Suwanee, GA — Mimaki USA, a leading manufacturer of wide-format inkjet printers and cutters, has developed its first direct-to-film (DTF) printer, “TxF150-75,” and heat transfer pigment ink “PHT50” for DTF. These products will be available for apparel and textile printing applications starting in the summer of 2023.
DTF printing has been a popular method in the textile and apparel industries, especially in the wearable printing market. It is often used for T-shirt printing. DTF printing involves the first printing of the design directly on a special transfer film. Next, the printed film is coated with hot-melt powder. The film is heated and dried to form an ink layer that can be transferred to the film. To complete the final product, the ink layer formed is transferred to the fabric via a heat presses.
The TxF150-75 is an inkjet printer with a maximum printing width of 80 cm (31.5”) for producing DTF print transfer sheets. The new PHT50 heat transfer pigment ink made for DTF applications consists of five colors (CMYK and white), and is scheduled to obtain the ECO PASSPORT certification by the end of March 2023, which is essential for meeting the international safety standard for textile products “OEKO-TEX.”
To overcome the ink ejection defects and white ink clogging that have plagued previous DTF printers, Mimaki has adopted a degassing ink design which employs aluminum packs to encase the ink, along with a white ink circulation function MCT (Mimaki Circulation Technology)*1. This new printer also features Mimaki’s NCU (Nozzle Check Unit)*2 and NRS (Nozzle Recovery System)*3 technologies to support stable operation. These features allow for continuous printing and higher production.
Silk screen printing is currently a very popular option in the wearables market. This labor-intensive process needs to be prepared, which makes it difficult for small-lot production. Full-color printing takes time and labor to make plates for each colour. An alternative heat transfer method using vinyl sheets is also commonly used, but it involves manual labor for “weeding,” which is the process of manually removing unnecessary portions of the transfer before fixing the printed design on the fabric. There has been an increase in direct-to–garment (DTG), printing. This uses inkjet printers for direct printing on fabrics and garments. DTG printing is not dependent on plates. It can be used for full color printing but requires fabric pre-treatment and manual hand handling by the operator at every step.
DTF printing eliminates the need of plate preparation and weeding that are often difficult with conventional printing methods. DTF printing is quickly becoming a popular technology because it allows for an unattended printing process.
The TxF15075-75 will be available for purchase in the summer of 2023. It will include inks, printers, and RIP software.
Customers will receive our recommended specifications for the film that is used to make the transfer sheet, hot melt powder, powder application equipment and heat press transfer machine at the time they are sold.