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Wednesday, 29 April 2015 00:00

Louvolite has embraced digital printing and this has yielded dramatic results

The consumer of today is a sophisticated one. In all areas of their life they are looking for something special, something that stands out from the crowd, something that reflects who they are. This is true in all purchases they make, clothing, shoes, cars, phones and yes even window furnishings. The consumer demands more options on design, colour, texture and impact - the capability of today’s digital printers provide the fabric manufacturer with a number of answers to help satisfy these demands.

A decade or so ago the textile digital printing industry was focusing on apparel fashion and wallpaper design either for new concepts and design ideas only or limited production runs. Whilst of definite interest to window blind fabric manufacturers such as Louvolite, the width restrictions and very slow printing speeds made the equipment unacceptable in product and efficiency when considered alongside traditional printing methods. The traditional print methods of rotary screen-printing and transfer printing maintained their position as the methods of choice within the industry.

But the market was changing, becoming more demanding, more adventurous. Louvolite recognised this shift in mood and responded by introducing their first unique range of laminated woven textiles to the industry. These fabulous fabrics combined high quality, luxurious woven textile designs with Louvolite’s lamination capability. This combination of technical ability and design has been recognisable in Louvolite’s fabric collections over the years. The introduction of the laminate products was not to replace the printed fabrics but to support and increase the overall collection of designs available to the consumer. The revolution of the laminate designs was a revelation and they proved extremely popular. The 2013 Louvolite fabric collection enhanced the design options still further by additional laminates which utilised traditional classic soft furnishing fabrics such as Chenille, Shot Silk and Taffeta. In addition printed designs were revamped to include bold designs such as Havana.

Digital printing had moved on by 2013 and digital print manufacturers were pushing hard at using print machines to digitally print paper which was then used to transfer the print to fabric in the traditional transfer print process. Other digital print equipment manufacturers were printing directly onto fabric but then the printed fabric had to undergo additional processing to “set” the ink onto the textile. Once again the lack of flexibility and speed of the digital equipment was not deemed capable enough to satisfy the volumes of fabric production required for Louvolite to enter this section of the market. However one such piece of equipment was reported to be able to print high colour definition directly onto fabric without additional processing and Louvolite used this as its preferred production method when introducing Bloom – a high impact design applied to their industry renowned Ex-Lite base fabric. The results were dramatic, both visually and from a consumer acceptance perspective. The combination of the design elements in the 2013 Louvolite roller/roman fabric collection has resulted in the most successful selection of designs in the company’s history.

Of course Louvolite’s all new collection is launched in January 2015 and the use of all production processes have been considered in the creation of the final design selection. Louvolite’s in house manufacturing capabilities now include rotary screen printing, transfer printing, lamination and recently the introduction of the final piece in the jigsaw – the digital printing element.

The new equipment was installed earlier this year and after a successful bedding in period it is being used to help produce the appropriate fabric quantities for the immense task of swatching fabric for the fabulous new Louvolite fabric collection books due for the beginning of next year. Make no bones about it Louvolite will continue to work as hard as they can to ensure that the new collection offers the ultimate selection of fabric designs available anywhere, the industry saw the roll out of its new collection since October 2014.



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