“The size of this printer, at 17 feet, opens up new markets for us where customers need larger graphics,” said Sean Sadhoo, GMof IAC. “One of those markets is theatre companies that need theatrical backdrops or curtains. They used banner vinyl until recently but are now switching to sublimated panels.
“These are very custom, one-off jobs,” Sadhoo added. “There are only five shops in North America that can do it, so the VUTEk FabriVU gives us a huge advantage.”
Other markets where IAC sees growth opportunities are large-scale events, such as music festivals and sporting events.
The VUTEk FabriVU line is also available in 5.8- and 11-foot widths.
IAC was an early adopter in Canada for dye-sublimation printing. Now, more than half of its sales volume is currently in dye-sub work for clients needing graphics for tradeshow and pop-up events, and corporate and retail environments. Nearly all of IAC’s customers are increasingly using fabric over other substrates to enhance their brand impression.
“In the last six months or so it seems that retailers in Canada have caught on,” said Sadhoo. “There’s so much fabric going into retail stores now, especially silicone edge graphics, like lightboxes. The cost savings in shipping when they’re rolling out national programs are significant, and the graphics are easy to install.”
IAC’s new VUTEk FabriVU 520 printer is designed for 24/7 operation. Its aqueous inks deliver four-color printing in a wide color gamut with deep saturation up to an ultra-high resolution of 2,400 dpi. It produces print at a maximum speed of 4,800 square feet (446 square meters) per hour.
“When we opened in 2007, even a 10-foot dye-sub device was rare in Toronto,” Sadhoo said. “That’s not the case anymore. So, being the first in Canada with a 17-foot device makes us unique and gives us an edge. For example, our clients can now have larger, continuous graphics instead of stitching panel graphics together. We can now give them backlits with seamless backs. There are no backlit boxes bigger than this printer, so this is a huge benefit.”
With this acquisition, IAC becomes a total EFI large-format shop. For several years now, the company has also used a 16-foot wide EFI VUTEk UV roll-to-roll printer, as well as a 10.5-foot wide EFI VUTEk UV hybrid flatbed/roll printer.