The event takes place on 12 and 13 November. The first day is intended for commercial printers, sign makers and display graphics printers looking to expand into textile printing. The second day is intended for colleges, universities and other educational establishments, a key target market for the smaller of the new devices.
RA Smart is not only the supplier of the technology, it is itself a printer of textiles, starting to print the silk fabrics that Macclesfield is renowned for. Screen printing continues, along with weaving and digital printing, alongside the sale of the technology. It gives the company, and managing director Magnus Mighall, a unique perspective over the sector. “I have been printing textile for more than 30 years, digitally for more than 20,” he says.
He called on this when planning the open house, as well as consulting with the sectors, to understand the obstacles to painting textiles. “The biggest barrier being that suppliers very rarely truly understand what it is like to run a successful textile print business. We’ve been successful for over 20 years and supplied equipment and solutions all along the way, so we’ve already lived through the problems, and are thriving.
“We want to share this knowledge and our skills to help print service providers make the best textile printer choice for their business, and we will stand beside them every step of the way.”
The intention is to show the process from end to end, not only printing but also the sewing and beading needed for finishing the light boxes, lesion frames and lightwalls that are the growing applications for textile print.
However, because this is a working factory and because of the educational nature of the event, prior registration is necessary. And while there is car parking at the site, the company recommends rail travel, with a shuttle from the station to the factory.
RA Smart is the exclusive UK agent for the three HP Stitch models to date, and is responsible for the first installation of a Stitch 1000 at Manchester Print Services. The smaller models, Stitch 300 and Stitch 500, are ideal for textile design students and for creating proof of concept designs.
By Gareth Ward