Manhattan's Enhance A Colour Leverages EFI Superwide Format Printing to Revolutionize Short-Run Carpet Manufacture
Press release from the issuing company
FOSTER CITY, CA – February 8, 2007 – EFI, the world leader in color digital print servers, superwide format printers and inks, and print management solutions for commercial and enterprise printing, and Enhance A Colour, a leading manufacturer of unique digital images and displays, today announced the ability to cost-effectively produce durable, long-lasting, customized ten-foot-wide carpets in short runs, on demand, using the VUTEk FabriVu superwide printer from EFI.
“Enhance A Colour is a terrific example of creativity in work. They have harnessed the power of the VUTEk FabriVu from EFI to create a revolutionary new product with almost unlimited market potential,” said EFI’s VUTEk product marketing manager, Mike Wozny. “It is now affordable for even the smallest companies and retail outlets to acquire long-lasting carpeting for almost any application, including store interiors, lobbies, trade show booths and more. With Enhance A Colour’s full complement of EFI’s VUTEk superwide format printers, the entire office décor, from carpeting to wall paper, murals, backlit signage, flags and even doors, can be customized for stunning effects.”
The VUTEk FabriVu three-meter printer for dye-sublimation applications delivers greater consistency, improved cost efficiency and higher productivity than alternative digital printing systems. It is available in four- and eight-color models for superior image quality, prints at 360 dpi resolution for crisp text and detailed images, and runs at the unprecedented speed of up to 1,622 square feet (151 square meters) per hour. The VUTEk FabriVu prints on a wide range of fabrics via transfer process or directly onto selected polyester flag and poplin materials, and produces products that are wash-resistant and dryer-resilient for reusable indoor/outdoor graphics. Dye-sublimation technology infuses ink into the fabric for brighter colors, better draping, and a softer “hand,” and the oil-based inks yield vibrant colors, the widest possible color gamut and high operational reliability for optimal production efficiency.
“We have been an EFI customer since we opened our doors in 1998,” said Kevin O’Connor, co-owner of Enhance A Colour with his brother, Jim. “In creating this new application, we invested significant research and development efforts and believe we have a truly unique process for creating ten-foot-wide rolls of custom carpeting of up to 100 feet in length. For the first time, customers can have durable, customized carpeting that can be used for wall-to-wall applications that will not wear out as short-run carpeting created with other methods does.”
In addition to retail and office applications, Enhance A Colour has been providing customized carpeting for theater premiers and other special events. Enhance A Colour even provided special jungle-like carpeting for the stage set of the Broadway play, Tarzan, which, with thick foam styrene padding glued underneath, allows actors to safely perform the acrobatic feats the play requires while at the same time, giving the stage the realistic look of a jungle floor.
According to O’Connor, rolls of heat transfer material are printed on the VUTEk FabriVu, and, using a specialized heat press, inks are applied to standard carpeting at 400°F, causing the inks to become a gas that is embedded into the fibers of the carpet. Carpet created in this manner can be shampooed, walked on and otherwise treated like any normal carpet without wearing off the image as happens with other digitally created carpets, where the ink is applied in a layer on top of the carpet fibers.
“Manufacturers have been trying to solve this problem for years,” adds O’Connor. “Previously, the minimum order quantity for quality custom carpeting was 1,000 to 1,200 square yards. For many small businesses and other users, this is an excessive quantity that resulted in high costs and/or significant waste.”
At annual revenues of about $5 million, Enhance A Colour experienced 20% year-over-year growth in 2006. “Today,” comments O’Connor, “about 90% of our business is fabric and 10% is carpet. We expect the balance to shift in 2007 to 75% fabric and 25% carpet. We have barely scratched the surface on the market potential for this new FabriVu application.”
In line with EFI’s “Green” initiatives and as part of the company’s long-held commitment to improving the environment and benefiting its global customers, the FabriVu is an operator-friendly printing solution with no VOC emissions.
“VUTEk FabriVu improves not only our customers’ environmental footprint, but their bottom lines as well,” said Guy Gecht, EFI CEO. “It is one example of our commitment to protecting an increasingly fragile Earth, a lead we hope others in the industry will follow.”
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