Case Study: A Bespoke Printing Solution For Artex

PrintFactory software has supported premium textile manufacturer Artex to achieve consistent colour output and enhanced productivity with an automated workflow solution that has led to consistency in color reproduction and significant savings on media wastage costs. 

BACKGROUND

A leading manufacturer of fabrics for sunshade products, curtains and upholstery, Artex has a long standing reputation for its innovative, high-quality craftsmanship. Based in Aarle-Rixtel in the Netherlands, Artex was founded in 1947 and is part of the multi-national Hunter Douglas Group, the global market leader in window coverings.

The company currently work with two designer departments who prepare outputs for textile printing on curtains, roller blinds and pleated blinds. Approximately 98 percent of print jobs processed by the company are completed digitally, with the other two percent created and finished via conventional methods.

THE CHALLENGE

Prior to installing the PrintFactory platform, Artex operated six roll-to-roll digital printers for short runs to produce fabric for pleated and roller blinds on different materials, including sheer, blackout and translucent fabrics. Working across a range of textiles, one of the main challenges was guaranteeing consistency in color production and therefore preventing excess media wastage.

With a vast number of textile sample books in circulation all featuring subtly different shades and patterns , accurate color reproduction is of the utmost importance. Artex therefore needed to be confident that the final output would always be identical to sample provided. However, printing onto different fabrics using different machines was making it difficult for Artex to define color profiles for each roll unit – a problem further compounded by the lack of print software design tools tailored to meet the unique needs of interior décor printers.

If the final output was different to the provided sample, the job would have to go through a troubleshooting process before being reprinted, wasting costly time, ink and media. 

KEY ISSUES

  • Market-wide sample books require reproductions to be identical
  • Difficult to define color profiles for different fabrics in individual roll units 

THE SOLUTION

Upon purchase of two new devices for its digital printing division, Artex deployed the PrintFactory solution on a software as a service (SaaS) basis, with all upgrades automatically administered and data automatically backed in for easy recovery in case of service disruption.

With a focus on color management and productivity, Artex implemented three key PrintFactory tools:  

  • PrintFactory’s automated workflow solution, offering a means to reproduce color across different substrates and devices automatically
  • PrintFactory’s VISU editor to assist preparation of interior décor designs for customers
  • PrintFactory Cloud, which offers users full control over every facet of the production process

RESULTS

Textile sample book printing with PrintFactorySince upgrading its printer fleet and introducing the PrintFactory software, Artex has achieved consistent, accurate color reproduction and saved significantly on media wastage costs thanks to the software’s smart color management tools and automated workflow processes.

During the implementation process, the local PrintFactory service team supported Artex with onsite visits and training, and have continued to provide assistance throughout the deployment, responding to queries as they arise and performing in-depth investigations to ensure that any issues are resolved swiftly.

When printing on different fabrics and devices, PrintFactory ensures that Artex is able to promise its customers reliable color outputs time and time again. The software’s smart color profile creation and automatic device calibration is able to compensate for the differences between fabrics and calculate the color output accurately for each device and material, meaning that Artex is able to produce consistent results no matter what fabric or printer used.

Thanks to PrintFactory’s automated workflow processes, if a printer goes down on the production floor, jobs can be automatically redirected to the department’s second device to produce the same results – without the need for a troubleshooting phase. By automating its processes and removing the need to manually check and recalibrate jobs, Artex has been able to boost productivity and operate more efficiently. 

Textile printing color managementArtex’s production team has embraced the data-driven insights provided by PrintFactory’s browser-based reporting tool. By monitoring ink usage and media usage through the cloud dashboard, Artex can calculate more accurate costings per job and, as a result, is able to offer more and more competitive proposition to potential customers.  

Studio Manager at Artex, Carla Rennings commented: “When working with textiles, one piece of white fabric may not be the same shade as another piece of white fabric. PrintFactory’s ability to calculate and compensate for these differences automatically is a huge advantage -  removing the need for troubleshooting and saving valuable time. We’ve also had some fantastic feedback from our customers since we’ve introduced the software. In one case, a customer was so impressed with the quality of print on our pleated fabrics they wanted to see if we could achieve same results with roller blinds, and of course, with the help of PrintFactory - we could!”

Following feedback from Artex, the PrintFactory team also created bespoke tools within the VISU editor to optimize the tool for interior décor printing. These features have become invaluable to the company in providing bespoke services to customers, such as preparing tailored textile designs and laying out items such as sample books and catalogue pages. Carla summarized the benefits of PrintFactory saying, “By producing a reliable and consistent color output no matter the fabric, PrintFactory is a great software for textile printing.”