Flocmat - Printing Floor Mats
Flocmat is located in Wormhout on the Belgian border, 30 minutes away from Dunkerque and Lille. In its 15 years of existence, Flocmat managed to impose itself as the European leader in printing floor mats, car mats and personalised mats using different technologies such as flocking, pigment ink printing and transfer printing. In 2009, Flocmat became part of the ID GROUP, which gathers several companies with different activities ranging from professional mats for the industry, the agriculture and public buildings to the distribution of creative and technical mats, thus complementing Flocmat.
Product in user story: ValueJet 1638WX
The company name is derived from the technique they first used to produce printed mats, namely flocking. Flocking is an analog printing technique similar to screen printing, with the difference that it is not ink being deposited on the mat surface, but small coloured textile fibers called “flocks”. These flocks adhere to the mat by means of a glue layer applied before the flocks are added. The result is a beautiful print embedded in the fiber of the mat without changing its quality and durability aspects.
Flocking is a good technique to produce printed mats in small and larger quantities, but the technique also has its limits. Jean-Stéphane Joly explains: “Flocked mats are very durable and well-suited for designs with even colours, but this technique cannot be used for fine artwork with gradients and small details which are becoming more and more popular. That’s why we started looking for other manufacturing technologies that could produce this kind of artwork. After some research, it became clear that digital printing, and specifically transfer printing because of its bright colours, was going to be the best solution for our needs.
As the European Mutoh headquarters are nearby, we talked to them first. There was an immediate click between us, and we have been using their equipment ever since.”
Today, Flocmat has two Mutoh sublimation printers in use. One is a Viper that has already more than 250.000 m² under its belt, and the newest addition is a ValueJet 1638WX 4-colour sublimation printer.
Prepress responsible Frédéric Salomez comments: “We have been using Mutoh printers from the very beginning and I can only say that these machines are very sturdy and almost never let you down. The speed and print quality is just perfect for our application. Thanks to the affordable ink consumption of these sublimation printers, we are able to produce any given design in small and large quantities at a competitive price.”
NO MORE HIDDEN SECRETS
Jean-Stéphane Joly explains how it all works: “First we print the image onto special media, which is then transferred to the floor mats using a special heat transfer press. This is a very important step in the process, because the temperature and pressure have to be correct to get a perfect image transfer and a durable mat as a result. It might look very simple, but I can guarantee you that there are a lot of parameters you need to master to get a good result. We have been doing this for the last 15 years, so the technology has no more hidden secrets for us.
”Flocmat sells its products mainly through dealer sales channels, but is also looking for collaboration with local companies who produce large format prints and POS materials, because mats are an ideal product to create visibility in the market. Soon, Flocmat will also introduce a webshop through which companies and individuals can order mats online.
The French company Flocmat has been using Mutoh sublimation printers ever since they started producing personalised floor mats. A partnership that is not likely to change according to Flocmat manager Jean-Stéphane Joly.