By Lisa Guerriero
Part 2 of 2
Tents and awnings are comprised of a variety of substrates, including synthetic polyester and acrylic fabrics, vinyl and PVC material, and composites.
Manufacturers select materials based on durability and stability, adding coatings and treatments to enhance these qualities and also improve printability. While some products are designed for both tents and awnings, others only target one.
In part two of this series, we spotlight media optimized for digital print and designed for tent and awning applications.
Cooley Group makes tent and awning media that is compatible with solvent, UV, and latex. Its offerings include the coated PVC products Weathertyte and Weathertyte Lite. Though ideal for awnings, they can be used for tents when the job calls for PVC. “Weathertyte offers a textured design for a rich fabric look with the added durability of laminated PVC,” says Bryan Rose, VP/GM, new business development, Cooley. He adds that the textured surface increases durability and facilitates printing, making the product a good fit for shops of all sizes. Weathertyte enables bold colors and is flame and water resistant. The line is available in rolls 54, 60, and 74 inches wide. The company also offers Cooley-Brite and Cooley-Brite Lite. Anti-wick and anti-fungal, Cooley-Brite products are also UV, fire, and weather resistant. Available in rolls up to 78 inches wide, they feature eight to ten year outdoor warranties. The Weathertyte and Cooley-Brite lines are both made from laminated PVC reinforced with a polyester scrim, and both are for ideal for frontlit and backlit awning applications. Cooley products are sold through the company’s nationwide distributor network.
Fisher Textiles utilizes polyester for its tent and awning fabrics, which are all tested for water repellency under American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists standards. GF 5351 Waterfall is a 7.5-ounce, 122-inch wide product for transfer dye-sub printing. It is water resistant for outdoor use and is flame retardant, meeting standard 701 of the is calendared to provide a smooth print surface, followed by the application of a durable water repellant coating,” notes Sharon Roland, advertising and PR manager, Fisher Textiles. An environmentally friendly version, ET 5351 Waterfall, is 40 percent from polyester yarns made from recycled plastic water bottles. GF 5355 Cascade also meets NFPA 701 and has a waterproof treatment for outdoor use. Designed for transfer dye-sublimation (dye-sub) printing, the 6.9-ounce fabric is available 118 inches wide. The company’s 1010 Element is compatible with both dye-sub and UV ink. Bright white and sturdy, it offers the highest level of water resistance of any Fisher Textiles product. It is 8.5 ounces and 60 inches wide.
Glen Raven, Inc.’s Custom Fabrics division manufactures its Vivitex collection of printable fabrics, designed for us with solvent, eco-solvent, UV, and latex printers. The portfolio includes Poly Oxford White, a woven polyester fabric available in 54- and 60-inch widths; and Sunbrella Inkjet White, which is the company’s classic Sunbrella fabric with a white inkjet topcoat also available in 54- and 60-inch widths. Both products are available from Trivantage, the distribution arm of Glen Raven.
Herculite offers an array of tent and awning media, including Natura and Coastline Plus. Both products are designed for solvent ink printing of awning applications. They meet national and state of CA standards for flame resistance. Available in rolls 62 inches wide, they feature warranties of eight and five years, respectively. Natura is vinyl-based, completely waterproof, and heat sealable. The high-performance textile provides the look and feel of woven cloth on both sides, ideal for awnings that cover outdoor seating areas at restaurants. Coastline Plus, a vinyl and polyester composite, is designed for waterproof awnings and canopies that stay tight on the frame. Natura and Coastline Plus both feature the company’s Rain Kleen lacquer finish for color retention and prolonged fabric life. “When it comes to cleanability, there is none better because of our patented Rain Kleen finish,” suggests Craig Zola, VP, marketing and distribution, Herculite.
Sattler’s 316 D05 Sunset is a polyester fabric with an acrylate coating on one side that provides resistance to wreathing and other environmental effects. It is ideal for sunshades and sun sails. The technical properties of the fabric offer sharp color gradients and a good contrast. 314 D10 Sunprint is a polyacrylic fabric made from Sattler-brand acrylic yard with TEXgard finish and a digital surface treatment that enables highly stable and vivid colors. It is used for awnings and sun sails.
Serge Ferrari offers meshes, solids, blackouts, and translucent products pretreated with flame-retardant properties to prevent washing or wearing away. Its Précontraint membrane coating “applies an equal amount of tension across the warp and weft—length and width direction of the yarns—to give the tent and awning fabric added dimensional stability,” explains Steve Fredrickson, national sales manager, Serge Ferrari North America. Précontraint also enhances UV and abrasion resistance. For tents and awnings, many Serge Ferrari products are polyester fabric with an additional acrylic coating for durability. They are compatible with solvent, UV, and latex, though the company recommends using solvent inks to penetrate the materials. Some of its media for the commercial tent market utilizes a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) treatment instead of acrylic. PVDF reduces dirt adhesion and facilitates cleaning the product. The company offers some products at 71 inches wide and others 98 to 128 inches for clear span tent structures.
Value Vinyls’ acrylic-coated PVC products include Soluna for awnings and StructureTec for tents and other tensile structures. They are compatible with latex, solvent, and eco-UV printing. Both products are water resistant and meet national standards for flame resistance. Welded or sewn, they are available with a five year warranty. Soluna, for home and commercial awnings, is resistant to mildew and fungus and utilizes additives for resistance to UV rays. The material offers tensile and tear strength for long outdoor durability as well as dimensional stability to prevent sagging. It is available in rolls of 61 inches. StructureTec is designed to withstand adverse weather, with a lacquered finish to ensure easy maintenance. It is built with blockout properties to eliminate the transmission of light, providing the end user with lighting control within the tent or tensile structure. Its double-side acrylic coating “can be printed on both sides for unique branding opportunities,” notes Josh Propp, product development manager, Value Vinyls. StructureTec is sold in rolls 98 inches wide, or 126 inches for special orders.
Designed For Digital
Tent and awning materials all provide the water resistant and durable qualities that outdoor applications require. The media varies in other ways—some offer flame, mildew, or UV resistance, others target larger jobs or tensile applications. Digital print providers can select the substrate that best suits the job, maximizing the print as well as its longevity.
Sep2015, Digital Output DOTW1509