Fremont, Calif. – The Flag Shop® (www.flagshop.com) has installed an EFI™ VUTEk® FabriVU® 340i dye-sublimation printer from Electronics For Imaging, Inc. The Vancouver-based soft-signage and textile printing company has 11 franchise locations across Canada and is using the versatility and quality of its new printer to expand product offerings from coast to coast.
The Flag Shop’s recently installed 340i is the first printer in its class to offer in-line sublimation, which eliminates the need to transfer printed items to a separate calender/heat press. The four-color, 133-inch wide printer also offers superior-quality, 2,400 dots per inch (dpi) imaging, which enables The Flag Shop to differentiate itself with truly premium products.
“We needed a replacement printer, but we also wanted a printer that would allow us to expand our opportunities,” said Susan Braverman, The Flag Shop’s President. “The EFI 340i will be fabulous for our existing ‘bread and butter’ product line but, equally important, it opens up a whole new world of products that don’t yet exist in our marketplace.”
Braverman added, “I like to find products that aren’t being made, and love to expand into areas where we have no competition. This printer not only allows us to do that, but having a grand format printer in Vancouver means we have the flexibility of completing large projects in-house and the ability to deliver really quickly if needed. That’s a big advantage for our clients.”
New textile solutions for a diversifying market
The printer is already setting a new standard for quality among clients. “We recently made street banner samples on the FabriVU 340i for a large international retailer of high-end yogawear – and they told us we blew away the competition,” said Ron Reyes, The Flag Shop’s Production Manager. “We were awarded the order and installed their full banner program throughout the city.”
Vancouver is also colloquially known as Hollywood North because so many films and television series shoot there. The Flag Shop has been actively supporting this industry with both digitally printed and appliqué products.
Reyes commented, “We are now able to provide products, such as backdrops for sets, with fewer seams which is important to this industry. We used to do projects in multiple pieces which were then sewn together but now are able to produce large backdrops in one piece – that’s impressive.”
The Flag Shop also purchased the newest-version EFI Fiery® proServer SE digital front end (DFE) to drive its new printer. With the DFE, the company gets superior color management and spot-color handling, along with EFI’s exclusive Fiery Accelerated System Technology RIP (FAST RIP) – a processing feature that RIPs jobs 5 times faster on average to eliminate printer downtime spent waiting for files.
Versatility and speed deliver an impressive ROI
Even though The Flag Shop was founded in 1975 as the first retail flag store in the world, it expanded years ago to also produce street banners, feather flags, corporate displays and scores of other textile applications. Municipalities, sports companies, event and conference organizers, and entertainment industry businesses are all steady clients.
“We didn’t stop at flags,” Braverman explained, “and my company really shines in high-quality customized printing. Customers choose us because of our reputation for providing affordable, quality solutions to complex requirements.”
Both she and Reyes regard EFI as having a similar objective of delivering flawless output. “I looked high and low for the right printer, and was very impressed by the VUTEk FabriVU 340i,” said Reyes. “It features Italian technology from Reggiani, which has been making the number-one textile digital printers since day one. That was very exciting. Plus, it delivers on color quality, and the inks produce a wide color gamut just out of CMYK.
“The 340i recirculation ink technology extends the mileage of the inks,” he added, “so our ink cost has gone down and our ink usage has gone down. The ROI on this printer is impressive and I’ve been blown away by the EFI level of professionalism.”
“EFI is in their own class. You don't just buy the printer and they’re gone,” Braverman summarized. “We expect to enhance our competitive advantage and improve profitability by taking advantage of all the features that the VUTEk 340i offers us. EFI has an incredible lineup of printers!”
EFI VUTEk FabriVU printers are also available in 70-inch and 205-inch wide models to address a broad range of high-quality soft signage applications. For more information about advanced EFI technologies for display graphics production, visit www.efi.com.