Screen Printing - June/July 2018 - 18
The 4-color Ricoh Ri 100 is designed for environments that aren't typically dedicated to print. The compact machine can be transported to
events or mall kiosks for on-demand printing; an enclosed heating system removes wrinkles from the garment and cures the ink.
Courtesy of Ricoh.
Kornit's Avalanche 1000 R-Series of DTG machines include features
such as an ink recirculation system, double bridge architecture enabling white and color print phases to happen in parallel, and an automatic height adjustment mechanism for printing over buttons, zippers,
and beyond. The new Avalanche HD6 is said to reduce ink consumption
by up to 30 percent. Courtesy of Kornit.
Some analysts envision local microfactories in which apparel fabrics will be printed, cut, and sewn on demand close to
where the garments will be shipped. Within the next 10 years,
brick-and-mortar retail stores might not house racks and racks
of clothing. Instead, stores might function as physical showrooms for merchandise that can be ordered via smartphone.
In the following recap of recent DTG ink and printer developments, you'll see that some DTG manufacturers are developing inks that enable DTG printer users to expand the range
of designs they can profitably produce on a wider range of
fabrics. But printer OEMs are also striving to grow the market for on-demand printing by developing faster DTG printing
systems to handle higher volumes of on-demand print jobs.
To enable larger capacities of high-quality short-run jobs,
DTG users will need software that can prevent human errors
such as using the wrong image or garment type or selecting the incorrect print settings for different combinations of
fabrics and pretreatments. If high-volume garment decorating
jobs are distributed to smaller DTG sites for fast delivery to
customers in different regions of the US, color management
will need to be automated as well.
While the inkset of the SureColor F2100 is unchanged
from its predecessor, Epson added variable-drop printing
and a Highlight White print mode to improve the image
quality and color gamut. The Highlight White mode achieves
bright-white output by applying a second coat of white ink
only in areas of the image that are intended to be white.
This highlight white layer is applied simultaneously with the
color ink pass on a dark garment, improving print speeds by
up to 35 percent.
In Epson's Garment Creator software, users can estimate
and control ink costs by determining how much ink is applied
to achieve the desired results. Other print modes let operators choose a faster print speed if the T-shirt design doesn't
require the brightest possible colors (e.g., retro-look shirts).
The SureColor F2100 also includes a triple-filtration system to keep clumps of white ink from causing nozzle clogs.
An onboard air filter keeps dust and airborne fibers from a
garment-printing environment from landing on shirts or affecting the printhead. The SureColor F2100 can print on garments
ranging from 100-percent cotton to 50/50 fabric blends.
Kornit's high-production industrial DTG printers are targeted
to e-commerce sellers of decorated garments looking to scale
up production. Well-financed, highly automated companies
can enter the garment-decorating business without knowing
anything about screen printing.
In January, Kornit announced its new HD printing technology for its Avalanche series of industrial-grade DTG printers.
The 6-color Avalanche HD6 (successor to the Avalanche
Hexa) is designed to reduce ink consumption by up to 30 percent compared to the R-Series version and up to 46 percent
compared to the previous non-R-Series of Avalanche Hexa.
The Avalanche HD6 uses seven channels of Kornit's NeoPigment Rapid Ink (CMYKRG + white), which are also used in
Kornit's highest productivity DTG platform, the Vulcan.
The expanded color gamut of the Avalanche HD6 enables
users to hit a wider range of brand colors, team colors, and
spot colors. Kornit says the opacity and saturation of the
Earlier this year, Epson announced the SureColor F2100
direct-to-garment printer. It is designed to supplement or
replace one of the most popular DTG printers currently used
in screen-printing shops - the Epson SureColor F2000.
Although the F2100 includes dozens of new features designed
to boost print speeds and automate daily maintenance routines, the platens and other accessories currently used with
the Epson SureColor F2000 can be used with the F2100.
According to Epson Senior Product Manager Tim Check,
screen-printing companies can acquire several Epson DTG
printers for less than the cost of a single industrial-grade model
that costs more than $100,000. If the multiple printers are
efficiently arranged (e.g., in a circular pod), a single operator
could be loading, unloading, and heat pressing a steady stream
of printed garments. Using multiple printers also reduces the
need to stop DTG production if a single printer requires repair.