The market for digitally printed fabrics could be about to take off for a range of applications from soft signage to wall coverings, pop-up stands and light shades, according to Scottish printer OP Graphics (OPG).
OPG general manager Alan Watson said: "It’s something we’re looking at expanding more into because we recognise that that’s the way the industry seems to be going.
"On fabric we’ve really only been doing flags [so far] but we’re very confident that that side of the business is going to grow not just for OPG but for the whole industry."
The Lanarkshire-based vehicle graphics printer said that the versatility of devices such as HP’s recently-launched Designjet L26500 would allow wide-format printers to start printing fabrics without a big capital investment.
"Up until fairly recently most of that [fabric] printing would be done using silk screen or dye-sub and that’s a fairly expensive process and it’s also a dedicated fabric printing press, so you couldn’t put a piece of banner or self-adhesive vinyl through it," explained Watson.
"Digital print on fabric isn’t as good as dye-sub, but for someone like us, who doesn’t have a dye-sub and wouldn’t be considering investing in one, it does allow me to offer that service."
Watson added that OPG was looking to invest in either a second Scitex LX600 or one of the new Designjet latex printers in Q1 2012 to capitalise on higher margins available from fabric printing.
The investment would allow the company to provide a one-stop branding shop service to customers who wanted to carry the same consistency across outdoor graphics, vehicle wraps and indoor graphics, including fabrics.
"There are all sorts of benefits [to fabric] from ease of transport to ease of application and it also means we can offer to do external graphics and vehicle wraps, and then carry that branding message indoors across a range of media," said Watson.
"Is digital the best form of fabric printing? No, I don’t think it is, but is it good enough and could we sell it and make a margin on it, yes, I’m pretty sure we could."Tweet
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