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The largest sublimation printer in the world was recently installed in our production halls near Schiphol Airport. This because Van Straaten wants to continue to lead the way in the development of print innovations to allow our customers to produce the most impressive visual branding solutions, whilst operating lean, mean and green.

Sublimation printing uses high-quality technology to add prints to textile. It involves the direct transition inks from a solid state to the gas state without going through a liquid stage. In practice, this means that heat-sensitive inks transfer to the surface of the textile immediately, with the ink actually becoming part of the material. With the complete absence of any 'dot patterns' , this benefits the quality of the finished product. Another advantage is the strength of the print produced (it doesn't fade) and the fact that the prints don’t damage easily. With today's growing trend towards the use of textiles and frames at exhibitions, rather than wooden structures, sublimation printing is becoming increasingly popular in this industry. In the past, the size of the sublimation printers available limited the use of sublimation print as an alternative for slimframes, stand structures and interiors. Not any more.


Until recently, sublimation printers were only available for prints with widths of up to 3.2 metres. Anyone wanting bigger prints was forced to sew together printed textiles or opt for a different print technology. UV printing, for example. Unfortunately, the problem is that textiles sewn together have 'ugly' seams. Added to this, many of the materials used for bigger prints need to be rolled up for transport. This is not in line with what many companies aim to achieve in terms of a lean business operation. Large roll with print media take up storage space and come with (international) delivery charges….. You could say that there was a real lack of sustainability and efficiency.

Projects and events are continuing to grow in size and are becoming more and more impressive. Brands are setting out to astound people with their visual branding and want real eye-catchers. This is something that can't be achieved without size! The world is ready for a new standard in sublimation printing. We sat down with our business partner Durst to exchange thoughts on the next generation of sublimation printers. Durst took our wishes on board and developed the Rhotex 500 Dye Sublimation printer: a five-metre dye sublimation printing system.


Five-metre wide textile prints and unlimited lengths, printed in just one piece: impressive results are guaranteed. Although there are already a number of other technologies that enable large-format prints, such as UV printing and Solvent printing, sublimation printing has many advantages over all of these alternatives: in the form of excellent print quality and sustainability. The textiles we use for sublimation printing are REACH certified and free of heavy metals and PVC. As you might expect, we use water-based inks. Sublimated textile can be folded without any damage to the product. This means less volume, making packaging, storage and transport all more efficient (and cheaper). This was an important reason for Van Straaten to invest in this technology. With solar panels on the roof, a wood-fired boiler and LED lighting throughout the company, we are one of the most sustainable parties in the market. The next step is to make our production processes greener, something the Durst Rhotex 500 will help us achieve.


For us, investing in the largest sublimation printer in the world means embracing innovation, discovering new markets and expanding existing partnerships. It’s impossible to innovate without testing new solutions and I think it's true to say that the best ideas often emerge from experiments. With this in mind, I encourage partnerships with companies that see possibilities for a new, special use of the Rhotex 500 in their businesses. We’d like to join forces with these companies to put these ideas to the test.

Durst unveiled the Durst Rhotex 500 Dye Sublimation printer at the FESPA Digital 2016 exhibition, which took place at the Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre recently. Today, there are just three of these machines in the world, one of which you will find in our production halls. If you would like to see this great piece of equipment for yourself, you are very welcome to come along and take a look; that's how proud we are. This innovation will open up new possibilities when it comes to operating lean & mean. This innovation enables organizations to operate more sustainable. And, this will enable creative minds to develop new applications for soft signage. I don't know what the future holds for sublimation printing, but I do know that the future will be lean, mean and green!

Niels van Straaten



"Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful."

Joshua J. Marine