Bang Tidy Clothing has partnered with digital textile solutions expert i-SUB Ltd to offer a specialist dye-sublimation print service onto large format aluminium sheets from METal.
Using a brand-new Epson SureColour-F7200 printer and a Monti Antonio Maxi MOD200 industrial heat press, Bang Tidy Clothing is the only company in the UK currently able to produce full-size high-quality sublimation aluminium up to 8'x4' (2.4m x 1.2m).
i-SUB identified that Bang Tidy Clothing's machine setup and production workflow would enable the company to deliver this high-quality, high-end new product. Using specific rigid media sublimation paper and rigid media printer settings and press settings, the new Epson printer and Monti Antonio heat press print the full size METal aluminium sheets, delivering a unique, high-quality gloss and hugely flexible solution.
Nick Collinson, Managing Director of Bang Tidy Clothing, comments: "We have worked with i-SUB for many years, purchasing a large range of equipment from them and we have a strong and mutually supportive relationship. They told us that with the new Monti Antonio Maxi MOD200 heat press we could be a trailblazer in the UK for the METal aluminium solution. We carried out extensive testing and were very impressed with the quality of the finished product and could immediately see that this could open whole new markets for our business."
METal aluminium sheets have a specially developed polymer coating for dye sublimation, producing a perfectly flat, glossy, richly colourful high-quality image. The aluminium is 1mm thick, and once printed can be displayed flat, curved or even folded.
"It is an amazingly flexible solution. There are lots of people that can print onto small format aluminium, but to create something digitally with the impact and presence of an 8'x4' aluminium sheet is not something available elsewhere in the UK. We can also produce these at a hugely competitive price," adds Collinson.
Simon Lymn, Sales Manager at i-SUB, who originally approached Bang Tidy with the METal solution, comments: "Bang Tidy has built an excellent business based on high-quality dye-sub textile printing, embroidery and screen printing. The company has fully embraced digital technology and we have supplied them with printers, heat presses and more for several years. I was very pleased to be able to offer METal to them and help them move into this high value market for large format aluminium displays. There isn't anyone else that has the equipment to produce 8'x4' edge to edge, beautifully glossy, scratch resistant aluminium sheets. We are also helping them identify and target appropriate new markets."
Nick Collinson adds: "We are primarily a business-to-consumer company and it is clear to us that while there will be some consumer interest in large format aluminium sheets, most of the new business will be to the business sector. We are working with i-SUB to explore a range of new markets, including sign-makers, architects and interior designers. On the consumer side, we will look to work with artists who wish to work on alternative media to canvas.
"There has been a fairly steep learning curve with the new setup because there are some differences in times and temperatures compared to textile sublimation. Removing moisture has been a key element as this can destroy a sublimated print. However, by purchasing the new Epson printer, we have been able to overcome these challenges and are now producing very high-quality output that is ready to go to market."
The new Epson SureColour F7200 printer is a professional digital dye-sublimation roll-to-roll printer developed specifically for the production of high-quality printed textile. It has proven to be ideal for the METal solution mainly thanks to its highly developed Epson printhead/software technology and integrated heater/dryer. It prints a reverse image onto transfer paper, which is then run through the Monti Antonio, which uses heat and pressure to turn the ink into a gas that sublimates onto the specialised coating of the METal aluminium sheets. Once sublimated, the printed aluminium can be bent, folded or rolled, and it can also be laser cut it into all sorts of intricate shapes.
"The Epson is a great value printer and one that we were very happy to choose. We have used other Epsons supplied by i-SUB for many years and have always been happy with their quality and reliability, as well as the support that i-SUB has delivered. That consistency is very important to us," explains Collinson.
He concludes: "Here at Bang Tidy Clothing we are very excited by the potential opportunities that METal opens up for us. We firmly believe that there are strong markets for printing large format aluminium sheets and are very pleased to be the first company to provide this in the UK. We will continue to work with i-SUB to target these markets and aim to build a profitable and successful new dimension to our business."
For further information on i-SUB Ltd, please visit www.i-sub.co.uk.