Here at Standfast and Barracks we offer a vast varied route through the fabric printing process, allowing our customers to have freedom when it comes to choosing what is right for them.
We have created #12daysofstandfast to showcase some of what we offer using one particular route through the factory. In this campaign we followed the production journey that would have taken place of a fabric heading through rotary print process using VAT dyes.
A substantial benefit when printing with us is to have each stage of the process performed on-site ensuring and maintaining quality control and cohesion. It also allows for more efficient project managing as we pride ourselves on the strong relationships we build with our customers through on-site meetings and regular updates, maintaining their confidence in every step of the process.
Here is a round up of our #12daysofstandfast journey:
1st day of our #12daysofstandfast countdown shows the start of our process in the design studio. Here our skilled team will work with you to create trends and visions to suit you and your brand, they will then create all the original artwork needed to then transform into a beautiful collection of designs digitally.
Throughout the design process our team will be consistently updating our inspiration/ design work walls to keep focused on progressing the collection. It is also a great way to share all the amazing work created by our team and to invite further development ideas from other members of our Standfast team.
Day 2 of #12daysofStandfast begins with our colouration service, once a design separation has been approved by our customer the digital files can be used to create various colourways for each design. Our CAD colourists can create colourways focusing on the latest trend forecasts for both design and colour!
We can colour match to a specific palette chosen by you, and we welcome the opportunity to work on-site with our customers offering advice and support as part of the creative colouration process. We offer an extremely customer focused solution; when bulk production is ready to take place we invite our customers to attend the initial print run to make any final colour adjustments. We love as a company to offer a personal one to one service with our colourists.
Day 3 of #12daysofStandfast – Welcome to our colour shop! Once our customers have passed all colour-ways with our colouration team, It then heads to the Colour shop where our team of experts measure the dye recipes. Each individual colour within a colour way has its own unique recipe made fresh for each print batch, thus every colour produced will be bespoke to our customers designs.
We encourage our customers to be as free and creative as they would like when colouring their designs. Our experts are always here to provide assistance with technical developments with respect to colour, cloth choice or print process.
Day 4 of #12daysofStandfast – Its now time to Engrave!
The digital designs are separated by our excellent separation team in the studio then used to engrave the screens ready for print. Having on-site screen engraving means we have complete control of the process ensuring only the highest quality print mark.
Rotary screens are engraved using the latest ‘state-of-the-art’ CO2 laser technology offering both speed and accuracy.
Day 5 of #12daysofStandfast Once the raw material has arrived to the factory it then travels through the preparation stage! Starting with the Singer.. See our next post for more information about the Singer..
The Singer is used to clean the fabric, the machine burns off the surface short fibre from both sides of the fabric before being immersed in a chemical mixture which will break down the weaving lubricants.
Day 6 of #12daysofStandfast – De-size – The chemical mixture in the Singer is known as De-Size and once applied the fabric is then rolled, soaked thoroughly with the chemicals, onto a batching device called an ‘A Frame’. The chemical slowly ‘eats’ away at the size which is applied before weaving, turning it into a soluble form which is easy to wash off later. Depending on the type of fabric, the Desizing process could take up 16 hours.
Day 7 of #12daysofStandfast – Printing! We offer both conventional (Rotary and Flatbed) and Digital printing services. With four rotary machines working 24 hours per day we are the UK’s largest rotary screen printer, specialising in high quality fabric printing for the home furnishings and premium apparel markets as well as technical camouflage products for the defence industries.
Rotary Printing: This is where the design is applied to the fabric using cylindrical metal screens. When the print paste is forced through the open mesh (engraved design) by a metal blade squeegee or a magnetic roller squeegee, the colours are then transferred onto the fabric where the pattern is exposed only. The design is then built up, one colour at a time until the final pattern is on the fabric. The fabric will then be dried through a drying chamber.
We can print up to 21 colours on a wide range of substrates including cottons, linens, silk, velvet, wool, nylon, polyester and Trevira CS using a variety of different dyestuffs including vat, reactive, disperse, discharge, acid and pigment. We are also able to print using various special effects, including paste white, gold, silver and copper metallic, pearlescent, foil, flitter and foam.
Day 8 of #12daysofStandfast – Flashager. The dyes applied through the rotary print process need to be fixed to the the fabric. This is done through various chemical processes dependant on the dye used. VAT dyes are fixed using a combination of steam at a very high temperature for 60 seconds in combination with a special mix of chemicals padded onto the fabric before steaming, all within the same machine.
The fabric is then also washed off on a large washer which completes the chemical fixation process and removes all the residual chemicals from the fabric. VAT dyes are used on Cotton and Linens and is a highly specialised method of printing preferred in the Furnishing industry because of the wearing and fastness properties of VAT Dyes.
Day 9 of #12daysofStandfast – Finishing: Once the fabric has been through the Flash Ager and the Dyes are now fixed; the fabric then heads through the Finishing process. Here a fabric can go through a variety of processes which can apply special effects or enhance the performance of the fabric such as light fastness and shrinkage. We have the latest state of the art machinery for finishing and we are able to create any finish that is required by our customers in terms of drape, handle, feel, appearance as well as performance.
This process takes place through the Finishing Stenter: This machine is multifunctional in the finishing process. It can add chemicals to the fabric which can adjust the handle of the fabric. Chemicals can also be added to make the fabric water repellent or flame retardant. Our Finishing Stenter is also used to align the weft threads and the design perfectly straight so that when the fabric is finally made up the designs all line up too.
Day 10 of #12daysofStandfast – Testing – We have an on-site facilities for testing our products and have an M&S accredited Laboratory facility where fabrics can be tested for most physical tests such as strength, wear properties and shrinkage as well as chemical and colour fastness testing; colour fastness to light, perspiration, rubbing etc.
Day 11 of #12dayofStandfast – Makeup: Once fabric has passed our testing phase it then heads to Make-Up where it is inspected further to ensure only the highest quality printed fabric is sent out to our customers. Following final inspection in Make-Up the fabric rolls are packaged ready for the final stage.. Delivery!
Day 12 and the end of our #12daysofStandfast: Delivery! Off the fabrics go to our amazing customers!