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Swiss company Sensient Imaging Technologies recently introduced ElvaJet® Opal SB inks formulated for Epson® low viscosity printheads, which deliver digital sublimation performance in terms of color and sharpness.

An overview of some of the new technologies entering the digital textile printing market.

By Dr Lisa Parillo Chapman, Technical Writer

InPrint USA, which will be held April 9-11, 2019 in Louisville, Ky., will again be co-located with the International Converting Exhibition USA (ICE). InPrint will feature exhibits from industry vendors serving the functional, decorative and packaging printing market. Participation in InPrint / ICE will be of great benefit to companies wishing to keep abreast of the latest technology and learn best practices in complex inkjet printing operations for plastics, metals, wood, glass, ceramics and textiles, in market sectors such as clothing. , automotive, furniture and interior design, labels, signs and banners and packaging.

InPrint USA 2019 will partner with two major business organizations; The Wallcoverings Association (WA) and the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA). For the packaging and wall decoration market, inkjet printing has the ability to meet consumer demand for higher print quality, increased number of colors and faster response to products. market trends. In addition, digital printing allows for personalized prints and has the unique advantage of allowing color and design consistency across multiple substrates. So, for example, companies such as boutique hotels, wishing to provide residents with a lifestyle experience, can coordinate the printed decor of ceramic, wood and carpet flooring, with wall and wall coverings. windows, bedding and even packaging for personal care items. InPrint 2018 roundtable participants felt that home decor – including textiles, flooring and wallcoverings – and packaging are the two segments that offer immediate growth opportunities. According to Boston-based IT Strategies, research consultants for the digital printing community, wallcoverings generated more than $ 100 million in revenue in 2017, and is one of the many fast-growing industries in the industry. industrial printing. To support the decorative printing market, a number of new dye and machine developments will be showcased and are worth investigating.

Coloring systems

Switzerland-based Sensient Imaging Technologies, a subsidiary of Milwaukee-based Sensient Technologies Corp., recently introduced ElvaJet® Opal SB inks formulated for Epson® low viscosity printheads. ElvaJet Opal SC inks for medium viscosity printheads, such as Kyocera, were launched in 2018 and received ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX® certification, a certification now also achieved by ElvaJet Opal SB inks. Both ElvaJet Opal SB and SC inks deliver exceptional digital sublimation performance in color, sharpness and superior release from coated and uncoated transfer papers as low as 18 grams per square meter, according to the company.

However, the biggest benefit for users may be the ability to standardize colors on different types of printers. Dr. Simon Daplyn, Marketing Director of Sensient’s ink division said: “Users of large format and industrial printers in the same print shop can now reproduce the same output on all machines because ElvaJet Opal SB inks and SC use the same color reference. This standardization provides unique options for production flexibility and lower consumable costs.

Zimmer Austria Inc.'s Colaris printer series is compatible with a variety of dyes including reactive, disperse, acids, pigments and vat.
Zimmer Austria Inc.’s Colaris printer series is compatible with a variety of dyes including reactive, disperse, acids, pigments and vat.

The Austrian company Zimmer Austria Inc. is a manufacturer of machines for finishing textiles and carpets. For special applications which require the penetration of dyes through the substrate, such as carpets, terry towels, flags and lint, or heavy fabrics for automotive and interior design, Zimmer offers the pretreatment systems, Colaris3 high performance digital printing and dye. The Colaris printer series can be used with a variety of dyes such as reagents, dispersants, acids, pigments and vat. In-line pre and post processing systems can be added to improve print quality and increase ink penetration.

  • MAGNOROLL GMA is used as an in-line pretreatment applicator for light to medium weight fabrics.
  • CHROMOJET (CHR-DPT) is an in-line pretreatment system for medium to heavy substrates such as terry towels, flock fabrics, pile and carpet.
  • The SUPRAPRESS press station is used as a penetrating and leveling device to ensure maximum penetration on qualities such as carpets or polyester blankets. Products like velvet, or even flags and banners, can also benefit from the extra pressing.
  • SUPRAFIX SHS is a combined horizontal color fixing system using the choice of saturated steam, superheated steam or hot air depending on the amount of ink used. Fixing activity is controlled by flow through steam / hot air flow and ensures the highest penetration, ink fixation and drying in one pass in the shortest possible time.

Printhead development

Colaris3 printers can be configured with up to 96 StarFire ™ SG1024 compact industrial printheads. Developed by Tokyo-based Fujifilm, the StarFire SG1024 printhead is available in three models for Colaris3 printers, each with variable drop size capability. achieve ink penetration with drop sizes ranging from 12 to 35 picoliters; the MA model has a drop capacity of 30 to 75 picoliters and is best suited for medium weight carpet pile, terry cloth and low to medium plush pile; and the Model LA printhead is capable of drop sizes of 75 to 180 picoliters for ink penetration into bulky substrates such as heavier rugs, furs and plush blankets.

The StarFire SG1024 printhead is a compact, self-contained unit designed to withstand demanding industrial textiles and other applications. Printhead life is extended with the replaceable coated metal nozzle plate and continuous ink recirculation with RediJet ™. The printhead is compatible with solvent-based, UV-curable and aqueous ink formulations.

Epson's SureColor F9370 dye sublimation inkjet printer offers industrial-grade production speeds of up to 1,169 square feet per hour and is equipped with two PrecisionCore® TFP® printheads.
Epson SureColor F9370 dye sublimation inkjet printer delivers industrial level
production speeds up to 1,169 square feet per hour and is equipped with a double
PrecisionCore® TFP® printheads.

Development of digital dye sublimation system

The Epson Group, led by Japanese company Seiko Epson Corp., has taken a holistic approach to the system with the Epson SureColor F9370 sublimation inkjet printer. The machine offers industrial-grade production speeds of up to 1,169 square feet per hour and is equipped with two PrecisionCore® TFP® printheads. PrecisionCore printing chips are based on Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology, which uses a 1 micron thick piezoelectric actuator that acts as a pump to deposit ink.

The ability to pump larger amounts of fluid through densely packed nozzles produces a multitude of small, precise round dots ensuring high print quality when achieving high print speeds. UltraChrome® DS with high density black dye sublimation inks, combined with Wasatch® SoftRIP® TX SureColor F9370 Edition softwear from Wasatch Computer Technology based in Salt Lake City, ensures a wide color gamut and high color quality .

  • Software features include:
  • Color Atlas Generator – to create a custom swatch and accurately match colors by specifying and printing a range of color swatches on a target fabric. RGB values ​​for
    the chosen samples can then be entered into SoftRIP or saved to a Wasatch color database.
  • Color Neighborhood Analyzer – to specify a spot color and create a targeted test pattern of 100 patches centered on that color.
  • Color Database – allows the user to maintain a list of saved and frequently used colors. The color chosen from the color database can be routed through ICC management or directly to the printheads, depending on the needs of the workflow.

Single pass printers

Single-pass printers, capable of printing at up to 70 meters per minute (m / min) when configured with a CMYK dye system, now outperform rotary screen printing speeds. Unlike scan-type printers, single-pass printhead systems print to the substrate when fabric is fed under a stationary printing unit. IT-Strategies reported that in 2017 the Lario printer manufactured by Italy-based MS Printing Solutions Srl was installed in more locations than any other single pass printer.

The EFI ™ Reggiani BOLT single-pass printer, launched at the end of 2018, offers an exclusive technology allowing to combine digital and rotary techniques for hybrid solutions.
Launch of the EFI ™ Reggiani BOLT single-pass printer at the end of 2018,
offers proprietary technology to combine digital
and rotary techniques
for hybrid solutions.

New to this market and introduced at the end of 2018, the EFI ™ Reggiani BOLT can reach speeds of 90 m / min. Unique to this system is a proprietary technology to combine digital and rotary techniques for hybrid solutions. One or more analog printing stations, which can be easily connected as an option, can be integrated into the digital printer for special effects or spot colors. The rugged recirculating printhead was developed in partnership with a leading printhead manufacturer and will be available exclusively for EFI Reggiani. With drop sizes ranging from 5 to 30 picoliters, the Bolt is capable of high quality grayscale images. 2019 could be a game-changer for digital printing as companies continue to specialize and deliver innovative solutions for increased flexibility and speed to market.

January / February 2019

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