By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
Silicon edge graphics (SEG) and framing systems provide glare-free images for retail and trade shows. Together, SEG and frames offer a modern presentation that enables quality and durability. Part one of this two-part series, features a print provider that offers SEG fabrics and framing systems.
100 Years of Graphic Innovation
Quaker Chroma Imaging is a print provider in Moorestown, NJ, established in 2004 after the merging of Quaker Photo and Chroma Copy. Quaker Photo began in 1927 and Chroma Copy in 1981. Together, the two shops combine to bring customers 100 years of graphic innovation.
“At the time of our merger, we were both primarily photography laboratory. Technology was changing rapidly and we thought it would be better to merge and share the equipment compared to each company staying separate and buying their own,” says Craig Tinkelman, CEO, Quaker Chroma Imaging.
Quaker Chroma Imaging has 31 employees, which includes 12 sewing professionals. With the addition of its newest company, Get Bent Structures, Quaker Chroma Imaging occupies 30,000 square feet and serves the NJ tri-state area.
The shop transitioned into digital print technology with dye-sublimation (dye-sub), starting with a 72-inch printer and sublimator. “Now we are no longer a photo lab and 90 percent of our output is produced on fabric using dye-sub,” says Tinkelman.
He believes there is almost no such thing as turnaround time due to the need for graphics on demand. “The ability to alter, fix, and adjust images digitally gives you a great deal more flexibility in making an awesome display,” he says.
Quaker Chroma Imaging prints on a Mimaki USA, Inc. JV5-320S dye-sub printer. It prints a maximum of 129.5 inches with four staged printheads. In quality mode, it prints at 40 square meters per hour and features unattended continuous printing, automatic nozzle checking, and automatic media feeding.
The company added a Mimaki JV300-160 to handle repetitive, small format jobs. It prints up to 63.4 inches at 105.9 square meters per hour at a maximum resolution of 1,440 dpi. The JV300-160 features a three-way heater, nozzle recovery, and staggered printheads.
The company recently purchased a Mimaki TS500P-3200. The superwide format dye-sub printer reaches a maximum print width of 129.9 inches to create extra wide textile applications like soft signage, home furnishing, and hospitality fabrics. It includes a high gap printhead, unaffected by cockling. The printer’s speed reaches 1,937 square feet per hour in four color mode. It is designed specifically for the dye-sub industry—printing on thin transfer paper. “We were one of the first in the country to get the new Mimaki TS500P-3200 printer,” says Tinkelman.
The shop also uses two 126-inch Klieverik heat presses. “We believe both companies are the leaders in products and services,” he adds.
For media, the shop invests in Beaver Paper & Graphic Media, Inc.’s TexPrint paper. TexPrint XPHR is fully compatible with piezo printhead technology on most large format dye-sub printers. “While this is much more expensive than the thinner papers or papers from China, we wanted to buy American and we feel the heavier paper yields much better results.”
Quaker Chroma Imaging also turns to Fisher Textiles for fabrics.
SEG Frames and Fabric
Tinkelman credits the shop’s sewing expertise for its application production. The print provider offers a range of wide format applications including banners, wall murals, digital c-prints, and trade show, window, floor, transit, museum, and retail graphics.
Tinkelman says, “the two most popular applications are SEG for retail rollouts and pillowcase graphics for the structures produced by our other company, Get Bent Structures.”
SEG is a tension fabric printed on a dye-sub printer and sewn around the edges with a thin silicone strip. The fabric edges are inserted around the perimeter of a framing system to create a tight fabric graphic. Graphic sizes are made precisely so the fabric is snug around the frame.
Tinkelman believes the limitations of SEG frames and fabrics go as far the imagination. Fabrics are stretched, sewn, and cut to make different types of structures and graphics. Because the graphic is printed to fabric, it allows a glare-free presentation and the sew lines are hidden within the frame.
SEG fabrics are washed or steamed for durability. Folded neatly, fabric graphics take up less space than rigid substrates.
To meet client demands, SEG framing systems are wall mounted, double sided, free standing with support, or ceiling suspended. The frames display fabric graphics with a frameless appearance that is lightweight and easily disassembled for fast changeout. Frames are found in large retail settings, hotels, public events, offices, sports arenas, trade shows, and theaters.
According to Tinkelman, “more fabrics are becoming available to enable us to achieve different kinds of results. Backlit dye-sub has the most room for growth in my opinion as the products get better in this market.”
Print providers with decades of experience in graphics recognize digital print technology’s impact on fabric. SEG and frames provide versatile and quality images to display in highly populated environments. In part two of this series, we take a look at a print provider that offers illuminated SEG frames.
Apr2017, Digital Output