Personalised clothing and stickers for top athletes
HGA Sport based in Winkel, North Holland, is a wholesaler of engine parts, gears and chains. You would probably not expect to find a Roland printer here, but HGA Sport proves that innovation and a customer focus are crucial to success. HGA Sport supplies personalised clothing and stickers to motorcycle racers and since recently also to darts heavyweights. It was one of the first companies in the Netherlands to invest in a Roland Texart RT-640 printer, to provide these solutions to its customers.
Continuous growth process around personalisation
Dennis Brethouwer is the Managing Director of HGA Sport and has been running the company for 18 years, together with Dirk, his father. Their clients primarily consist of motorcycle racers, but they have now succeeded in adding road bike users to their customer base. 'Many of our clients use stickers to promote sponsors, but also as a way to personalise their motorbike', explains Dennis Brethouwer. 'We started to produce our own stickers years ago, which were sold through our wholesale business. It became a great success! The next step in our growth process was the production of personalised clothing. Roland DG's sublimation printer contributed to this step, which turned out to be the right move for us. The clothing is true to colour and the shirts are resistant to even the most taxing circumstances’.
Enormous database to meet any demand
A motorbike has many parts that can be decorated, such as the front and rear mudguards, the number plate, hand protectors and tank. HGA Sport has a ready supply of templates for these parts, which means that they can always produce a suitable sticker. Edwin Brethouwer, the brother of Managing Director Dennis, is responsible for the design department. 'We supply the templates, but apart from that, we follow the customer's wishes. If they want a pink sticker on a green bike, then we can supply that too. We even turned a motorbike completely yellow in the colours of the Jumbo supermarket', adds Edwin. At the top level of racing, using house-style colours is often very important, which HGA Sport also turns to its advantage: 'Since we have a large database of logos from sponsors and types of motorbikes, we are able to make anything that the client specifies'.
Reliable colour fidelity and production
An important cornerstone at HGA Sport is the accuracy of the colours. Each motorbike and every sponsor has its own colours that need to be spot on. This applies to stickers as well as to clothing. The production department therefore has a large range of colour samples, which are used to determine the exact match. When the customer has specified the right colour, in consultation with HGA Sport, printing it with the sublimation printer is an absolute priority. The Roland RT-640 guarantees fidelity of colour and optimal print quality. We chose the Roland sublimation printer precisely because of its colour reliability, as well as its trustworthy production. We already had one Roland RS-640 printer for sticker production and we opted for a second Roland machine because their quality is excellent. The purchase was made after Dirk Brethouwer had visited graphic and sign trade fairs in Gorinchem and Hardenberg. The dealer ‘Sign Top’ played a major part in this. They gave HGA the right advice, tailored to the envisaged production, and worked with HGA to achieve the optimal result.
Supplier to top sports figures
Dennis briefly expounds on the growth process that took place in recent years: 'Making the step from producing stickers to producing clothing felt like a natural progression. If you already have the design of the sticker and the customer also wants the same colours to appear on a shirt, then it is an easy step to take. We are still developing motorcycle trousers, but work has already reached the final phase. For over eight years, we have been producing shirts and stickers for many famous top professionals including European champion Mike Krass and Dutch champion Rob Hartog. In addition to top riders from motorcycle racing and road racing, other global professionals in darts, such as Raymond Van Barneveld and Benito, have also found their way to HGA Sport.' The production of clothing is running smoothly in the large manufacturing area. Images are transferred onto textiles such as Dryfit or Coolmax, using heat transfer. Next, the printed textile goes to the sewing studio to make a shirt to size, which means that the buyer can obtain a fully made-to-measure, unique shirt from us with a bespoke design.
An obvious choice
At HGA Sport, it is the Roland Texart RT-640 that is doing its job and fulfilling the orders, and HGA Sport was one of the first companies in the Netherlands to buy a Texart RT-640. This sublimation printer was especially developed for heat-transfer prints and it delivers excellent productivity, extraordinary print quality and proven reliability, thanks to its exclusive printing technology. The option to print with fluorescent inks was one of the main reasons for HGA Sport to invest in this new printer. 'In motorcycle racing, it is entirely on-trend to advertise with fluorescent colours these days. Most racers like to echo this in their clothing, so the Roland RT-640 with its Texart fluorescent colours was a logical choice', explains Dennis.
Sublime sublimation printer
The company bought the printer to keep production in-house in the first place. After a number of months, a steadily growing number of businesses have found their way to this production company. 'We are currently even receiving enquiries for clothing to be used in musicals, which come in via sewing studios’. Production continues to do well under any circumstances. Dennis and Edwin are extremely satisfied with their purchase of the Roland RT-640. It requires little maintenance and uses very little ink. The ink dosage is regulated by the innovative ink pouches which can be replaced during production. Dennis concludes with the following summary: 'The print quality is simply sublime. Printing with fluorescent ink is extremely difficult, because the colours need to remain beautiful, even after intense use. The ink is very important in that respect, but the printer still plays the main role. The Roland Texart RT-640 definitely fulfils that task to perfection’.