The best tools for plastic eyelets

Banner-fixing is one of the tasks that sign makers perform and the right way to do it will depend on the use which it is aimed at. Eyelets are items that are used for making banner hanging easy, using straps with buckle or nylon cable ties. For example, a banner that must be hung outdoors, as in the case of advertising canvas in shopping centres, needs to be fixed more tightly than others that will be used in indoor spaces. The size of the banner will also determine the number of eyelets required and whether it needs some reinforcement or not.

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The graphic industry is experiencing an increasing digital transformation, evolving to much faster digital printing systems with very low production costs. Not all involved processes have made progress evenly in terms of time, the finishing department is usually a bottleneck in all digital print shops and companies. This is due to the low level of automation. Labour is still influencing in a very significant manner, as it is a very manual process in tasks such as cutting, welding and eyelet setting. They are expensive procedures for the companies and always slower than printing machines, creating some blockage in the production.

Eyelet: the key element for a perfect finish

Regarding banner finishing there are three determining factors to achieve a faultless finish: the quality of the material that the canvas is made of, the reinforcement needed and the proper eyelet choice. We will focus on the latter factor as a key element for banner fixing.
Eyelets are round pieces that are used in digital printing finishes and fabrics. They are also known as grommets in certain countries, but they always have the same purpose: to strengthen a hole in order to get through it different types of materials which fix them to a frame.

Although it is a small piece, its purpose is essential since it allows the fixing of a printed material without damaging or breaking the fabric. Metal eyelets were used traditionally both for fabrics and banners, however, this product has evolved over the last decade towards other types of material, which add more advantages to the digital printing sector, resulting in plastic eyelets.

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If an eyelet is not properly set, the tension made by the strap or bungee -common materials used for fixing banners to frames- will make it break easily. Special care should be taken with those banners that are going to be hung outdoors, where the inclemency of the environment -rain and wind- wear out these banners more quickly.

Eyelet differences according to the material

In this market we can find different types of eyelets: metal ones made of iron, brass or aluminium and clear plastic eyelets. The eyelet choice depends mainly on the type of banner and the finish.

Regarding resistance, there is hardly any difference between one and another. When there is a strong tension in the banner (wind) and it has not been reinforced properly -whether by welding or using banner tape- the banner will get torn around the eyelet, since the banner is always the first material that gives away as it has undergone a punching procedure prior to the eyelet-setting. Plastic eyelets have a component elasticity that metal ones do not have, and which helps to absorb these tensions partly.

The main differences are seen in the durability of the material. In the case of metal eyelets, corrosion and the malleability of the material can bend and stain the banner as time goes by, it is not unusual to see banners with rust marks just underneath the metal eyelets. Instead, plastic eyelets do not rust and due to their material and thickness they do not bend either.

Another key difference of plastic eyelets is that they can be recycled in the PP and PE waste stream, becoming a perfect solution for this type of banners, which are increasingly used for advertising in supermarkets. Moreover, metal eyelets need to be removed from the banner to be recycled separately.

rust grommet
Example of a rusty metal eyelet.

The most obvious advantage of plastic eyelets is that the fact of being transparent makes them almost invisible, allowing the printed image underneath to be seen. They do not hinder the marketing message that is required to be transmitted in a banner or an X display stand, for example. This is the main reason why they are becoming the most popular alternative in the digital printing market.

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Ideal banner-fixing methods

Once the most adequate type of eyelet to be set on digital printing media has been chosen, the best way to hold them to a frame also needs to be chosen. Remember that without eyelets the tension that is exerted between the banner and the frame would make the banner break easily.

For small formats which are placed indoors -that is, applications where there is no effort- elements like plastic cable ties or bungees with metal hook are commonly used. For large format and outdoor banners, we always recommend strap webbings with metal buckle, which can undergo the most demanding conditions. This is the solution that is used to cover whole facades of buildings or the sides of football stadiums, as an example. The straps are made of high-resilience polyester with a metal buckle that is made of zamak, the perfect solution. There are other fixing systems with strings, wire ropes, etc., but in many occasions, they are not enough resistant or can damage the material in the end.

Banner PLASTGrommet

Tools and accessories to set plastic eyelets

Depending on the volume of work of a print shop, several tools for setting eyelets are required. Remember that perimeter reinforcement is recommended to add more thickness to the area where the eyelets will be set, welding for instance a PVC coated polyester webbing to the whole perimeter of the banner. This reinforcement must be done in those banners that will be exhibited outdoors. We can state three types of machinery which allow us to perform the right eyelet-setting process: hand presses, semi-automatic and fully automatic machines. Each of them corresponds to different capacities and banner formats. We will now comment on the most important features of PLASTGrommet eyelet machines.

Eyelet hand presses

Because of its size, these portable machines are perfect for small jobs. Regarding HPS025 model, it is a self-piercing machine for PVC banners, polypropylene plates, etc. For fabrics we recommend the HPS020R model with non-self-piercing setting dies, since the basic model HPS025 can create wrinkles in this type of material.

Olladora portatil HPS025

Semi-automatic eyelet machines

They are pneumatic eyelet presses that allow us reduce working times and guarantee a high-quality finish. These professional tools are recommended for mid-size sign shops that have a certain level of work and where the finishing department needs to speed up their procedures. For example, the Queen and Speed Queen models, which punch the banner and set the eyelet in one single operation, include the CE marking to guarantee the safety of the operators and allow them to work effortless, even setting a lot of eyelets daily.

Olladora neumatica Queen

Automatic eyelet machines

They are advanced eyelet presses that allow the setting of plastic eyelets in materials such as PVC banners, flags, awnings, plastics and all types of fabrics. They can set automatically both parts that make up the eyelet: grommet and washer. They are sophisticated systems for high volumes of work. For example, the Evolution model can set 35 eyelets every minute and the Multipress model up to 50.
Olladora automatica Multipress

In our signmakers section you can get to know all the possibilities of PLASTGrommet eyelet presses.

Among the accessories to fix the banner to the frame there are also bungees, polyester-coated elastic cords and cable ties, all of which are compatible with plastic eyelets. In this article we wanted to go into the importance and benefits of plastic eyelets in depth, in order to know the ideal tools to set them. If you need to improve your finishing systems, at PLASTGrommet we can advise you to choose the best machine for your company, remember that we are manufacturers indeed.

Eyelet machines

roll handling equipment

roll handling equipment

roll handling equipment