Meantime, many wide-format imaging professionals are finding they already have the equipment necessary to begin a fabric printing operation, Fisher said. Many who own UV-curable ink printers purchased that equipment to print rigid substrates, but they are quickly discovering they can use the same machines, particularly the roll-to-roll machines, to print fabrics directly. “We’re seeing more of those printers who bought the machines to print rigid substrates using them for fabrics,” Fisher observed.
Given the growing interest in traditional textiles, the Holy Grail for fabric printing is going to be achieving the capability to print on any fabric without pre-coating.
“We’re pretty close to that,” Barefoot said. “We have a product called Fabink that is a pigment ink and does not need pre-coating for the ink to adhere to most natural fabrics, like cotton, silk, and linen. That’s where it’s heading.”
What’s the final word for PSPs interested in fabric printing? It’s that their success likely depends on their willingness to team up with seasoned fabric printing experts, Faulkner said. “It’s like anything else; the more you know about the technology, the better off you will be,” he added. “If they work with a reseller that has knowledge and experience in dye sublimation and fabric printing, they should be in good shape.”
And that, he says, is no fabrication.