The 2-year quest for an eco-credible high performing PVC replacement has closed with green hub, Nettl Chippenham, adding Kavalan to its new materials roster
Nettl Chippenham, the green arm of Nettl DigiPrint Chippenham and Bath, has ditched all its traditional PVC banner supplies in favour of Kavalan, the game-changing PVC-free range of banner materials exclusively available from CMYUK.
The wholesale migration to Kavalan follows a 2-year quest in search of a proven and credible PVC-free alternative.
“During the 2020 Lockdown, we decided that the business needed to adopt a new green ethos. We wanted to provide a sustainable choice to our customers, offering it via the Nettl UK partnership of 220 studios that are currently buying non-eco signage options. We can fill that green gap,” says Ben Gregory, MD, Nettl DigiPrint Chippenham and Bath and Director of a new green hub, Nettl Chippenham.
“We’ve already seen an uptake in the request for green products, particularly from government bodies, schools, universities and colleges. Some of the councils now won’t buy banner material unless it comes from an eco-source. They’re already ticking the boxes that will trickle down to other businesses,” he adds.
The journey to green
In Ben’s experience, the road to greater sustainability hasn’t been easy with Greenwashing a very real feature. At best, he has found market information sporadic and opaque. What is best practice sustainability in the graphics and display market? What impact do the various manufacturing processes of the new green products had on the environment?
“The good thing about CMYUK has been its transparency regarding Kavalan,” he says. “There are technical data sheets as well as production information that includes CO2 emissions. This is great for us as we are a carbon-positive business, which is a step beyond being carbon neutral,’ he says.
Eco materials on test
Kavalan Sunlight Frontlit Banner was one of the products from the Kavalan range that Nettl Chippenham tested alongside other PVC-free options. Suitable for both external and internal usage, Sunlight is a frontlit banner material with a grey reverse that has the soft suppleness of a non-PVC material but retains all the characteristic robustness of traditional PVC. It is economical, lightweight and can be used with UV and Latex inksets. Available in widths up to 5m, it can be welded using hot weld or high frequency welding when used in conjunction with Kavalan PVC-free Snail welding tape. It is the perfect alternative for signage, events and exhibitions.
“We liked its thickness, durability, and the fact that there is very little stretch. We’d never used a grey back before, and it was a massive bonus. In comparison to Kavalan, the other green options were thin, stretchy and nowhere near as strong. With the non-Kavalan materials we had to do a fair amount of profiling to each one, to get the correct colour balance and the right amount of scratch resistance. Kavalan outperformed all the other PVC-free materials by far,” says Ben.
Customers haven’t noticed the difference between Kavalan and traditional PVC – such is the success of the former’s non-malignant emulation, but according to Ben, once customers understand Kavalan’s green credentials, they are specifying it for future jobs and don’t want to use anything else.
Next steps with CMYUK
Nettl Chippenham is now evaluating several materials from the CMYUK exclusive eco portfolio including PONGS® and UFabrik textiles for TFS graphics and backdrops. All materials have been tested using the company’s HP Latex equipment installed at the Nettl DigiPrint Chippenham and Bath production studios.
Says Ben, “Kavalan feels as though it’s been designed by a sign maker with a spec that’s robust, durable, produces high print quality and can handle all finishing. Our team really like it, as far as we’re concerned it’s a direct replacement for PVC.”