Image Appeal

By Tim Wright, Editor | March 26, 2014

DIYers, architects, interior designers, commercial companies and retailers are increasingly making use of digital printing on nonwoven substrates to compose expressive images and customized advertising messages.

Whether to enhance the design of exhibition booth space or spice up the decoration of home or office interiors, today’s generation of wall murals are real eye catchers. And, nonwovens have a lot to offer in this new area helping to make rooms and our living environment more aesthetically pleasing.

Nonwoven wall murals are in fact revolutionizing the wallpaper industry. Online retailers like Catalogue Singapore, for one, are changing the way we all think about wallpaper. Gone are the days when wallpaper was impossible to put up and even more impossible to tear down, leaving so many of us to look at the same dreary wallpaper for so many years. DIYers or designers can browse hundreds of designs, or use their own image, from the comfort of their own home or office and simply place an order online.

Nonwoven wall murals are easy to install, allowing the DIYer to paste the wall or the backing without soaking the wallpaper in messy glue. They don’t expand or contract like the old days says the company and once on the wall, they will slide making the lining up of the pattern a little bit easier.

They are also tear resistant so there is no tearing of paper while installing or removing to reposition.

Made of both natural and synthetic fibers, nonwoven wall murals are both washable and breathable, making them resistant to mildew or mold unlike the old wall murals. Catalogue Singapore’s wall mural materials are imported from Germany.

Evolon evolution

Nonwoven supplier Freudenberg offers Evolon to the market. With its unique elegant mat look, smooth touch and eco-friendly composition, Evolon is available in all different weights starting from 100gsm, depending on applications and printing technologies. For wall covering applications Freudenberg says it offers the heaviest weights possible. The company says since its launch, Evolon has proved successful in substituting conventional textile printing media by providing better drapability, better hanging behavior and being more cost-effective with some selected printing technologies.

“Evolon positions itself in comparison with all media available, independently from manufacturing technologies,” says Jean-Francois Kerhault, business section manager Evolon. “Key trends have to be considered for printing media in general. Printing customers select their printing media by performance and price rather than by technology. They want to know, ‘What value does the product provide me with? How cost-effective is it? And, what is the performance and price level of the final printed solution?’”

Consulting company InfoTrends expects the retail value of wide format printing in North America to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.9%, reaching $23.6 billion by 2016. Digital printing is the fastest growing area.

“Banners, advertisements and signs are all growing with the economy,” says Kerhault. “The use of digital printing is growing in decoration applications, opening up more and more possibilities in short series and customization.”

Technical hurdles are numerous in the field. “This is the result of the combinations of diversified nonwoven technologies with an extremely wide range of printing machines and inks,” says Kerhault. “Available widths and maximum printing productivity are important key buying factors also. With Evolon, due to the specific construction of our material, we have identified we allow higher printing speed on a selection of leading printers.”

Moving forward, as the category continues to evolve, designers will continue to look for inspirational and versatile products like Evolon allowing them to differentiate from competitors. “However price pressure on final printed products will continue. Printers will look to decrease their costs for materials and inks while at the same time increasing their productivity,” says Kerhault. “Another very important trend is the eco-friendly consciousness and the related existing and upcoming regulations. Major end customers phase out non eco-friendly materials and require solutions for the end of life of printed materials. This can be an opportunity to leverage as well as a challenge to overcome for some organizations.”

Recently, Evolon was granted an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 80, the highest rating available under the UV standard 801, the only standard able to verify the durability of UV protection in real-life heavy use conditions.

Providing sunscreening or dim-out effect, Evolon is ideally suitable for curtains, roller blinds, sun shades, awnings, canopies and marquees specifically designed for sun protection.

These properties result from a manufacturing technology featuring polyester and polyamide, which provide “inbuilt” sun protection. Unlike conventional woven or knitted fabrics, Evolon has a particularly tight construction with a multidirectional laying, which avoids any gap between fibers. This high-density microfilament structure allows Evolon to provide a durable sun protection, even after laundering. Evolon can be easily dyed or printed and is especially compatible with dark dyes, which will reinforce sun protection.

Neschen innovates nonwoven media

Whether it’s for walls, windows or floors, German firm Neschen offers a medium for every surface. Its broad range of products for graphics applications span from finishing, protection and mounting films to print media which may be applied for avant-garde architecture, decoration and advertisement. They also offer a variety of display systems and light boxes, which can be used to make each point of sale (POS) more attractive.

Printed with individual motifs, Neschen media generate visual appeal as a means of drawing particular attention to products and sales areas. Leading German wallpaper manufacturer Erfurt offers ideal solution for large surfaces such as walls, according to Neschen.

This PVC-free, digitally printable nonwoven wallpaper is environmentally friendly, breathable and comes with fire protection certification. It gives interiors and retail environments a very distinct atmosphere, as exemplified by the local character of the ECE shopping center A10 in Berlin.

The project location, with close proximity to Berlin and the surrounding districts of Dahme-Spreewald, Barnim and Oberhavel, was the inspiration behind the motifs used at the A10. Characteristic features of these areas were abstracted in graphic form, with Schloss Sanssouci and the Babelsberg Studios, for example, representing Potsdam.

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