To Sew or Not to Sew
If a PSP is printing to fabric, they’re going to need to consider investing in a sewing machine or another alternative to finish the fabric. There are a lot of options available today, so it’s important to conduct the appropriate research.
The starting point is always: What is the goal? What kind of work do I plan to do, and in what volume? That will guide all decisions about what kind of machine to buy — or whether to buy at all. Sewing machines are categorized based on the kind of stitch they make: lock stitch (which doesn’t run when pulled out) or chain stitch (which can be pulled out, but are better suited for long continuous runs). They are also specialized based on the task they perform, such as straight stitching, serging, hemming, or the very specific task of SEG keder attachment. Each of these tasks requires special attachments and operation modes that must be designed upfront. The more advanced machines include an automated feed table.
Another level of distinction is heavy-duty versus light-duty — in simple terms, industrial use versus home use. Obviously, the latter is not appropriate for commercial use. Finally, the level of automation desired will dictate what features are needed. It is always better to err on the side of heavy-duty — at least from a quality standpoint. No one ever said, “Gee, wish I bought a worse quality machine!”
If you are performing time-critical work, you need to have a backup plan for breakdowns. That could mean additional machines, spare parts, or cross-trained employees. Sewing machines are high precision machines. The can and do break down. If you will be doing high volume production, you almost certainly need to have at least two machines. Even if the system is highly automated, you need to have more than one person who is trained on setup and minor maintenance.
Welding solutions are also an option for certain applications. They fall into two categories, The first is hot air, which shoots a jet of hot air between the surfaces just before bonding through. The second type are those that use a special welding tape that melts and bonds the two surfaces together, such as radio frequency (RF) or ultrasonic. Welders tend to run more slowly at very even speeds compared to sewing machines.
Another non-sewing option for SEG finishing includes our Banner Ups (Booth 125) KederTape no-sew, peel-and-stick keder. KederTape is a pressure-sensitive adhesive keder that can be applied with no equipment. Just cut KederTape to the needed size, peel the liner, and stick it along the edge of the SEG textile graphic. Then install using our unique “foldover method” into our SEGDesign non-aluminum frame to produce a tight, beautiful looking SEG sign every time.
Sewing or welding equipment is a big investment of capital, machinery, and training. It can easily range from $3,000 to $30,000 to get the machine that will do the job. Even more, investment is required in the persons to operate, maintain, and repair the equipment in-house.
For many, finding a non-equipment-based finishing solution allows them to get into the textile sign (SEG) market immediately at a low cost, and with a quick and easy-to-learn method. That is what we offer. KederTape is designed to work with Banner Ups SEGDesign Modular SEG frames. SEGDesign frames consist of molded corners, T-connectors, and side rails which snap together quickly and easily to create unlimited sizes instantly, with no special tools. KederTape and SEGDesign are designed to allow any printer to get into the SEG market quickly at low startup costs.