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Short but sweet

Short but sweet

Established in 2000, CATdigital, the commercial arm of the Centre for Advances Textiles (CAT) at Glasgow School of Art, specialises in the creation of customised and bespoke printed fabrics for the fashion and interior design markets.

Using a pair of seven-year-old Stork Sapphire digital inkjet printers, CATdigital works with current Glasgow School of Art students, the college’s graduates and established designers at global names like Topshop and ASOS.

Its services are recommended by design courses across the globe with orders regularly arriving at the Glasgow campus from remote Scottish islands to Australia and even the most northerly location reached by DHL, namely a Norwegian address within the Arctic Circle!

CATdigital prints on over 40 different types of natural fabric in lengths up to 100 metres and has recently invested in new steaming and washing equipment for its finishing department, because as Alan Shaw, CAT”s Industry Coordinator explains: in  “There’s no point in being able to print 100 metres of fabric if you can’t finish it.”

However, as a design-focused enterprise it also proudly offers design samples as short as half a metre. With Alan observing: “Larger companies wouldn’t take on such short-run work, as they perceive such jobs to be a waste of their time, but although the industry has grown and technology has moved on, people still need half-metres printed.”

The CAT stable also encompasses Classic Textiles, a digital printing house that specialises in recreating the 20th century’s most iconic textile designs, including the exclusive reproduction of the ‘Calyx’ design by Lucienne Day.

While the majority of the day-to-day machinery maintenance is handled in-house, CAT gains from the efficiency benefits of bringing in a dedicated engineer for less frequent issues, such as replacing pumps or dealing with dropped heads. The business sought a new technical support supplier for this work around four years ago when its OEM service was withdrawn. After trying services offered by other companies and finding them unsatisfactory, word-of-mouth recommendations led it to Quality Print Services (QPS), with Alan Shaw commenting:  “There are certain things that only need doing every six months or so and since QPS does these on a daily basis it makes sense for them to handle it.”

Alan puts CAT’s success to date down to its high level of customer service born of the traditional design backgrounds of each of the print room staff.  He says: “We don’t just receive a file and print it; we can tell you exactly what’s wrong, if something does go wrong and can give help to those who need it.” However, he adds: “Our academic roots and on-campus home do not mean we can rest on our business laurels. We are a commercial enterprise and thus we need proper commercial back-up if we are to continue to realise our ambitions.”

CAT’s aims for 2014, include  plans to upgrade to a new textile printer to accompany its finishing kit investment and once again, it will be looking to QPS for both its technical support and as a leading supplier of Nazdar alternative wide-format inks, new and reconditioned wide-format printers from top brands, Neolt laminators and printers, RIP software and media from Ilford BioMedia, Phototex and Hydrosol. QPS is also an Authorised Roland Dealer for dye-sublimation applications.


For further information on CATdigital visit:

For further information on QPS visit

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