North West wide-format printer Fusion Digital Print (FDP) is expanding its facility to offer dye sublimation fabric printing, beginning with the installation of an Agfa Avinci CX3200 machine in January 2023.

The 20-year old company produces a lot of European exhibition work and has various retail customers and, having dabbled in fabric printing with UV technologies, has confirmed plans to invest around £400,000 to set up a new dedicated fabric department.

‘You can’t dip your toe into fabric printing, you need to do it properly,’ explained FDP Director Darren Taylor. ‘We see a lot of growth for the business in printed fabrics both from our existing customers and new ones. It will allow us to print on a wider range of substrates and we can pack them smaller, fold them, making it easier to post them out to clients.

‘The Agfa Avinci was the first piece of dye-sub equipment to be installed, closely followed by a calender unit. We’ve purchased new tooling for our two cutting tables, have new sewing machines and now employ two full-time seamstresses with over 40 years of experience between them.’

Already an Agfa customer with an early Anapurna model, FDP’s decision was also influenced by a visit to Leeds-based Northern Flags, which uses three Agfa dye-sub printers. The new fabric capability has meant that Fusion Digital has expanded its workforce and taken on another industrial unit to house the finishing equipment. The running costs of the 40kW calender are in part offset by the efficiency of the printer, which requires only 4kW.

Lower ink costs and usage were also part of a green agenda that included media supplies, which are not sourced from the Far East but more locally in Germany from a fabric manufacturer that plants trees to offset its carbon footprint.