The new material accounts for up to 25% of the initial print output. Its unique properties have already shown how it can accelerate production by 60%.
UFabrik Tent Textile, Dallas, Texas. KD Kanopy Inc. has chosen UFabrik Tent Textile, Dallas, Texas, for its dye-sublimation printing.
The business initially expects to print 40,000 yards (36,576m) per annum – representing 25% of its total output. The first shipment was 5,500 yards. A contingency stock of 5,000 yard is always available at the UFabrik Dallas warehouse.
“UFabrik Tent offers super vibrant colors. The tent prints, cuts, and sews beautifully, and its price was right. I’m really impressed with the quality, and I like the size because of the panels that go on the back of a frame. When I was buying 63-inch lengths, I had to put a seam in, and it could make really good-looking graphics appear wonky,” says KD Kanopy’s president and owner, Matt Kayser.
Sublimation dyes and UV
KD Kanopy, the leading name in tenting, is the industry leader. The company’s products are sold in the beverage, military, promotional, and event sectors. It has over 20 patents on its products, and is also the exclusive distributor for Majestic Style Canopies and Star Shade Canopies.
AEC Inc. purchased KD Kanopy, the original owners of which were based in 2010, from them. AEC, Inc. purchased two EFI VUTEk dedicated roller-to-roll ultraviolet printers of 3.2m (126″) and 5m (299″) plus a flatbed UV. In only two years, they tripled their sales. Dye sublimation capabilities were added to the mix in 2019 with the purchase of two EFI VUTEk 340i’s to handle the increasing demand for SEG work, plus the ability to offer the tenting world additional solutions.
“We wanted to go more dye sub as it’s just an easier process – the colours really pop, and there’s just an overall uplift in the tents and canopies,” says Matt.
One of the biggest benefits of UV inks is that they don’t fade. They can, however, chip when handled frequently. They adhere to the material’s surface. “Customers just don’t listen to care guidance. The print will be damaged if you drag the tent over rough terrain. If a tent is not folded and stored properly, especially if there’s been high humidity or rainfall, the UV inks can stick together, and pull apart once the badly stored tent is unpacked,” he says.
The dye sublimation process fuses the inks to the fabric fibres, making the image part of the textile. The dye sublimation image will fade with time, but not as fast as UV.
“We’ve made a tent using dye sub printed UFabrik Tent Textile and it’s been up on our balcony since October last year. It’s seen 15 snowstorms and been exposed to the sun, which is very penetrating here as we’re a mile high. Colorado gets 300 days of sun a year; you’d think with all the snow it would be something like 200 days, but we have more sun than Hawaii. Only now after six months of battling extreme weather, the tent is beginning to fade,” says Matt.
UFabrik Tent properties
The properties of water-resistance, ink adhesion and tensile strength are essential for materials used to manufacture printed tents and canopies. UFabrik Tent is a textile that has these two characteristics. The heavyweight woven polyester material also has EN13501, NFPA-701 and is airtight. It is 80% opaque and has a lotus-effect print face. This makes it perfect for gazebos. marquees. canopies. tents. and outdoor event graphics. It can be used for paper or direct transfer sublimation. Wet textiles are not affected by ink and can be stored with no compromise.
UFabrik, in collaboration with EFI, has ensured that all color profiles for the Fiery XF RIP are available to North American EFI VUTEk installations. They can be accessed from the Fiery Profiles Updater for several super wide printers such as the EFI VUTEk 340i, and the new generation FabriVU 340i+.
UFabrik has produced a FabriVU settings guide that contains data on specific printer speeds, fixation temperatures inline, and control of material tension to ensure the best possible color reproduction for textiles output by this printer family.
“UFabrik has really done a great deal of legwork. We have been greatly helped by the profiles you provided for FabriVU printers. It’s only taken us two tents to figure out shrink and stretch, just because so much background work has already been done by them,” says Matt.
UFabrik Tent’s stability has accelerated production and increased efficiency. “We can finally use our Zund digital cutter to cut dye-sub because our previous material would shrink and stretch so much that getting the right template to the cutter didn’t happen and we had to cut by hand. Now we can go from the printer to the cutter and then the sewing seamlessly, we’re now 60% faster,” he says.
KD Kanopy reports that 2022 will be its best ever year. UFabrik Tent Textile is expected to help the company meet current and future demands.