprinter the company is constantly looking at ways to be more sustainable in the work it does.
“The HP Stitch S1000 has added to our capacity and also added something that the market has been asking for, which is backlit dye sublimation printing,” Sanuri told Sprinter from the factory in St Peters.
“Backlit signage attracts the customer and the size of the signs is so large that it draws in the shopper. Fifty per cent of the business is in retail, and clients, exhibitions and events also use a lot of light box features so this type of signage covers a number of different markets.
“We have been looking at more sustainable directions and believe that fabric is the way to go; we also wanted to increase our capacity.
“Traditionally light box fabrics have been printed using UV inks and we wanted to find a more sustainable option. The ink used in dye sublimation is basically water-based so there is less use of chemicals. UV printing is also green but not as green as dye-sub.”
Sanuri said the demand for fabrics for use in backlit light boxes is growing and prompted the need for the additional machine to complement Next Printing’s already substantial textile printing capacity.
“In terms of fabric printing, HP has reinvented dye sublimation printing. They have the Latex range but this is the first time they have developed a fabric printer from the ground up,” Sanuri said.
“Last year we had a call from HP telemarketing asking if we had heard about this printer and I did a search and learned then they had it at PrintEx so [Next Printing general manager Andrew Oskar] Andrew went to have a look at it.
“Then one of our team members went to the HP Centre of Excellence in Singapore for training.”
The press was installed at the end of last year and is now up and running without any issues.
HP released the Stitch S series last year and says the range features thermal inkjet printhead technology to reduce time and waste, and achieve repeatable, colour consistency.
The development of the Stitch range signalled HP’s entry into the textile printing of sportswear, fashion, interior decor and soft signage sectors.
The HP Stitch range is distributed in Australia through Quadient.
“Quadient has been very excited to work with Next Printing. They are a very well known customer in the industry especially with their dye sub work and they are a great customer to have,” Quadient national sales manager Morgan Quinn told Sprinter.
At the same time Next Printing also installed an Oce Colorado 1.65m roll to roll hybrid press.
Sanuri said the Oce is handling wallpaper and SAV vinyl printing and is particularly handy for shorter run production jobs.
“The Oce is mainly being used to print wallpapers and SAV vinyl, any time when we have a smaller quantity to print. It is very operator friendly and is running very well.”
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