British Fabric Printing (BFP) has installed an Epson SureColor SC-F9400H dye sublimation printer from CMYUK. This enables the business to expand beyond the printing of natural stretch jersey fabrics for children’s clothing into producing polyester-based textiles for sportswear, athleisure and interiors.
BFP was founded in 2020 by Essex-based duo Lisa Bence and Stuart Kettridge. Lisa had set up her own online children’s clothing store in 2017, where she was selling her own designs, and Stuart was working as a stone cleaner by day and an audio mastering engineer by night. The growing popularity of the digital store and Lockdown presented the couple with the opportunity to really focus on the business. The idea was to bring the necessary equipment in-house for the printing and production of Lisa’s designs, and as a secondary spin-off, also offer an online bespoke printing service.
In the last 2.5 years BFP has also installed 2 X Mimaki TX300 pigment ink printers, a Klieverik VERTEX calender press, all from CMYUK. “CMYUK have helped us enormously since we began. They will always go the extra mile for us, and we trust their guidance and advice,” says Stuart.
The installation of a paper transfer dye sublimation printer had been in the back of the couple’s mind for some time. “Since day one, we’ve been badgered to print polyesters but obviously you need dye sublimation paper transfer to do that. So, while it’s always been on the cards, we felt initially, we just needed to concentrate on our cotton jersey materials and products,” he says.
CMYUK invited the couple to its demonstration and training facility in Shrewsbury, where the Epson SureColor SC-F9400H was put through its paces. This is a fast, high-volume, six-colour, 64-inch paper transfer sublimation printer that is suitable for sports and fashion apparel, soft signage and other textile applications. It also has the ability to print fluorescent pink and yellow to create an array of dayglow spot colours, bringing impactful designs to garments and other items where intense hues are required.
Using water-based pigmented inks, designs are printed to paper, transferred onto fabric by a calender press where heat and pressure transforms the ink into a gas. This fuses and bonds with the fibres within the textile, creating highly durable, wash-and rub-fast prints.
The Epson SureColor SC-F9400H has a maximum print speed of 108.6m2 per hr for fast turnarounds. Settings deliver a lower tension and accurate registration, improving take-up and reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) by using lower-weight sublimation papers.
“It’s an amazing printer. The quality, speed, colour vibrancy added to the fact that you can print dayglow pink and yellow spot colours make it really impressive. The results are fabulous. People are really excited about it. We’ll be launching a new section on our website featuring these new fluorescent designs, providing a unique angle that no one else is doing. New products for adults as well as children will include swimwear, active wear, leggings and softshell raincoats. We’re also going to be offering blinds, we really want to branch out and this technology is an ideal platform on which to expand,” says Stuart.
Lisa and Stuart are interested in increasing output but still keeping the business as an enterprise that is run in the main by the two of them. The sewing of the children’s clothing has recently been outsourced to another home-grown British company, giving them time to design, produce and market their new product categories.
Stuart says, “We’re just getting on with the next level of our business and we’re ensuring that this is something we can handle by investing in technology that gives us versatility, greater efficiency and speed so we can do more within existing time scales. Already we’ve seen the difference as evenings and weekends have become family time once again. We’ve had lots of interest already from dance schools and those wanting bespoke blinds. It’s an exciting time.”