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Focused on Fabrics

(September 2012) posted on Thu Aug 30, 2012

Dye Into Print continues to stay one step ahead of its clients’ dye-sub needs.

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By Mike Antoniak

Routine orders for Dye Into Print might be considered milestone projects by smaller shops. Physically, the largest single piece Dye Into Print has produced was a 38 x 56-foot tradeshow banner on vinyl. For another tradeshow, the company produced a series of zippered prints of a client’s products on stretch-knit polyester then fabricated the hardware to assemble 10 x 20-foot cubes (which were suspended from the ceiling). And two years ago an order from the film industry called for a series of 10 panels on poly-poplin that were joined to create a movie-set backdrop measuring 20-feet high x 93-feet wide.

Just as typical are time-sensitive projects requiring quick turnaround to meet tight deadlines. “Our deadline is typically only four or five days,” says art director Munoz, “Often, the prints we provide for an event seem to be the last thing people think about, after they’ve planned everything else.”

Lederman agrees: “This is a very time-sensitive industry. Our customers definitely challenge us at times, but we’ve been so successful because we’re committed to doing whatever it takes to meet those challenges.”

With all its technical expertise, customer service ranks high in the company’s formula for continued growth and success. “We respond to all quotes, inquiries, and requests within hours and ask every possible question to determine the needs of our clients,” Lederman explains. “Once we get a project, we continually follow up on all aspects of it and remain in constant contact with our clients through installation, even after their event, to make sure they’re happy.”

Spreading the word
Looking ahead, Lederman is confident that commitment, as well as his staff’s technical expertise, will allow the company to grow into new markets, and convince new clients on the distinct advantages of digital printing on fabric. As an example, Munoz points to the concert industry, where the band logos, signs and stage backdrops formerly printed on paper are transitioning to fabric, with distinct benefits.

“Promoters began to realize fabric prints are so much easier to care for, store, and transport – and they look perfect every time you put them up,” he observes.

As word spreads and demand grows, as print technology improves, and the costs of systems come down, competition will intensify. “As more have gotten into it, many have discovered printing on fabric is not an easy thing to master,” notes Lederman. “Fabric printing is a specialty service, it’s not like the vinyl business, and it’s not inexpensive.”

Working with fabric “is different than other materials and you have to understand that,” agrees Munoz. “Because of the way it can stretch, particularly on larger projects when you’re combining several panels, if you’re off by as little as an inch on one print the whole project can be ruined.”

So with its proven dye-sub expertise, capabilities, and commitment to the evolving needs of clients, Dye Into Print’s future seems secure. But that doesn’t mean the company is close-minded about future technology possibilities.

“The trend in the industry has been to look at ways to do direct inkjet printing on fabric, and that’s something we’re certainly watching,” says Lederman. “But the quality isn’t there yet; you simply can’t get the same crisp images you can with dye sublimation and how it transfers the image into the fabric,” he maintains.

“If anything, we expect dye-sublimation printing will become even more diverse as we find new and intriguing ways to print on more materials.”

Freelance writer Mike Antoniak is a frequent contributor to The Big Picture magazine.