By Melissa Donovan
Part 1 of 2
Print service providers (PSP) are aware of digitally printed textiles’ allure. Some are even familiar with the practice, offering soft signage options to their customer bases. Thanks to advancements in hardware and ink sets digitally printed textiles are expanding into previously untapped markets like apparel.
Businesses that utilize the technology are not your typical PSP. They offer not only the print aspect, but also construct clothing patterns, cut those patterns when completed, and sew them together—acting as full production facilities for their customers.
Paterson Fabric Printing LLC opened in 2018, but its principals were long involved in the dye-sublimation (dye-sub) business before that. Ed Margarucci, owner, Paterson Fabric Printing, worked with his father until his death in 2016 learning the ins and outs of the analog dye-sub production process. His father first started that business in 1978 with seven employees.
“We were a traditional dye-sub business, whereas our clients selected designs from any of the international paper providers and had it sent to us. Over time, we brokered the purchasing of both paper and fabric in order to provide our clients with cost-efficient packages,” explains Margarucci.
A year before his father’s death, Margarucci added the digital dye-sub division of the business. He was spurred by clients requesting speed to market and an edge over the competition. “That came in the form of custom designs and quick turn at fair pricing and the highest quality,” he says.
Today the company employs 20 out of a 12,000 square foot location in Paterson, NJ. According to Margarucci it does very little analog dye-sub, with the majority of the business digital dye-sub. With its offerings it serves mostly U.S.-based brands and designers of fashion apparel, home furnishing/décor, accessories, and promotional sectors.
Paterson Fabric Printing performs analog dye-sub, digital dye-sub, digital artwork creation, crushing, cire, bonding, cut/sew, finishing, and packaging all at its one location.
The analog process is used minimally. Usually customers come in requesting the transfer of their analog-made dye-sub paper. But, Margarucci says even these companies recognize digital’s benefits and are slowly transitioning to this technology.
For its digital dye-sub process Paterson Fabric Printing relies on an Epson SureColor F9200. “We did major research across the printer market—they provide the highest quality and are the most user friendly, with the best durability. I push these machines sometimes 24 hours a day,” admits Margarucci.
An average run length on the Epson is project dependent, but can be anywhere from 300 to 700 yards per run. The 64-inch printer is designed for fast, economical medium- to large-volume dye-sub transfer printing. It hosts a number of productivity-focused features including an integrated roll-to-roll media support system with high accuracy winding.
High-quality transfer paper is a requirement for the print process, as are fabrics. Synthetic thread-based material is used such as polyester or nylon. With business trending toward performance stretch fabrics such as spandex blends. After the transfer paper is printed, it is run through either a customized Gessner heat transfer press or Singer steam press.
Acting as a one-stop shop, Paterson Fabric Printing assists its customers in digital artwork creation all the way to cutting, sewing, and packaging the final product. Design tools include software from Adobe Systems Incorporated and Gerber Technology, Inc. Sewing machines in house are Juki and Singer models.
The digital textile business is good to Paterson Fabric Printing. “Since the start of the division at the family company in 2015, we can finally say we have achieved the ultimate goal of becoming a full-service provider today,” shares Margarucci.
The next article in this two-part series looks at another digital textile print provider offering all of the essential production services under one roof.
Jul2019, Digital Output