A Solutions Provider in North America


Businesses with backgrounds in textile production, in addition to design and decoration, are apt to inch out beyond their traditional offerings every once in a while. And if it makes sense—financially as well as physically—they may consider expanding.

Sometimes adding a new application doesn’t take much, as it fully complements what a company already produces in-house. A bonus is when the same customers also benefit from the introduction and add it to their weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly job orders.


Depth of History

Founded in 1972 by William and Cynthia Goettelman, FLS Banners remains a family-orientated business to this day. Based in Sturgeon Bay, WI, a staff of 20 operates out of two facilities totaling over 20,000 square feet of manufacturing and fulfillment space. It reaches customers as far as Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, and South America, but its current focus is on North American clients.

Customers include display houses, brand agencies, print brokers, direct end-users requesting custom printed textiles for trade shows, point of purchase advertising, and on-demand custom branded apparel and home furnishings.

Offering textile-based printing services since the 1970s, FLS evolved into a complete solutions provider with in-house manufacturing and fulfillment. It started with traditional print methods like screenprinting and then added digital sublimation and more recently implemented digital pigment printing.

“Our depth of history allows us the ability to solve challenges based on experience as well as creating unique solutions to clients’ needs,” explains Cain Goettelman, president, FLS.

In 1999, FLS converted its first digital printer to use in-house manufactured sublimation ink. Two decades later, it relies on digital printers equipped with Konica Minolta and Kyocera Corporation printheads that print on media up to 3.2 meters in width. The company utilizes JK Group’s J-Teck consumables for its sublimation-based ink, with consistency as the standout feature.

FLS works directly with yarn suppliers, mills, and finishing companies to create a series of textiles offering performance and value. “One of the many benefits FLS offers its clients is the ability to develop solutions. This development extends well into our supply chain and includes textile manufacturing. While managing a complex supply chain does require additional resources, our clients appreciate the benefits it creates and the ultimate value to the end-user,” says Goettelman.

One of the many textile applications it offers is silicone edge graphics (SEG). About ten percent of FLS’ annual volume consists of SEG without fixtures. However, it also produces replacement graphics for many LED framing manufacturers, including Agam Group, Matrix Frame USA, SEG Systems, and Testrite Visual.


Measuring Matters

Based on years of experience producing SEG, Goettelman shares that one must address three factors to yield a successful digitally printed SEG panel. The first is to measure the frame accurately. FLS has a process it shares with its clients to ensure the correct frame measurements. The second factor is whether the frame will use LED lights. As they are common, it is vital to verify use because it impacts output profiles, which is related to the final point.

“You need a profile for both backlit and non-backlit displays. Understanding what the client expects in terms of output is crucial. Are they looking for accuracy of skin tones and reproductions of their products, or do they need matches to corporate color standards?” asks Goettelman.

“There is nothing more frustrating for your client than receiving an SEG that doesn’t fit the frame. The ease of changing a graphic is a key selling feature of an SEG frame. It is up to us to live up to that expectation,” he adds.Measuring once, twice, and three times repeatedly happens while producing SEG panels at FLS. First during the prepress proofing stages and then after printing and finishing. It is necessary to verify the panel’s dimensions after cutting since there is “no sense in sewing a panel if the size is not correct,” according to Goettelman. After sewing the keder around the graphic’s edge, we measure one last time.


Today and Beyond

The range of environments using SEG illustrates its popularity. “SEG panels are ideal for locations rented advertising space, such as airports, stadiums, and performing art venues. Retail locations, from department stores to boutiques, use them to highlight featured brands, offer, and create customer awareness. A prime location is storefront windows because the backlight enhances the visibility day and night,” suggests Goettelman.

All of these locations and the buyers who place them recognize the benefits of SEG. Key advantages, according to Goettelman, focus on the simplicity of changing and storing the graphics, the high-end appearance, and the savings on the shipping because SEG prints are so lightweight.

Because of all of these advantages, SEG is growing beyond its initial intent. Besides basic four-sided frames, there are now pop-up frames, counters, and modular configurable booths that create different shapes and sizes. The modularity factor is something that Goettelman believes will be critical going forward.

“Flexibility is going to be very important when trade shows return. We are expecting wider aisles, smaller booths, and the ability to reuse your display rather than build an entirely new booth, which will provide big cost savings,” he foresees.


Detail Orientated

FLS is well known for its attention to detail, ensuring each SEG panel’s perfect construction for the frame. Satisfying one client at a time has led to success in several different applications, not just SEG display, and will serve it well in future endeavors.

Contact FLS Banners for custom SEG panels and other custom printed fabric solutions.