Using the correct Vinyl Banner Media - Digital or Screen Grade?

Posted by Dan Dix on December 9, 2014

This blog article was written by Dan Dix, Business Manager Digital Media at Herculite Products, who has over twenty five years of experience in sign supply distribution and banner manufacturing. Email contact ddix@herculite.com

screenprint75% of vinyl banner media issues with inkjet roll-to-roll printers are material feeding/tracking issues; head strikes, bunching, poor lay-flat, curling, etc.

A lot of vinyl banner media is screen grade, which means it is actually banner fabric originally designed for screen printing but currently being supplied into both the screen print and digital inkjet markets. Approximately 15 years ago, Asian manufacturers started copying the most popular vinyl banner fabrics  in the US market. At that time UV ink screen printing was the most popular method of printing vinyl banners because inkjet solvent printing technology was still being developed.

This is what many Asian manufacturers have supplied to the US digital inkjet vinyl market since then. The profitability of selling screen grade as digital grade is apparent when you compare what is being supplied today with what was being supplied then. Popular printing methods have drastically changed in the last decade but there has been little to no change to the screen print grade currently being sold into the digital market.

Screen grade vinyl media was originally designed to be used with a vacuum bed which meant it had to be very limp, flexible or as often described as having a soft hand. This soft hand isn't ideal for roll-to-roll digital inkjet printers and can cause tracking issues, wrinkling and head strikes from poor feeding of the banner material into the printer. With high temperature, as in latex printing, the vinyl media becomes even softer magnifying these issues.  

The solution is to source a stiffer hand vinyl banner media that has been specifically designed for roll-to-roll digital inkjet printers like Bantex® banner fabrics by Herculite. In other words, use digital grade vinyl for banners that are digitally printed.  However digital grade vinyl banner fabric can also be used for screen printing. Again it’s the stiffness properties that solve tracking and feeding issues.

With digital grade vinyl banner fabrics, many of the tweaks suggested to make your digital inkjet printer work with screen grade vinyl banner media aren't necessary.

By using digital grade vinyl banner media on your roll-to-roll digital inkjet printer these common media issues can be easily eliminated. Use the correct media for your print technology and for your printing method!

Made in the USA, Herculite Bantex® banner fabrics are the best digital grade inkjet vinyl banner media for roll-to-roll digital inkjet printers available.

Contact customercare@herculite.com or call 800-772-0036 for free sample rolls and a listing of Authorized Bantex distributors in your area.

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