|Printable textiles for solvent ink and textile materials for UV-cured ink|
When you go to any trade show such as FESPA Digital Europe 2009 or ISA 2009 you will quickly find at least five different booths that offer textiles that are printable with solvent and UV-cured inks. So us listing all five here is what you can find yourself. But we try to make the list more helpful by then adding six more for a total of 12 resources. But of these the company that we know the best is 3P.
There are many companies that make or distribute textile printers. One that we know for many many years is DigiFab. Another textile company that has let us do evaluations on their printers is ATPColor. We have evaluated their printers and here are the results.
All the European companies that make printable textile material are international; most have offices or distributors in the US. Fisher Textile is an American company to begin with. You can find these companies on the exhibitor list ISA 2009 Las Vegas and exhibitor list FESPA Digital Europe 2009 in Amsterdam.
FLAAR is interested in textiles for signage and for interior decoration as well as samples for clothing. If you see our FLAAR Reports on DTP Link (Yuhan-Kimberly) you will see their exhibit room in their world headquarters. I have been here twice (once for almost a week). I have also visited the headquarters of DigiFab in the garment district of Los Angeles.
So here is our initial list: if your company is not listed simply get us to your main offices and let us test-print your materials in your printer demo room, or otherwise show us the capability of your material.
3P Inkjet Textiles (German)
Dazian Fabrics (US)
Dynajet – Dollfus & Muller (French)
Fisher Textile (US)
Heytex - Julius Heywinkel GmbH (German)
IBENA Technische Textilien GmbH (German) (seems to also have a factory in Shanghai area).
Other textile related materials for signage
Ferrari Textiles (French)
Heytex - Julius Heywinkel GmbH (German)
Junkers & Müllers GmbH (German)
Neschen AG (German, multi-national, Neschen and Seal brands)
Obeikan Technical Fabrics ( has their own factories)
Ultraflex (worldwide, but is a US company; distributor not manufacturer)
Verseidag Seemee (Verseidag-Indutex GmbH, German)
Schoeller Textil AG (Swiss) Do not confuse with Felix Schoeller (Germany) who make mainly normal traditional inkjet media, not specifically for textiles.
Dozens of companies that have a background in vinyl and traditional banner material increasingly offer one or more textiles nowadays. Metamark in the UK would be an example.
Vinyl per se is offered by dozens of companies: Hexis makes vinyl for signage via vinyl cutting (not digital printing). For digital printing they make backlit, vehicle wrap, window see-through (cars and building windows), glass decoration and a few other products.
Wall covering material and wallpaper for solvent printers
Eco-solvent is safer than lite- or mild-solvent, but all are better than full-solvent.
Bio-solvent ink remains a product that sounds great, looks “green” in a proposal, but has unknown adhesion and abrasion issues. The chemistry today is probably not the same chemistry when it was first launched, which makes discussion of the pros and cons of bio-solvent all the more confusing. Latex ink is another chemistry that is still relatively new and not widely known.
Bantex Digital Media, Herculite (US)
Lintec of America
Our goal is to inventory more of these materials, but since I have seven years trust in 3P, and have visited their company in Germany so know who and what stands behind this product, our first year-2009 FLAAR Report on printable textiles features fabrics from 3P. But FLAAR is interested in looking at other fabric coaters and distributors as well.
Just realize that solvent inks have one kind of odor, and UV-cured inks have another kind of smell. Let the material out-gas long enough so you do not roll up the odor inside your roll. They when you unroll the material in the room where you will hang it, the material will smell badly. Naturally water-based inks have the least odor.
Also realize that some materials have a stink worse than the ink: namely most vinyl. This is why most printshops are moving away from printing on vinyl.
Which companies have their own factory?
Obeikon has their own factory and is building another. Their factories are not in China.
Julius Heywinkel GmbH has their own factories. But one of them is in China, but having your own factory in China is less risky than simply importing a container full of Brand X material from someone who buys from the cheapest source. Heytex is the brand name of the coated flexible sign materials from Julius Heywinkel GmbH.
Which companies are OEMing their materials from factories of others?
UltraFlex is a well known brand name with a good reputation. They rebrand from a reliable source (one of which is not Chinese).
Oce, Sihl, Kodak, HP and others are obtaining materials from China, especially Kodak. Sihl has its own factories but often it is simply cheaper from China. But four years ago FLAAR ceased using Sihl media for our HP and/or Epson printers because of too many defects within the rolls. We simply bought no more Sihl media because we did not want to waste time and waste ink having to reprint because of a defect somewhere inside the roll. By now obviously I hope Sihl has a new source, but for me it was a learning experience to have a “Swiss” brand with what may have been material from China. Of course even a Swiss mill can have a bad batch; that does not mean that every other batch will be defective, and Sihl is still a respected name.
Wide Format Printers