Exploring the wants and needs for the Next Big Thing.
By Craig Miller
A print media can also drive the NBT. Dye-sublimating assembled garments has shown tremendous potential. It’s currently hip to have this particular look (where the base fabric color shows up where the wrinkles are), and a company can get into garment printing without cut-and-sew capabilities. So a simple flatbed heat press with technology as old as the hills could become the NBT for someone.
Five-meter printers and calendar units have also made a big impact on fabric printing, particularly in the tradeshow arena. I know – I lost a big account to a competitor who could print 15-feet wide without a seam. Speaking of seams, when will we get sonic tools to both cut and weld seams in polyester fabrics without sewing?
* 3-D: A bit off the fabric thread, but dye-sublimation to three-dimensional solid objects has been on my radar screen since the 1990s. I was recently informed that 3-D dye-sub is picking up steam around the marketplace. Speaking of three-dimensional printing, two technologies come to mind: The first is water-transfer printing – in which you float a printed film on the surface of a tank of water and lift an object like a rifle or a helmet through it to cover it with a permanent print. This film is made with traditional printing methods. If someone could figure out how to print water-transfer film digitally, it would make quite a few people millionaires, especially if they could also register the print to the 3D object. That would definitely be the NBT.
Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.