Mimaki unveiled New Direct Textile Inkjet Printer and neon fluorescent inks at ITMA
Mimaki a leading manufacturer of wide-format inkjet printers, has been introducing a brand-new direct-to-textile inkjet printer at ITMA in Milan. The company launched Mimaki TX300P-1800, an innovative 1.8 meter roll-to-roll direct-to-textile inkjet printer. Its predecessor, the Tx2-1600, has been used for textile printing worldwide for the last 14 years
“The TX300P-1800 is designed to meet the market demand for smaller lot sizes, faster delivery times and the ability to quickly produce samples,” says Mike Horsten, General Manager Marketing of Mimaki EMEA. “We are also mindful of the shift in textile production from both analogue to digital and from centralized to distributed production. We envision a day not too far in the future when consumers will be able to download or create their own patterns rather than being limited to commercially available designs. The TX300P-1800, which is available with a variety of ink types and produces very high quality, is ideal for this new distributed model of textile printing.”
Designed specifically for direct-to-textile printing, the Mimaki TX300P-1800 8-colour inkjet printer features a new printhead that ejects ink droplets at high speed to ensure accurate ink droplet placement with a high head gap. This makes the printer ideal for printing high quality images on all types of fabrics, including thicker and textured materials. Other features include: Print resolution of up to 1080 dpi with drop sizes ranging from 6 to 24 pl. Small droplets create beautiful high-resolution printing, and large droplets are useful for high-speed printing. Print speeds more than twice as fast as that of a conventional printer at up to max 68 m2/hour. Stable textile transport that maintains optimum tension, based on Mimaki’s unique and reliable techniques developed over years of textile inkjet printer research and development. A choice of sublimation dye, disperse dye, pigment, reactive dye, and acid dye inks to meet a wide range of application needs. Sublimation dye inks are available at commercial launch with other inks following soon. 2-liter ink packs are available for uninterrupted printing on longer runs. Uninterrupted printing with automatic detection and cleaning of clogged nozzles. The Nozzle Recovery System ensures that good nozzles are used as substitutes when clogged nozzles are not recovered after cleaning. A choice of powerful digital front ends, including standard Mimaki RasterLink6 or the TxLink3 Lite. The latter offers simple RGB and CMYK colour replacement on raster and vector data to more accurately achieve corporate and other special colours, as well as the ability to produce different colour patterns. Production of large, seamless patterns from a single image, including repeat and mirror patterns. Simple creation of multi-colour ICC profiles using Mimaki’s unique profile Wizard.
“We are looking forward to hearing what ITMA attendees have to say about the TX300P-1800,” Horsten adds. “We think its quality, speed and affordability will generate ideas about many new opportunities in the eyes of visitors, and we look forward to working with them to change the way textile printing is accomplished in the future.”
Commercial availability of the Mimaki TX300P-1800 is targeted for December 2015.
Besides of the technical description, Horsten is providing a blog to exemplify what the Mimaki product is solving for sportswear: “If you’re a sports man, you’re a print man. You might not realise it, but print is a big deal in sports. Naturally, sportswear come to mind first, but the bigger picture is even more large format than that.
For argument’s sake, let us consider sportswear as one of the leading printing application technologies in sports today. Every team, whether it is cycling, running or football, needs to have its own shirt. The sponsor’s logo needs to be clearly printed on there and the sign maker is asked to put on a name and number. Okay, so we have the branding issue covered. Now let us talk volume, because every village, town or city has its own football, volleyball, badminton and/or hockey team. And they all need their own shirts, so we’re talking big business.
Cycling is the worst, mind you. With so many sponsors looking for logo coverage, you simply have to resort to sublimation technologies. It’s cheaper to print than to apply all these logos with flock or solvent textile stickers. Same principle for running gear, which is being personalised more often than not nowadays. You know I’m not talking about a small amount of one-offs. So printing the whole garment is again more profitable than applying graphics information afterwards. The rise of neon colour use makes it even more difficult to stick to traditional print. (trust us, the Mimaki New Neon dye sublimation colours make it possible to produce these garments digitally.)
Returning to my original statement, there truly is so much more printing going on in the sports worlds. Just consider all the boarding around the fields. Some years ago (more than I care to remember), all you had to do was slap some vinyl letters on the trespa boarding. But now, customers want full colour images on these boards, so applying full colour vinyl or printing directly onto the boards with UV technologies seem more convenient. Besides, the rapidly changing sponsor products and selling markets make these signs obsolete after merely one or two seasons. Reprinting the boards might prove the better update once the term or sponsoring contract is over.
Talking about volatility in sponsoring, let us have a look at the racing market. How about those big fancy motorhome like trucks that need to cross the country and make heads turn? The better the print, the better the visibility for the team and sponsors. Hospitality areas may not be neglected with all the flags (beach/standing) posters, popup banner systems and free giveaway sticker opportunities for the guests of the sponsors. Again – all marketing material that is printed all digitally as it needs to be tailored to each event.
And don’t get me started on team merchandising! Printed T-shirts, jackets and mugs with the pictures of the team drivers and sponsors on them. I recently attended a GT3 race in the UK and feasted my eyes on the different prints. Print as far as the eye could see, I had to look for a spot that was not adorned with print. Who said print was dead? (they are idiots)
The paddock areas actually looked more like a printing show than a garage; I spotted at least six different print technologies. Although vinyl applications are still big, full colour printing, sublimation, UV printing and SUV were used in great abundance. I was happy to see the Mimaki SUV technology was used for the backdrops in the garage, the full colour prints on the cars and some of the signage on the trucks. When I asked why they applied SUV and not standard solvent, the reply I got, left me speechless. (pause for effect) Weight! Normally they would have laminated the full colour prints, but they discovered that with SUV they did not need to laminate, because the gloss of SUV looked like solvent with a gloss laminate. The result on the car was over a whopping three kilos weight reduction. How’s that for your USP for SUV?
And, did you know that at the last Olympic winter games over 15km of banner was used – all printed in full colour for barriers and out of stadium event areas. Finish and start messaging – printed. Numbers and identification cards for all athletes, coaches and trainers – printed. Signage, advertising, country flags for the media ceremonies – printed. Full colour digital. Print. There will be no escape.
Let me challenge you. Next time you are at a sports event, have a look around and let me know how many print technologies you have spotted. We will talk it over at the next race.”
Let’s create together, pleads Horsten, the motto of Mimaki.
ITMA in Milan saw also the launching of Mimaki’s New Neon fluorescent inks, available in yellow and pink, are ideal for fashion, sportswear, swimwear and shoes and are specially made for use in the low-volume high-quality sublimation paper transfer market and for Mimaki’s for its TS300P-1800 inkjet textile printers.
Every team, whether cycling, running, badminton or football, needs to have its own shirt, with a name, number and the sponsor’s logo clearly visible. Producing these relatively small, customized lots cost-effectively requires sublimation technologies, and printing the entire garment rather than applying graphics information afterwards is more profitable. With traditional print, the desired neon colours are hard to achieve and small lot production is often not cost-effective.
The TS300P-1800 was launched at Fespa, specifically designed for digital low-cost production of high-value applications. The combination with the new inks opens up a new range of possibilities for textile printers, designers and garment manufacturers: “Fluorescent colours are in high demand in the fashion and sportswear markets,” says Mike Horsten, General Manager Marketing EMEA at Mimaki Europe. “With these New Neon inks, designers and garment manufacturers will be able to extend the utility of digital printing solutions to the production of high quality running clothes and other applications that are personalized or have unique designs and stand out for safety or fashion purposes. These inks will finally and for the very first time allow producing these high quality specialty products on a larger scale.”
“As more textile manufacturers learn about these new inks and the quality and capability of digital printing for textiles,” he adds, “we expect to see demand take off.”
The TS300P-1800 will be on display at ITMA 2015 in Hall 18, booth C104, where it will be running live demonstrations of the New Neon fluorescent inks. Horsten concludes: “We will have some very exciting samples of the New Neon inks in action for active wear, and we believe visitors to our stand will be quite impressed with what they will be able to achieve. We are looking forward to talking to brand owners, sponsors, teams and textile printers, to check the impact these New Neon inks and the Mimaki digital textile printing solutions may have across a broad spectrum of their business.”