What You Need to Know Now About Digitally Printed Fabric

It’s nearly impossible to work in the print industry and not have heard about the expanding interest in digital textiles. Although digitally printed fabrics make up only 2% of the entire textile marketing, it’s a fast-growing technology. It’s expected to grow from a $14.2 billion industry in 2016 to a $33.4 billion industry by 2021, according to Keypoint Intelligence.

That’s more than doubling the opportunity in five short years. And it could grow even more, with big players like Amazon and Home Depot both entering the textile game in 2018.

As a print service provider, what does that mean to you? More material options with ever-advancing technology, more solutions to offer to your customers and more ways to grow your business. Here are four key points to know now about digitally printed fabric in the wide-format market.

Printers Prefer the Latex Fabric EnduraFab™ Textiles. Here’s Why!

When EnduraFab™ Textiles hit the market last year, the line of fabrics was one of the first latex-compatible options available to the industry. Throughout the year, print service providers have told us that EnduraFab™ not only offered a much-needed latex solution in the market, but it also outperforms its competitors.

Pop up trade show display printed on EnduraFab™ Stretch at TPM, Inc.

We caught up with Dustin Batson, the Color Lab division manager at TPM, Inc. in Greenville, S.C., where his team produces a wide variety of event displays, banner stands, site signage, interior décor printing and more. The market demand has changed in recent years, he says, to soft signage, rather than rigid display boards that were used in the past.

“We use EnduraFab™ Stretch for trade show pop ups and the EnduraFab™ Frontlit Premier for all of our backdrops,” Batson says. “There’s less cost in shipping, and easy changability with SEG panels — you just simply pull out the insert from the frame and replace it. For trade shows, it makes more sense and is less cumbersome.”

For Eduardo Aceves Hernandez, electronic publishing specialist at the Document Solutions department at the University of Texas at Austin, the ease of travel with EnduraFab™ is a huge win. “People kept asking for things they could fold and take to conferences,” Hernandez says. “In response, we shopped around, and EnduraFab™ was the solution. Customers have been really happy so far.”

Hernandez prints EnduraFab™ on an HP Latex 360 64-inch printer for his university customers, which include everyone from the athletic department to school administrators who need event signage, trade show displays, thesis exhibits and banners. When these items were printed on vinyl media, they had to be rolled up and shipped or carried in tubes to avoid creasing — “they were really a hassle to carry on a plane,” he says.

A fabric poster printed on EnduraFab™ at the University of Texas at Austin

EnduraFab™, however, can be folded and stowed in a suitcase. “It just hangs really well, and displays well,” Hernandez says. “And it’s not going to crinkle. So you get simplicity with good quality.”

Batson says the ease of use is definitely a bonus, and the print quality is strong, too. “It holds very vibrant color,” Batson says. “And the color tends to hold better and you get less crocking than other materials.”

Finishing EnduraFab™ is easier and more reliable, too, Hernandez says. “With thicker fabrics, fraying was an issue,” he says. EnduraFab™ finishes so cleanly, he says they don’t have to sew the edges. “We even mounted one graphic to a foam board and it looked good, too.”

The EnduraFab™ Textiles line is available exclusively through LexJet, and includes six options in a variety of sizes:

  • EnduraFab™ Frontlit: Lightweight fabric with excellent drape for table skirts, SEG frames and soft signage.
  • EnduraFab™ Frontlit FR: Frontlit fabric that meet the flammability standard for NFPA 701, 2015 Edition (Test 1, Small Scale) and require heat set for desired print durability.
  • EnduraFab™ Frontlit Premier: Heavyweight fabric for retail signs, SEG frames and indoor banners.
  • EnduraFab™ Frontlit Premier FR: Frontlit Premier fabric that meet the flammability standard for NFPA 701, 2015 Edition (Test 1, Small Scale) and require heat set for desired print durability.
  • EnduraFab™ Stretch: Lightweight fabric with one-directional stretch, providing installation flexibility and ease particularly for SEG frames and geometric trade show displays.
  • EnduraFab™ Stretch FR: Stretch fabric that meet the flammability standard for NFPA 701, 2015 Edition (Test 1, Small Scale) and require heat set for desired print durability.

Year in Review: The 11 Biggest Product Launches of 2017

As we look back on the year that 2017 was, there’s no denying that our customers are branching out into new areas and looking to offer their customers better performing, more cost-effective wide-format solutions. At LexJet, we strive to stay in-step with those demands. Our 2017 product launches brought to market everything from new outdoor banner materials and high-end fine-art paper options to all new technology portfolios and exciting, versatile media for multiple applications. Let’s take a look back at the changes 2017 brought in media products and equipment advances:

NEW MEDIA:

A Glossy, Opaque Banner: Many of our aqueous printer customers were requesting a glossy version of our ThriftyBanner, so we answered with LexJet Gloss Blockout ThriftyBanner. Not only does the gloss finish add extra pop to graphics and photos, it also eliminates the need to add a gloss laminate when requested, making it a one-step, cost-effective option. The 100% opaque blockout adds another unique feature for one of our most popular launches of 2017.

ClearShield SoftFeel Low Melt laminate applied to a menu.

Print Protection Portfolio: If you’re looking for any type of print protection, LexJet is the go-to source. We relaunched some products and added many new items to our Print Protection portfolio, which includes thermal laminates, water-based liquid coatings, UV liquid coatings and pressure sensitive laminates. This line includes nearly 70 options from the best brands in the industry: Marabu, ClearShield, Sunset, EnduraCoat, MaraShield and LexJet. If you need to protect a print in any application, our Print Protection page is the place to start.

Finish Soft Signage Fabrics Like the Pros

With the heavy retail season upon us, you’re likely getting more requests for fabric banners and displays these days. Retail outlets often prefer the elegant, lightweight drape that fabric signage offers, as opposed to vinyl, for instance, for banners, hanging signage, table skirts and more.

LexJet Poly Select Medium used for hanging posters.

However, when it comes to fabric signage, finishing needs can vary from fabric to fabric, since some cut cleanly and others may fray. Watch the video above to learn how to test your fabric, and which ones can simply be trimmed with a knife versus those that need a tool such as a heating knife to keep the weave from unraveling.

We offer a wide range of printable fabrics for a variety of print technologies:

For Aqueous

HP Light Fabric used for retail banners.

For Latex

For Solvent

A popular finishing option for printed fabric signage is pole pockets. Watch the video below for a fast, easy and professional result:

Latex-printable Fabric to the Rescue as Fundraiser Photo Backdrop

Every year, hundreds of guests attend one of the largest and most glamorous events in Sarasota, Fla., the Wine, Women & Shoes luncheon and fashion show. Earlier this year, organizers reached out to us for assistance with its photography area backdrop.

They needed a lightweight fabric that could hang elegantly without wrinkles or creases across a 19-foot area. Another challenge: It needed to be printed with deep black inks that really offset three logos at the top.

Don’t Miss: 5 New Product Demos at SGIA Expo

We’re gearing up for another exciting trade show at SGIA Expo in New Orleans Oct. 10-12 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. In LexJet’s booth #745, you’ll discover all new, real-world product applications for residential decor; restaurant ambiance, signage and menus; and retail wallcoverings, banners and POP graphics.

You won’t want to miss the live demos to learn fast and easy techniques to make serving your customers more efficient than ever. Our experts will demonstrate the following solutions:

We’ll also have an army of equipment in action, including Epson’s SureColor dye-sub and solvent printers, an HP Latex 560, the latest Canon PRO-Series printer, a Geo Knight heat press and Graphtec cutter — all with special savings opportunities!

Speaking of savings, don’t forget to ask about our show specials while you there.

You still have time to register to get a free Expo pass, courtesy of LexJet. Go HERE to get your free SGIA Expo pass today. Click “I don’t have an SGIA Company ID” to get access to the LexJet-sponsored pass.

We look forward to seeing you at SGIA Expo in New Orleans!