Get the Most Out of Your Dye-Sub Printer

Adding a whole new technology to your wide-format toolkit can be daunting, but the versatility you gain with dye-sublimation transfer printing can open all new opportunities. With the Epson SureColor Production printers, you can get into it with an initial investment starting around $7,ooo for the F6200 ($14,000 for the F7200 and $25,000 for the F9370) for a 44- or 64-inch system. Once you’re up and running, the creative and money-making possibilities are only limited to your imagination.

Dye-sublimation transfer is particularly favored for textile printing since the ink from the transfer adheres into the fabric, rather than sitting on top of it, as it does with other ink technologies. Once sublimated, the ink won’t crack, fleck or scratch off, making it an ideal option for knitted textiles, particularly high-performance athletic wear. (Bonus: Dye-sub fabrics are also washable!)

Metal photo panels by ChromaLuxe, available at LexJet

In addition to garment fabric, textiles printed for soft signage perform extremely well with dye-sub transfers. Backlit displays, tradeshow graphics and flags are two of the top applications for dye-sub, as they fold and travel easily and are cheaper to ship than films or vinyl often used for similar signage.

Dye-sub is a great complement to your other wide-format printers, allowing you to get into high-demand print products like the popular metal photo panels, ktochkees like coasters, cups and more, and customized décor, like pillows, window blinds and upholstery.

In addition to the printer system, you’ll also need transfer paper. The LexJet InFuze line provides four transfer papers for all needs, including textile, apparel, rigid substrate and multi-purpose. You’ll also need a heat press to sublimate the image to your final substrate. LexJet offers a full line of options, from a 16×20-inch table-top swinger heat press for small jobs, to a 112x48x53-inch heat calendar machine.

If you’re ready to master the world of dye-sub, visit our LexJet.com/dyesub page to learn about more applications and watch some of the how-to videos to learn all the ways to make dye-sub work for you and your business. Here’s a quick look at how to create an all-over print for t-shirts:

Good, Better, Best: Wallcoverings

When it comes to digitally printable wallcoverings, you’ve got more options today than ever before. You’ve got a lot of decisions to make — do you want a self-adhesive, a pre-pasted water-based application, or a traditional wall paper paste job? And what kind of finish is your customer looking for? A basic satin for a temporary mural … or a glamorous gold metallic? You’ve got these questions, and we’ve got a few answers to get you started.

In this edition of Good, Better, Best, we’re looking at three different wallcoverings for various applications and installation needs. LexJet Solvent Print-N-Stick Fabric, HP PVC-Free Durable Suede Wall Paper and LexJet Premium WallPro all track around the same square-foot price, and they’re all latex- and/or solvent-compatible, so they won’t need an extra protective coating, unless you decide to add it. Each one could be the “best” answer for the application, but we approached this ranking in terms of longevity and variety.

LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric

GOOD: LexJet Solvent Print-N-Stick Fabric. This is a customer favorite for temporary wall murals. Just like the name suggests, it’s a two-step process. Print it and stick it, thanks to the pressure-sensitive adhesive. With a clean, sheen finish, colors really pop on Print-N-Stick, and the fabric texture makes it easy to handle and the special adhesive is very forgiving — making it simple to reposition it and fix installation mistakes. If carrying inventory is an issue for you, Print-N-Stick is also a great solution to stick to windows, metal, wood and even floors.

HP PVC-Free Durable Wall Paper

BETTER: HP PVC-Free Durable Suede Wall Paper. This HP product is formulated to pair with latex inks, which work together to create a scrub- and scratch-resistant surface that stands up to high-traffic areas, like hotels and restaurants. It also carries multiple environmental certifications, including the Type II as well as  FSC®, REACH and UL GREENGUARD GOLD, which make this odorless, mold- and mildew-resistant wall paper a great choice for sensitive environments like schools and hospitals. The wall paper is finished with a pre-pasted glue that can be installed with a simple water technique. Watch this video to see how easy it is to install and remove.

LexJet Premium WallPro 

BEST: LexJet Premium WallPro. We offer a glamorous line of finishes in our LexJet Premium WallPro line, such as Smooth Silver and Glint, Linen Pearl and Silver or Gold Mylar. These finishes offer versatility in décor style and visual impact – from subtle, elegant finishes to eye-catching, dramatic wall murals.  The high-end vinyl wallcoverings meet stringent environmental standards and work well for corporate or commercial spaces, as well as residential. They’re compatible with latex, solvent, eco-solvent and UV-curable inks, giving you the option to use your preferred print technology.

To learn more about wallcovering options, contact a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538.

5 Digital Printing Trends Every PSP Needs to Watch in 2019

While we don’t actually own a crystal ball, we did take a peek into the future to see what’s in store for wide-format printing in 2019. The segment will definitely continue to see growth, with banners, vehicle wraps, signage, wallcovering and window graphics rounding out the top five most profitable wide-format applications, according to a recent WhatTheyThink report.

The report outlined some key stats, including the fact that wide-format print is growing at a healthy 6.7% CAGR, jumping from $16.1 billion in 2012 to $22.3 billion in 2017. Nearly 3/4 of print providers say their wide-format print volumes have increased, while over 90% of print buyers say their volumes will hold steady or increase in the coming year.

So with all that potential, we took a look at some key activity that will help drive production and sales. Here are the top five trends every print service provider should keep an eye on as the new year kicks off:

Soft Signage Made Easier. Digital textile printing has been a hot topic for the past few years, but it’s far more than garment and apparel applications, especially for wide-format printers. Soft signage will continue to dominate, taking the place of rigid and heavy substrates for trade shows, high-end retail and backlit applications. Currently, only about 6% of textile products are produced digitally, according to an article in December 2018 edition of Printing News, but experts expect that number to get into double digits within a few years. Fabric manufacturers have been hard at work to develop textiles that run smoothly on wide-format options, such as latex and even aqueous printers. Also, SEG frames are essential for attractive soft signage displays, but have often required a lot of installation set-up, especially sewing the silicone edging onto the finished print. Now, with SignComp’s Front Load Soft Signage Frame, there’s no sewing necessary, especially when using a thick textile that works well with SignComp’s patented grip strips. It’s so easy to use that an employee in a retail shop can easily switch out seasonal messaging whenever needed. Check out this how-to video to learn more.

Sustainability Goes Mainstream. Get ready for a wave of printable media that offers sustainability characteristics that are either recyclable or made from recycled materials, such as the award-winning HP Recycled Satin Canvas, which uses 22 recycled water bottles for every square meter of canvas. These types of products will become increasingly important to your customer base, as many of them will demand more Earth-friendly options. Plus, you’re going to see more major corporate brands, like Kellogg and Kraft-Heinz vowing to use sustainable packaging that will be fully recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. Our S-OneLP team is on the case to provide more sustainable packaging films to those printers, as well. In the textile arena, expect to see more natural fiber fabrics and improved pigment inks to accompany them.

Digital Décor Market Expands. As the typical “sign guy” has tip-toed into becoming an all-around décor expert with everything from photo reproductions to canvas wraps to wallcoverings, you can expect to see digitally printed décor options branch beyond retail and hospitality settings and expand into residential offerings. As print providers become more adept at printing décor materials and the materials themselves become easier to handle (think: LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric for wall murals), the opportunities are going to explode, while consumers catch wind of all the possibilities to customize their homes. And not just on the walls — windows become prime real estate for digital décor displays, as do the floors … and let’s not forget the ceilings.

Ecommerce Gains (Even More) Traction. If you’ve been ecommerce shy with your business so far, 2019 may be the year you finally embrace its possibilities. Offering customers the ability to upload their artwork that you fulfill in a variety of print products gives you a huge advantage over your competition. But if you’re wary of starting ecommerce options on your own, consider the possibility of offering fulfillment services to a number of up-and-coming art houses that are partnering with artists to use their original art to create everything from wall tapestries to canvas wraps to notebooks to t-shirts. A few big online names you may have heard of — Ikonick, Society6, Art.com … yeah, they’re all using digital wide-format services. Go grab those opportunities!

Digital Print for All Surfaces. A few years ago while at SGIA Expo, it became apparent that the new directive seemed to be: Print Everything! And while that was supported by a wide variety of print technologies, today, we’d edit it to say: Print Everything with Digital!  We’re seeing every surface covered with printed media, and more and more of those materials are digital wide-format compatible, such as LexJet Sunset Textured Fine Art Paper 310g used to create lamp shades. The key to printing to more surfaces is a wide variety of versatile, all-in-one substrates, such as LexJet Flex Tek, available for aqueous or solvent print technology, and can be used for hanging banners, roll-up banners or even canvas wraps.

Stay tuned throughout the year to discover even more new and innovative products and exciting application opportunities to help you grow your business well into 2020 and beyond!

 

5 Creative & Inspiring 2018 Customer Projects

Every year, we look back on the innovative work our customers have created, and we’re never anything less than amazed. This year has been no different. Take a look back through five of the coolest projects our customers printed for their customers in 2018.

Reproducing Art for a Good Cause at A-R-T & Associates Each year, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Coca-Cola Company commission an art partner to create an original painting that is auctioned during a fundraising event to raise money for the charity, which provides housing for a family while a child is receiving life-saving care at hospitals around the country. This year, A-R-T & Associates won the bid to do the poster printing. Check out how they created this year’s super cool poster using LexJet TRIBUTE Satin Photo Paper 240g. READ MORE

Printer Challenge: Reproduce the 30-foot Painting, African Menagerie Christopher Glassman, general partner at Casual Graphics in Hays, Kan., was asked to reproduce an enormous painting by Brian Jarvi titled “African Menagerie.” The painting, which captures 210 species living in Africa now, was 17 years in the making. It’s been part of a traveling exhibit and Jarvi wanted a more manageable version for smaller venues, as well as prints for reproductions. Check out how the Casual Graphics team made it happen. READ MORE

LexJet Print-N-Stick: Encouraging Students to Explore the World Year after year, LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric continues to be a customer favorite, especially for temporary wall murals. Elementary school teacher Rachel Montisano is thrilled with the results of the images on Print-N-Stick and says that the size and scope of the graphics played a huge part in bringing the environments to life in her classroom, which continue to generate excitement and learning among the students. READ MORE

HP Adhesive Vinyl Case Studies: ‘The Best We’ve Ever Used’ Whenever we launch a new product, our hope is that customers gain the most value possible from it, and the new line of HP Adhesive Vinyl did not disappoint for AlphaGraphics in Rexburg, Idaho, who used HP Prime Gloss Air GP and the Polymeric Matte Overlaminate to create a wall mural that was full of detailed text, spot-on colors, and multiple image depths. READ MORE

Listen Up: Before & After Acoustic Sound Panels + EnduraFab OK, we admit it — we’re suckers for musicians, but that doesn’t take anything away from the cool acoustic panels that Ryan Moore, Vice President of DFMGraphics in Newnan, Ga., made using EnduraFab™ Frontlit Premier and Rockwool acoustic boards. You can even hear the difference in the sound files Moore recorded. READ MORE

Do you have print projects that you’d like to share with the LexJet blog? Email us your story!

Top 5 Hottest Launches of 2018

Looking back on 2018, we’ve seen a lot of much-needed innovation, as well as power-house collaborations. Our top five launches of the year answered customer demand for versatile, cost-effective, application-driven solutions across the board in the wide-format market. If you haven’t tried these new options, what are you waiting for? The year’s almost over!

Fabric transferred using InFuze transfer paper

LexJet InFuze® Dye-Sublimation Papers — Adding to our dye-sub portfolio was a top priority for our customers who were bringing this new technology to their tool kits. We created the fresh InFuze brand, and brought to market four high-end, competitively-priced transfer paper options that our customers couldn’t refuse:

Outdoor signage transferred to ChromaLuxe EXT

ChromaLuxe EXT — Another important product line for our dye-sub customers is the stunning ChromaLuxe metal photo panels, a high-demand item. This year, ChromaLuxe introduced its EXT line, geared toward extended outdoor use — something dye-sub wasn’t able to achieve previously. The EXT innovation won ChromaLuxe an SGIA Product of the Year award, and it’s not hard to see why. Check out this story about how the panels were used as wayfinding signs for Felts Audubon Preserve.

AveryxLexJet — In one of the wide-format industry’s biggest news stories of the year, LexJet partnered with Avery Dennison, adding more than 200 calendared and cast vinyl, film and laminate products to our product line. Now, LexJet customers have access to all the vehicle and fleet wraps, wall films and so much more.

LexJet Flex Tek used for banners

LexJet Flex Tek — One thing so many print shops struggle with is inventory space, that’s why we love all-in-one media products like LexJet Flex Tek 170g for aqueous printers and LexJet Flex Tek SUV 200g, compatible with eco-solvent, latex and UV-curable inks. This non-woven technical fabric is lightweight and easy to use, making it a go-to option for hanging banners, retractable banners and even wrapped canvas.

HP Vinyl + Overlams — What the world needs now is a line of vinyl products that work well and are priced right. That’s what we delivered with the massive launch of the new HP Vinyl line of products.

We brought them big time with our 2018 SGIA Expo booth, where the colors were bright and installation was a breeze. But don’t take it from us — listen to what customers have said:

HP Vinyl for walls
  • “The colors are truer than with my previous material and the gloss is more vibrant.”
  • “We did an install onto a gym wall mat and it went on without a hitch! The rigidity of the material and the strength of the backer lead to a smooth installation.”
  • “My guys love the HP. They grab it for every application they can use it on, and they tell me that the air-release component is the best they’ve ever used.”

Now that you know all the hottest launches of 2018, stay tuned to this blog to discover the trends you need to keep an eye on in the New Year!

Listen Up: Before & After Acoustic Sound Panels + EnduraFab

In October, we announced the new acoustic rating for EnduraFab textiles for sound absorption and noise reduction when used with an acoustic board or foam. So Ryan Moore, Vice President of DFMGraphics in Newnan, Ga., decided to put EnduraFab™ Frontlit Premier to the test.

DFMGraphics uses an HP Latex 335 for printing EnduraFab panels.

Moore’s operation includes office space, printing facilities and a recording studio. “Everything in here is a hard edge, and sound is bouncing back and forth,” he says. “When you’re on the phone, you can hear people talking in the background.” Worse, when recording music, sounds would reverberate, echo and distort the clean sound he was looking for.

“I looked into buying panels, but the cost was too much, and I knew there’s got to be something I could print on,” he says. His LexJet representative mentioned EnduraFab, which, when mounted on an acoustic board, would trap the extraneous sounds in the panel. He paired EnduraFab™ Frontlit Premier with Rockboards from Rockwool. In his 855 square-foot room, he constructed three acoustic panels using 3/4-inch flooring plywood, 4 pieces of RockBoard 4’x2’x2” glued to the wood, then wrapped the whole thing with printed EnduraFab.

Moore installed three of the panels in the room, and immediately noticed a significant noise reduction, both when someone was speaking or when playing an instrument. “You can really hear it,” he says. “You can immediately hear my voice without any echo.”

He used fun music-related graphics for the panels, including a photo from a Nirvana concert, installed over his HP Latex 335 printer; an abstract grouping of speakers with the musical instruments and a collection of retro mix tapes in a utility area.

“The EnduraFab prints great — the color is perfect,” he says, noting some trial-and-error with profile settings. After installing the panels, he quickly received a new order from a customer for printed acoustic panels to be used in a small room to record YouTube videos.

For an ultimate test, he recorded himself speaking and playing a snare drum to illustrate the reverb and echo reduction. Take a listen below:

BEFORE Acoustic panels were installed:

 

AFTER Acoustic panels were installed:

 

If you have questions about using EnduraFab for acoustic panels, give a LexJet print specialist a call at 800-453-9538.