How did they do that? Digital Displays Revealed…

1 06 2009

Digitally Imprinted Table Covers are Center Stage

Cover Story
By: Tama Swan, Associate Editor
Issue: 2009jun
The digital age is revolutionizing custom table covers at Aprons, Etc.

North Carolina may be the furniture capital of the U.S., but its southern neighbor is the one that keeps it all covered. Greenville, South Carolina-based supplier Aprons, Etc. (UPIC: APRONS) is a leader in digitally printed table covers for tradeshows, schools, banks or anywhere a corporate presence is needed. “You name it, basically every company has a need for some type of display logo table cover, banner or backdrop,” says Scott Thackston, executive vice president for Aprons, Etc.

The company has made printed logo table covers through its Display Solutions line for years, but the process only turned digital within the last decade. And technology made the process more affordable only within the last two or three years. Thackston says embroidered or screen printed covers were once the most economical options, but now a large order of digital table covers can cost less than traditional imprint methods.

Plus, he says, digital covers offer more choices. “The flexibility of this option is head and shoulders above any other,” Thackston says. “Digital processes give much more in the way of logo imprint size, visual graphic quality and full-range color options.”

The covers start out as e-proofs, or digital mock-ups of what the final product will look like. Once the distributor gives the green light, the logo or image is printed directly to the cover’s front panel of fabric—100-percent polyester in eight stock table cover colors—or to a sheet of heat transfer paper. (Print runs of fewer than 50 pieces are printed on paper first and then transferred.) Allover digital prints are used to achieve custom colors and PMS matching.

It’s the printer at Aprons, Etc. that sets this operation apart. Its subsurface digital imprints use heat and extreme pressure to trap ink and gas inside the core fibers of the fabric and permanently bond it there. The result is a completely smooth surface, and nothing like the slick heat transfers that are so familiar on t-shirts.

When printing on paper, the heat and pressure are so intense that Thackston says there is nothing left on the paper itself, making it a true digital transfer print.

This subsurface printing accounts for the longevity of the imprint, which Thackston says endures for the life of the fabric and guarantees won’t wash, wear or peel off.

Once digitally printed, the covers are cut, inspected for accuracy and imperfections and then stitched together and finished to be either a fitted or draped display table cover. Thackston says six-foot-long table covers are the industry standard, but the scope of digital imprinting means there are no limitations. “The covers can be any size you need.”





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