Direct to fabric dye sublimation printing requires fixation of inks through a dry heat process, a step that is traditionally performed separately. The TX500P-3200DS printer, explains Mimaki, utilizes an inline colour fixation unit to optimize the printing and finishing process by enabling simultaneous printing and colour fixation, thereby reducing two steps to one in a single device.
Additionally, the TX500P-3200DS printer provides efficient finishing by linking the printer and the heater units. This enables synchronization, explains Mimaki, so that the printer is initiated when the heater reaches the optimum fixation temperature. Mimaki states this feature helps to control cost by reducing production time, labour, and transfer-related waste.
The TX500P-3200DS printer includes new print heads that enable printing directly onto various types of textiles. The high gap setting, explains Mimaki, gives users the ability to print on thin and thick textiles, plus woven patterns or raised fiber surfaces.
The 12 print heads are arranged in a staggered array and provide a range of printing modes from high-speed draft (1,399 square feet per hour) to high quality (538 square feet per hour).
An Auto Media Feeder (AMF) and a pulling roller provide consistent feeding of fabric by automatically applying the appropriate tension to the fabric during conveyance.
The system also includes waveform control, whereby each ink colour has its own specific gravity and viscosity. To achieve placement of the ink droplets onto the media, Mimaki designed a waveform control that enables the printhead to jet each ink colour at the appropriate jetting angle while maintaining ink droplet circularity.
The system provides variable ink droplet sizes – small, medium and large – and Mimaki Advanced Pass System 4 (MAPS4). This technology incorporates an advanced algorithm that reduces banding, uneven ink drying and bi-directional.
The Avinci DX3200 engine allows users to create soft signage prints of up to 3.2 metres wide, at a resolution of up to 1,440 x 540 dpi. “The engine features six colours (CMYKLcLm) at a droplet size of 14 picoliter,” said Reinhilde Alaert, Product Manager at Agfa Graphics. “This guarantees a vibrant colour gamut, outstanding tonal rendering and fine detail reproduction.”
The Avinci DX3200 offers different quality modes, with a speed of up to 173m2/h depending on the application. “Avinci can handle a wide variety of polyester-based applications, such as banners, point-of-sale displays, indoor wall graphics, outdoor advertising, trade show displays and flags,” said Alaert. “On top of that, the Avinci DX3200 has smart algorithms on board that enable very low ink consumption – another important benefit for our customers.”
Avinci DX3200 comes with Agfa Graphics’ Asanti software designed to automate all preparation, production and finishing steps of signage products. The core includes automation, colour management, job pre-flighting, and templates. Asanti also includes features for soft signage printers like Integration with Storefront (Agfa’s tools for the automated management of Web-to-print and Web shops) automated positioning of grommets on banners, and the design of canvas extensions (like air pockets) for flags.
Asanti also recently introduced integrated tiling so that oversized banners or billboards that extend beyond the maximum printing width can be produced on Avinci DX3200. Asanti creates mounting instructions and adds the necessary marks to the tiled prints to help the operator mount them.
With a textile-dedicated media transport system and is also compatible with most off-line calendering solutions on the market, explains Agfa, which fix the colours deeply into the structure of polyester-based fabrics.
- A sealed CO2 laser that ablates the printed areas without film, chemicals or water;
- Images SPGPrints’ non-woven nickel re-engravable RotaMesh rotary screens with resolutions of up to 5,080 dpi;
- A narrow-web version accommodates screens up to 660 mm wide;
- RotaMesh rotary screens with a seamless hexagonal hole-structure;
- Printing speeds up to 150m per minute (490fpm), depending on the application;
- Fine positive and negative prints created with SPGPrints’ software;
- Capable of applying ink or varnishes of up to 250µm thickness;
- Capable of imaging two reusable RotaPlate screens simultaneously, exclusively for label printing, when applied to a drum of 1,300 mm circumference;
- Compatible with the complete rotary screen range, such as SPGPrints’ RotaMesh 405 and RotaPlate 355F screens, to RotaMesh 75 for 250µm-thick Braille dot reproduction;
- Examples include raised, coarse and textured varnishes, rich and opaque colours, metallic finishes, warning triangles and Braille.
The company explains typical home furnishing fabrics – curtains, upholstery, and bed linens – are extra wide, which makes the TS500P-3200 printer well suited for these applications. Mimaki also points to the growing demand for large indoor fabric signage and decorative point-of-purchase environments, while noting dye-sublimated fabrics can be folded, stretched and cleaned without damaging the prints.
Using new print heads, 12 arrayed in three staggered lines, the TS500P-3200 printer produces speeds of up to 1,937 square feet (180 square meters) per hour. The print heads also feature a high head gap, enabling high quality printing on thin transfer paper.
The WallArt technology was created exclusively for HP’s line of Latex printers. It features what HP describes as an improved interface, updated dashboard design to better manage customer orders, easier Web integration, four free HP Wall decoration Web apps, and access to different content sources like Fotolia, Pattern Design, Instagram and Dropbox.
The HP Latex 310 and Latex 360 printers include third-generation HP Latex technology for proofing interior decoration applications like home textiles, while the recently introduced HP Latex 3500 Printer allows for unattended operation with heavy-duty roll-handling and 10-liter ink cartridges.
“Our PSP customers have told us they want easy-to-use, affordable, intuitive software that makes printing and communication with their customers easier,” said Joan Perez Pericot, Worldwide Marketing Director, HP Inc. “With the new HP WallArt Suite, PSPs and their customers can manage everything from design to order information in real-time online.”
At ITMA 2015, running from November 12-19 in Milan, Italy, EFI Reggiani will highlight textile manufacturing with reduced energy and water consumption for greater efficiency and a lower environmental impact. The TOP printer, available in both 1.8- and 2.88-metre widths, is a heavy-duty, flexible machine to be demonstrated with reactive dyes printing direct to cottons. The machine can also be used with acid, disperse, sublimation and pigmented inks, providing versatility and speed.
The Essetex 2-metre-wide washing box is a system suited for knitted and light fabrics, particularly where print washing is beneficial for delicate textiles and for post-dyeing of printed cloth.
The new entry-level ReNOIR NEXT printer is described as a versatile product that prints onto fabrics and papers using the same ink set with a 1.8-metre beltless printing system. It joins the Reggiani line-up of textile printing solutions and offers what EFI describes as simplified material handling, a compact footprint and lower acquisition cost.
All of these inkjet digital textile systems are based on new eco-chemistry, using water-based inks that, together with automation, provide what EFI Reggiani describes as a total solution for textile businesses. The water-based inks are developed to be eco-friendly by significantly reducing pollution without compromising quality and speed.
Also making their debut at the show are new Artistri PK2600 inks developed by DuPont for cotton textile roll-to-roll printing on EFI Reggiani printers.
OEKO-TEX is an independent certification system for testing the safety of textile materials and chemicals at every stage of production, from raw materials to end products. OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is divided into four classes based on human ecological requirements, with class I (which ensures that printed textile items are safe for babies and toddlers) being the most difficult to achieve.
“Receiving OEKO-TEX certification is significant because it opens up a world of opportunities for our users looking to make and sell products for this market segment,” said Lily Hunter, Roland DGA’s Product Manager, Textiles and Consumables.
Roland’s Texart SBL3 ink and the RT-640 dye-sublimation printer were both launched in October 2014. This was followed by the introduction of Texart Transfer Paper in March. Roland’s new SBL3 inks are available in both four-colour (CMYK) and eight-colour (Light Cyan, Light Magenta, Orange and Violet) sets.
Mutoh America launched its new 74-inch ValueJet 1938WX printer designed for high-production, dye-sublimation printing.
With a staggered dual-head design, the VJ 1938WX is rated to produce 1,440 dpi resolution, while printing at speeds of up to 1,327 square feet per hour. The system holds up to eight colours and also provides automatic sheet off, which means it cuts off the material when the print is done.
The printing system also includes Intelligent Interweave printing to help eliminate banding, DropMaster ink technology, and ValueJet Status Monitor app for mobile printer monitoring. It holds a suggested retail price of around US$31,995.
Kornit Digital, which focuses on the development of textile printing technology, has launched a new-generation discharge ink for the Kornit Avalanche DC Pro direct-to-garment printing system.
The technology creates what Kornit describes as unique digitally printed garments that have a natural feel. The company believes this technology allows garment decorators to expand into new fashion markets and achieve higher revenues and margins.
“Textile printing businesses seeking to enter the fashion industry can now print on dark garments without a white layer base, thereby creating a soft, natural feel on the garment,” said Kobi Mann, Director of Application and Consumables Products, Kornit Digital. The company leveraged more than 10 years experience in developing hardware, software and NeoPigment inks for garment decorators to arrive at its new solution. “By drastically reducing the amount of white ink and eliminating the need for pre-treatment fluids, the Avalanche DC Pro expands printing capabilities and creates a competitive advantage in today’s demanding fashion-oriented market.”
The new discharge ink is described by Kornit as an improved, ready-to-use version that does not require special handling or mixing, and remains stable in print-heads for up to a year. The Kornit Avalanche DC Pro has two additional print-heads by which the new discharge ink is applied to bleach the dye molecules of the dark garment, providing a base for CMYK printing, creating a great natural feel for the finished product.
In combination with the discharge ink, the system can apply flexible amounts of white ink for full opacity control. Support for the new ink will also be available as an upgrade kit for Kornit Avalanche systems with Spectra Nova heads.
Kornit states its Avalanche DC Pro is the only industrial textile system that provides an array of discharge and white options: it can print CMYK over discharge, CMYK over white, or CMYK over a discharge and white combination.
SPGPrints demonstrated a prototype of its new single-pass textile printer, called Pike, scheduled for launch at ITMA 2015 in Milan, this coming November. The company showcased Pike over a 2-week period at its headquarters in Boxmeer, Netherlands.
Pike is based on a full-width array of Fujifilm Samba print heads, which have been modified for textile printing. The heads are incorporated in what SPGPrints describes as a user-friendly print-bar technology, called Archer.
SPGPrints explains one key advantage of Archer technology is that it can accurately jet inks across a distance greater than print heads used in most current textile-printing systems. The head plates in the Archer array are typically 4-mm away from the surface of the substrate, compared with the traditional 1.5-mm distance of other print heads. SPGPrints has also developed Pike Reactive inks as a formula that helps to eliminate misting problems that might have arisen with Archer’s greater firing distance.
The first Pike printer will be a 6-colour machine in which each colour is represented by an Archer print bar containing 43 print heads, resulting in a printing width of 1,850 mm. The print bar has a native resolution of 1,200 x 1,200 dpi, variable drop sizes from two to 10 picolitres and a jetting frequency of 32 kHz.
These firing specifications together deliver typical productivity of 40 linear metres per minute (mpm), with a maximum of around 75 mpm. The modular construction of Pike will allow models with up to nine colours. Wider versions of Pike, up to 3,200 mm, are also planned.
The Archer print bar, explains SPGPrints, has been designed to retract fully for easy maintenance, whereby heads can be purged in narrow segments and a faulty head can be replaced by users in less than an hour – with no need for manual alignment. SPGPrints initially plans to provide customers with a number of spare heads and any faulty heads returned will be replaced free of charge.
“We researched what users want in the next generation of digital textile printing technology and discovered that the essentials include solid blotches, fine geometrics and – above all – a robust industrial solution,” said Jos Notermans, SPGPrints’ commercial manager for digital textiles. “That’s what the Pike delivers, at high speed and with low, predictable costs.”
Pike’s fabric-infeed system is by Erhardt + Leimer and the transport blanket has been designed in conjunction with Habasit. The in-line dryer has extra capacity to handle disperse inks, which – along with acid inks – are in development and scheduled for launch in 2016.
Epson at PRINT 13 introduced two new direct-to-garment systems, under the SureColor F2000 Series banner, for imaging on products like t-shirts, hoodies, jackets and tote bags. The systems are to be made available in Canada beginning January 2014.
The SureColor F2000 Standard Edition (CMYK-only) and the SureColor F2000 White Edition (for printing on dark or colour fabrics) can print on garments ranging from 100 percent cotton to 50/50 fabric blends. Both systems have a listed MSRP of $19,995 in the United States.
The SureColor F2000 line leverage Epson’s UltraChrome DG ink technology, which the company describes as an all new, garment ink formulation developed specifically for its MicroPiezo TFP print heads. UltraChrome DG is a water-based pigment ink, while the TFP one-inch-wide print heads feature 360 nozzles per colour.
“For more than three years, Epson dedicated a team of mechanical, chemical and software engineers to create an all-new imaging technology designed for printing directly to garments,” stated Larry Kaufman, Product Manager, Professional Imaging, Epson North America.
Engineered for industrial-level production, the SureColor F2000 Series comes standard with a 14 x 16-inch, medium-size platen. Additional platens are available for smaller 10 x 12-inch work and larger 16 x 20-inch jobs, as well as additional sleeve sizes.
The new inkjet systems also include Epson’s Garment Creator Software (on both Mac and Windows platforms) with functions to review job history and to estimate costs in managing and producing prints.
Agfa Graphics, during FESPA 2013 in London, England, introduced its new Ardeco wide-format system to produce direct printed textile output and soft-signage applications.
The sublimation-based Ardeco machine features built-in calendaring and an inline cold-knife cutting system. It is available with a choice of print-head configurations and carries a maximum printing width of 3.2 metres.
“Digital textile printing is really coming of age and the Ardeco system will satisfy sign-makers and display producers wanting to benefit from the engine's high productivity and our Asanti solution,” stated Willy van Dromme, Director of Marketing Sign and Display at Agfa Graphics.
During FESPA, Agfa introduced a new workflow solution called Asanti for the display-graphics sector. The software is built on Agfa’s long-standing Apogee line of PDF-based workflow for tasks like colour management, file editing, RIPping and pre-flighting. It includes the Asanti StoreFront, a Web-to-print application based on cloud technology.
Agfa also recently launched its Anapurna M3200RTR wide-format system as a 3.2-metre, roll-to-roll device with a six-colour, UV-curing ink system. It supports dual-roll printing and produces a maximum 1,440-dpi resolution, while working with flexible materials like banners, self-adhesive vinyls, and front- and back-lit graphics.
The two printers will be available starting this summer.
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