Telford-based TF Signs has installed an Epson SureColor SC-F6300 (hdK) dye-sublimation printer from CMYUK.

Together with a platen heat press, it was purchased initially to aid production of team apparel for the British male and female teams competing at this years’ FIM International Six Days Enduro (ISDE), regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious off-road motorcycle competitions.

Ryan Austin, managing director of Austin Mix, has been involved in the sign and graphics industry for over 25 years. In this time, he has managed to blend his love of motorsports into his day job, providing all printed items and clothing such as motocross jerseys, bespoke team apparel, event logistics, and brand awareness for Team GB events.

Following a curtailment in 2020 due to the pandemic, and with a reduced presence in 2021, the ISDE made its comeback this year for its 70th anniversary, which pushed Mr Austin into bringing the manufacturing of these event jerseys in-house, for the first time.

Mr Austin said, ‘After the cancellation in 2020, the uncertainty surrounding the 2021 event, the companies we previously partnered with seemed disinterested in the project we had this year. With Brexit and the Covid excuse, the usual sources in Italy became unusable, due to long lead times required on design and production and the tax tariffs imposed by Brexit. Back in June I took the decision we needed to manufacture here in the UK to enable us to solve the above problems, giving us 100% control over every aspect of the garment production.

‘My thinking was to install a dye -sublimation printer to enable me to produce garments at roughly the same production costs but without the long lead times and logistic issues which continue to be problematic. To be honest, it had always been something I’ve wanted to do because outsourcing had problems of time constraints. It’s not like the Olympics for example, where you’re producing X number of small, medium, and large shirts that the athletes choose. Each of these jerseys is a bespoke individual garment that displays a different name, number, sponsor, and because of certain contractual obligations, some logos need to be placed in specific areas, so that they are prominent during media coverage.

‘Due to the nature of these type of events, it might be that competitors are injured and unable to compete as short notice, in which case you’ve got to generate new artwork for the replacement. With outsourcing this had proved frustrating in previous years.’

The SureColor SC-F6300 (hdK) is a roll-to-roll dye sublimation printer that has a max width of 1118mm and a maximum print resolution of up to 1400dpi.

Mr Austin added, ‘For me, one of the most daunting things was colour, and how I could manage colour in a way that is reasonably straightforward, that doesn’t involve messing about with lots of different processes such as file types or settings, to be able to create consistent colour output. From the get-go, there wasn’t much that I needed to do to get the right colour consistency. We printed over 300 metres of pattern with zero waste. It lived up to its plug and play credentials. Plug it in, prime it up, play about with a couple of the settings, and you just go from there.’