of Woodruff, SC, has more than 30 years of experience in printing fabrics for the hospitality, industrial and healthcare industries. John Dill, President, and Mike Dill, Creative Director, added a digital process nearly a decade ago, to produce decorate textiles via dye-sublimation/transfer paper, with finished product transferred to polyester fabrics in widths ranging from 48 to 128 inches. The printed fabrics are then used to create draperies, hospital privacy curtains, window shades, bedding, shower curtains and banners.
One of the first dye sublimation printers purchased was a Mimaki JV33-160 model from a distributor, installing third-party inks marketed by the seller at the time. The process started smoothly, and the company grew to add more Mimaki printers, still using the third-party inks recommended by the distributor. “Then we had our first real experience of dropouts and large quantities of lost production,” said John Dill, President of Suntex Printing. “When you use a third party ink, warranty coverage is handled by the distributor, not the printer manufacturer. That is fine until you have an issue with the ink. The ink manufacturer blamed the printer for our problems and Mimaki was helpful but did not warrant the parts. After a few months of struggling it was discovered we had received a bad batch of ink so we switched to a different third-party ink. As time went on, we purchased more printers and different issues came up. Again, because we were using third-party inks and the distributor who was responsible for the warranty would often blame the problems on the paper or the printer.
“As we continued to grow, we realized the best solution was to use Mimaki OEM inks. If there is an issue then there would be only one call: to Mimaki. Our workflow has greatly improved since we made the decision to revert to using Mimaki OEM inks. We have not experienced any ink dropouts, and colors are very consistent. Issues will always happen but now there will be no finger pointing from third party ink suppliers. Mimaki inks are great and when an issue does come up the Mimaki support team has been amazing.”
Suntex is still running the first JV33 printer and John guesses that many thousands of yards have been printed on the machine. The company’s latest addition is the TS300P-1800 printer, a 77-inch wide, roll-to-roll, dedicated transfer paper model, offering new levels of quality and productivity. Engineered for the dye sublimation industry, it is designed to print onto the thinnest of transfer paper while maintaining extremely high quality output.
<class=”blue-link” href=”http://www.coloronik.com” target=”_blank”>Coloronik launched to encompass alternative materials
Two years ago, John and Mike started Coloronik, based in Moore, SC, to offer digital printing services on rigid and alternative materials such as doors, ceiling tiles, acoustic wall panels, banners, wall coverings and glass applications. Coloronik also added printers for direct-printing to flag fabrics.
Recently, Mike formulated a process to digitally print to natural leather without having to add laminates to retain the natural hand. The company uses a Mimaki JFX500-1231 UV-LED flatbed printer for decorating leather and is seeing excellent results. The adhesion and crock testing has satisfied all requirements for decorative upholstery applications, and the company has printed onto leather for office chairs, automotive, aviation, pillows and many decorative applications.
“We also use the JFX500 flatbed printer to print directly onto rigid items such as headboards and interior wall separators for hospitals and hotels,” said Mike. “The JFX500 oversized table can accommodate rigid substrates up to 83 inches wide by 122 inches long, and up to two inches thick, so it can handle nearly anything we put on it. White ink gives us the ability to print on clear acrylic or glass panels to create artistic light fixtures. It’s a signature application for us.”
Note: images samples were printed in leather and stone.