LOS ANGELES — The print craze of recent years has helped Robert Davis to build AVID Ink into a booming business.

Davis is chief executive officer of the Corona, Calif.-based company, which specializes in sublimation printing, a technology that reproduces photo-quality images on fabrics with a higher resolution than can be achieved by silk screening.

The multistage process begins with printing the image on proprietary paper with special inks, then applying the paper to the fabric in a heat-transfer process that injects the ink into the garment. That technique gives the image longevity, eliminating chips and nicks from wear-and-tear on the product.

“You can get a resolution that’s unsurpassed and really stands out,” Davis asserted.

AVID, or Advanced Visual Image Design, has attracted a clientele of 200 manufacturers, mostly in the junior and misses’ markets, including surfwear and swimwear manufacturers such as Manhattan Beachwear and Raj Mfg. Davis also has diversified the business to cater to hard goods, such as surfboards, coffee mugs, mouse pads and point-of-purchase display programs. Sales last year exceeded $5 million and Davis said he’s on track for a 40 percent increase this year.

To keep up, he has opened a second facility in Los Angeles to be closer to his customers, since Corona is about 55 miles southeast of the city. He’s also installing a bigger printing press, an 80-foot, 220,000-pound machine that prints 44-by-64-inch paper, compared with his main printer that spits out 28-by-40-inch pages. The larger paper will allow AVID to cater to larger garments, such as men’s products, motocross jerseys and plus-size garments.

Davis said his vertically integrated operation enables him to turn an order within 10 to 14 working days.

Two years ago, Tustin, Calif.-based Raj began working with AVID to test the sublimation technology in place of wet-printing on a couple of its Guess and Next by Athena swimsuit styles.

“It can really capture the photo image compared to wet-printing,” said Raj head designer Katie Ho. “Anytime you can work with someone vertical, you can save on time and errors.”

— Nola Sarkisian-Miller

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