l-r: Darren Taylor at Fusion Digital with Wesley Small from Agfa by their new Avinci dye-sublimation machine
Hot off the press
Fusion Digital Print move into dye-sublimation with Agfa’s Avinci CX3200
One of the North West’s leading wide format printers, Fusion Digital Print (FDP) is expanding its facility to offer dye-sublimation fabric printing. The first new piece of dye-sub kit, an Avinci CX3200 machine, was installed in January.
We see a lot of growth for the business in printed fabrics both from our existing customers and new ones. The Avinci will allow us to print on a wider range of substrates, and we can pack them smaller, and fold them, making it easier to post them out to clients.
FDP have been trading nearly 20 years and for the last eight have been based on the secure Heywood Distribution Park in Greater Manchester. They have always been a large-format business and they supply lots of different types of customers globally. They do a lot of European exhibition work and have many prestigious retail customers and whilst they have dabbled in fabric with UV, they have confirmed their commitment to invest C£400,000 to set up a new fabric department.
“You can’t dip your toe into fabric printing, you need to do it properly,” said FDP Director Darren Taylor. “We see a lot of growth for the business in printed fabrics both from our existing customers and new ones. It will allow us to print on a wider range of substrates and we can pack them smaller, fold them, making it easier to post them out to clients. The Avinci was the first piece of dye-sub equipment to be installed, closely followed by a calendar unit. We’ve purchased new tooling for our two cutting tables, have new sewing machines and now employ two full time seamstresses with over forty years of experience between them.”
FDP are no strangers to Agfa products: one of their early print machines was an original 3.2 m Anapurna. When they decided to move into the fabric print marketplace more seriously, they looked at all the main suppliers and wanted to go with an established brand. Ultimately, they decided on an offline printer with separate fixation unit as they felt it was less limiting on materials and will give them better colour consistency. They also visited Northern Flags, a well-established printer in fabrics who run three Agfa dye-sub machines and spoke to their production team. This coupled with a long-standing relationship with their local Agfa salesman, Wesley Small gave them the confidence to order the Avinci machine.
Agfa’s dedicated dye-sublimation roll-to-roll printer produces vibrant high-quality prints on polyester-based fabrics up to 3.2 m wide, including a broad range of soft signage for inside and outdoors and for interior decoration. The Avinci CX3200 is a reliable soft signage printer that’s able to print directly to fabrics as well as onto transfer paper. It uses an off-line calendar unit to ensure perfect fixation.
The new fabric offer has meant that Fusion Digital has expanded its workforce and taken on another unit to house the finishing equipment, which is often the bottleneck in the process. And whilst they appreciate the running costs of a calendar unit that requires 40kw in a time when energy is a serious consideration, this is in part offset by the efficiency of the printer at 4kw, with lower ink costs and usage and by driving a green agenda with media supplies. They don’t purchase in the far east but more locally in Germany with a fabric manufacturer that plants millions of trees to offset their carbon footprint.