New Presses Are Helping Drive Growth In Digital Textile Printing

Digital textile printing, although it is still a small part of the textile segment, has grown faster than any other printing process. Digital textile printing has seen new developments, according to leading digital ink specialists.

Epson, as an example, has been focusing on the latest printing innovations, such its hybrid SureColor F2270 that can be used for direct-to film (DTFilm and DTG) or direct-to fabric (DTG). Tim Check, senior product manager, Professional Imaging, Epson America, said that from Epson’s perspective, Epson is focusing on engineering products to be more compact, precise and efficient.

“We are also purpose building products to be self-aware, so the hardware itself can maintain high-quality, sellable product,” he added. “There’s a lot of technology involved, including Nozzle Verification Technology found in Epson’s PrecisionCore printheads that provides immediate feedback on how the ink was ejected, and it will adjust if any compensations are needed in real-time. This ensures high-quality output while reducing waste caused by low-quality scrap garments. When printers are more aware of what at they are doing, providers can get consistent, sellable results every time, increasing efficiency and reliability for providers.”

Don Whaley, VP of Kornit Digital Americas,  noted that Kornit is leading these advances, beginning with its latest generation of print technologies, Kornit MAX systems for direct-to-garment and direct-to-fabric (roll-to-roll/full-cloth) decoration.

“Kornit MAX systems incorporate greater automation capabilities for auto-loading of garments and adaptable pallets for changing applications on the fly, and our ‘smart curing’ technology uses the most energy-efficient and targeted heat mechanisms to deliver durable, top-quality finished products that are ready to wear within minutes while giving producers lower cost of ownership and the highest eco benefit,” Whaley observed.

“Furthermore, we’re pioneering light-on-dark printing, neon effects, and graphic applications that emulate 3D, vinyl, threadless embroidery, screens, and more, all using one pigment-based, single-operator, single-step system, giving users the highest throughput relative to labor costs, energy consumption, materials use, time, and production footprint – a perfect recipe for allocating more resources to value-added activities and scaling operations to new heights,” added Whaley.

Paul Edwards of INX International’s Digital Division noted that digital textile printing has seen significant advances.

“These advancements include improved printhead technology, better ink formulations for fabric durability and color vibrancy, enhanced software for color management and design, and the development of larger, faster and more efficient printing equipment,” added Edwards. “All have contributed to the overall quality, speed, and versatility of digital textile printing presses.”

Simon Daplyn of Sun Chemical’s product and marketing department stated that the printing presses used for digital textile decoration continue to be improved to provide users with the highest quality and productivity.

“These mechanical advancements, along with evolving printhead technology, are resulting in faster and more flexible options,” added Daplyn. “At the recent ITMA exhibition in Milan, there was a strong focus on digital pigment printing with some systems and workflows specifically designed to accommodate pigment technology as well and pre- and post-treatment options. There were also new system concepts for double side in register printing and higher speed scanning systems, as well as new single pass concepts, which all point to the continuous improvement and evolution of digital textile printing.”

“There have been improvements in printhead technology and ink technology to enhance reliability, especially when using pigment ink,” said François Aguilar, chief commercial officer for Kao Chimigraf. “Additionally, pre-treatment processes have been optimized to align with digital technology. Fully integrated print lines with pre- and post-treatments for end-to-end processing have advanced enormously over the last two to three years, and improved integrated maintenance systems avoid printhead damage, improving ROI calculations.”

“On the press side, we see continued investment in more productive and faster equipment,” Gabriela Kim, DuPont brand and marketing manager, said. “The key point here is that printers need to be more productive, reduce downtime, errors, waste, etc. We can, for instance, highlight some of the newest equipment that is positioned in a one-step position. You can see many developments lately around this. I think it’s interesting to also mention how automation is growing in digital textile printing, which is tied to the idea of being more productive. Printers can now identify errors, adjust and control variables during the printing process, being all integrated and automated in the process.”

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