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Fabric’s Endless Possibilities

(January 2012) posted on Tue Jan 24, 2012

Big Image Systems pursues fabric printing on a grand scale.

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By Mike Antoniak

For last year’s Association of Fundraising Professionals conference in Chicago, Lindqvist and his staff worked with event planner Leading Authorities on set design and production, with all work printed on fabric. In keeping with the event theme, “Fundraisers are Story Tellers,” they collaborated on a 35-foot stage backdrop designed to represent an open book. Keynote speakers – including former president Bill Clinton – entered the stage through a cutout in that polyester curtain, stepping out of the book’s pages to share their stories.

“Printing is the most straightforward part of many of these projects,” notes Lindqvist. “But we can also advise clients on the artwork, the best fabric, even the packaging as well as the installation. We have a lot of capabilities in house.”

Utilizing, and creating, technology
For Big Image Systems, “in-house” means either of two production facilities in Europe: one in Taby, outside Stockholm, and another near Berlin. Together, the European operations employ more than 60 people. The American sales office functions as contact point for clients here, and is staffed by Lindqvist as well as an account executive and an artwork/production manager.

Throughout Europe, the comapny is a recognized specialist in printing on fabric and flexible materials for the theater, corporate, and retail markets. Here in the States, business is divided between clients in the entertainment industry and corporate events.

“Many of our US clients come to us initially because they are looking for something beyond what their current large-format print provider can handle due to size or complexity,” notes Lindqvist. He estimates US sales around $2 million in 2011.

To meet clients’ varied demand, the company has a mix of the latest in wide- and grand-format presses at its European facilities. Which printer gets used depends on the usual mix of factors, including size of the job, as well as material required. As Lindqvist explains, the company’s Gandinnovations AquaJet (now Agfa) dye-sub printer can handle rollfed polyesters up to 10-feet wide. Two Durst Rho 350 UV printers are used for printing backlit images on polyesters and foil projection screens. For polyesters up to 16-foot wide, and for grand-format vinyl, the company’s EFI Vutek UltraVu 5300 handles the job. Finishing is handled with Zünd 10-foot-wide cutting machines.