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Textile Printing Services

With the textile printed market predicted to grow to £4.22bn in 2023, Carys Evans asks: “What are the most realistic textile printing services you can add to your business?”

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Michael Lewis, large-format account manager, HP

It’s never been easier

As there is growing demand for print on textile materials, HP decided to reinvent dye-sublimation printing.

By listening to the print providers and their day to day problems regarding the complexity of printing on textiles, HP developed its new range of Stitch products to address these issues, by making printing on textiles easier.

This has been achieved by combining HP’s existing thermal printhead technology with new dye-sublimation inks – while also adding additional features, such as automatic maintenance and nozzle compensation, as well as drop and dry print zone dryer.

The trends for textile printing in signage are currently in front-lit and back-lit prints within retail point-of-sale and exhibition markets, where there is a shift away from the standard signage substrates. The HP Stitch offers deep blacks, excellent, sharp text resolution and smooth skin tones. Making it an easy transition to fabric substrates, especially when these materials are more easily and cheaply transported.

The opportunities the HP Stitch offers in segments like interior décor, sportwear, fashion and merchandise have never been so easily accessible


The opportunities the HP Stitch offers in segments like interior décor, sportwear, fashion and merchandise have never been so easily accessible for a print-service-provider (PSP). 

With the digitally printed textile market set for considerable growth, twinned with developments in the manufacture of polyester materials, PSPs have a much broader choice of polyester fabrics due to the reproduction of natural materials such as silk, cotton and linen. With recyclability a growing concern in society today, manufacturers are producing far more 100% recycled materials which is further supporting the fast progression towards sustainability.

Don’t compromise

Phil McMullin, UK sales manager for Pro Graphics, Epson


Modern sign-makers will already have invested in a large-format digital printer which uses either solvent, latex or UV inks. There is a large range of textiles available for these ink sets which can produce acceptable finished results but generally there tends to be a compromise involved. This is either a lack of vibrancy in the image or an incorrect “feel” to the printed textile because these ink types tend to sit on the surface of the textile rather than become part of the material.

So if you want to maintain the vibrancy and colour gamut of your original design and ensure the inks chemically bind with your material then the only real option is dye-sublimation. Textiles printed with dye-sub inks are fully safe to use in the making of garments and the texture of the original fabric is fully preserved.

There is a large range of textiles available for these ink sets which can produce acceptable finished results but generally there tends to be a compromise involved


Epson has been providing innovative dye- sub solutions for nearly a decade now and has a range of printers from 24" to 64" including fluorescent ink options. The entry level 24" model, Surecolor SC-F500 is priced below £2k plus vat and all you need for finishing is a suitable heat press.

This will get you started in the rapidly growing personalisation market including garments. For bigger applications including soft signage either the 44" (Surecolor SC-F6300) or 64" (Surecolor SC-F9400) models will prove more productive, particularly paired with a heated calendar. For really large-scale textile printing this can be conveniently outsourced to one of the many trade suppliers offering their services in the UK.

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