By Melissa Donovan
The finishing of vinyl banners can be completed using a welder, sewing machine, or banner tape. All three are options for any print provider in the space. It’s more a question of whether the volume of jobs necessitate adopting a machine like a welder or sewer or a manual process of applying banner tape is more feasible. Operator expertise may come into play—however recent advancements in automation present opportunity.
New Finishing Features
Here, we’ve included a roundup of machines used in vinyl banner finishing, with a focus on recent announcements.
Budnick Converting, Inc. offers Banner Ups adhesive grommet tabs and PowerTape single-sided banner hem tape. Banner Ups aggressively bond to virtually all banner materials as well as coroplast, foamcore, and paper. Banner Ups’ unique shape allows them to be applied at different corner angles as well as along the top and sides of banners.
PowerTape reinforces banner edges without folding or sewing a hem. A single-sided, super-strong film, according to the company, it duplicates the strength of folded hem and double-sided banner tape, but eliminates the hassle. Strong banners can be fabricated in three minutes.
Budnick also recently released a new tab, Banner Ups GrommetBooster. “This is a simple backer tab that can be applied to the back of a banner where a grommet is installed to reinforce the grommet. Many people cut strips of banner media for this purpose, but this is even better because of the adhesive, and is an inexpensive way to double the strength of a grommet alone,” explains Rick Hatton, business development manager – sign and graphics, Budnick.
Forsstrom High Frequency AB’s TD machine is suitable for manufacturing large products with straight welds, such as tents, tarps, truck covers, sunshades, and billboards. This is all thanks to the ability to position the material on the welding table and pre-program the machine to automatically weld along the entire length of the material.
Leister Technologies is a manufacturer of hot air welding equipment for the banner and billboard industry. The HEMTEK ST is the ideal entry-level banner welder for any size shop. The table mounted unit excels at welding hems and pole pockets. SEAMTEK 900 AT is a workhorse for large sign shops printing mass quantities of banners.
The UNIPLAN 500 is crawler that welds on top of a table or on the floor. For grand format production this tool can also panel larger signs together. “Some new features on the UNIPLAN 500 automatic welder include saving profiles for the different vinyl materials you may use and an automatic cool down feature that extends the life of the heating element and reduces maintenance,” says Ken Huber, manager, plastic welding products, Leister.
Matic Perseo is an automatic impulse welder available in 13 and 20 feet long. It is eco-friendly since it doesn’t use compressed air and therefore needs less power consumption to operate. The company redesigned all the folding mechanisms to use less parts, making it easy to use and cost effective to maintain.
The company recently developed and patented Seamless Technology, in response to demand for welding that doesn’t turn inks glossy. “Inks are often matte and most welding processes will turn the ink glossy where the seam is. Seamless Technology ensures that the matte inks remain matte and be less of an eyesore without compromising the durability or strength of the weld,” shares Christina Lefebvre, area sales manager, North America, Matic.
S. Kaplan Sewing Machine Co., Inc. offers economical sewing machines and attachments providing a complete sewing solution for banner and silicone edge graphics (SEG) finishing. Easy-to-change guides and attachments allow for finishing banners and sewing silicone edging onto printed fabrics as required using one sewing machine. Pole pocket and rope hemming are optional attachments. Complete sewing workstations, with attachments for banner and SEG sewing, start under $4,000.
“More of our customers are making use of hemming guides and attachments that are fitted to the sewing machine. The sewing machine operator doesn’t have to worry about maintaining a margin or sewing straight. The material is fed through the attachment, and the proper margin is created. Same for sewing of pole pockets—a four-inch pole pocket hemming attachment will fold over the correct margin all along the banner edge. Rope for hanging banners can easily be inserted using a rope hemming attachment. Use of these attachments significantly increases productivity and speed,” admits Steven L. Kaplan, president, S. Kaplan.
Supply55, Inc. manufactures the BannerPRO Professional Banner Hemming System, which allows users to quickly and easily fabricate pocket signs, parameter hems, and pole pockets. It is made of a heavy duty, all-steel construction; offers hands-free operation with a foot pedal; and a solid state electronic timer to ensure consistent welds.
Found in exterior and interior environments, vinyl banners are still a heavily desired application. Final finishing standards are high and print providers can’t afford to provide customers with messy, unfinished banners. Turning to techniques such as sewing, welding, or taping ensure a quality end product.
Jan2022, Digital Output