Textile

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.


Epson has announced new offerings which will see the Tokyo-based company enter the dye sublimation market. The Epson SureColor F6070 and SureColor F7070, according to the company, also represent the first time a single company has supplied every component to a device: from ink and printhead to chassis and bulk ink delivery system.

“We are excited to provide the garment printing industry with industrial-level printers engineered from the ground up for true dye-sublimation production,” said Catalina Frank, Product Manager, Professional Imaging, Epson America, Inc. “Developed using our latest performance imaging technology, the SureColor F-Series allows our customers to take on more jobs and generate more profits, while reducing the number of printers needed for full production capacity.”

The SureColor F6070 is a 44-inch model while the F7070 is a 64-inch model. Both are designed to exclusively use Epson’s UltraChrome DS inks, a product which took three years to develop, jetted through Epson’s MicroPiezo TFP heads. The printers output at speeds of up to 618 square feet per hour at resolutions up to 1,440 x 720 dpi.

The two printers will be available starting this summer.

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