Screen Printing - June/July 2018 - 19
Epson's new SureColor F2100 machine is positioned as a cost-effective
way to enter the DTG arena or expand a current operation. Variabledrop printing, Highlight White print mode, and a triple-filtration system
to prevent nozzle clogs are a handful of features available in the newest
SureColor model. Courtesy of Epson.
Brother DTG's new GTX printer features three times the number of
nozzles as the company's previous model, leveraging Innobella Textile
water-based pigment inks engineered to deliver a wider color gamut.
Courtesy of Brother.
white inks has also been improved. Shirts printed on the Avalanche HD6 produce an improved hand compared to previous
generations of DTG printers.
ColorGate's Professional RIP solution provides advanced
color management and screening capabilities and improved
white underbase creation. It includes predesigned color
libraries for color matching.
According to Omer Kulka, Kornit Digital's VP of marketing and product strategy, Kornit's HD technology provides a
profitable alternative for print runs of one to 500 pieces. The
inks can print on a variety of fabrics and provide durability and washfastness. Kulka says that ink costs for a simple
4-color graphic on a dark T-shirt are about 25 to 45 cents per
shirt. Print speeds range from 150 light garments per hour to
110 dark garments per hour.
In April, Kornit reported more than $5 million in orders for
new Avalanche HD6 systems and upgrades. "We have seen an
immediate and clear interest from screen printers in the HD
technology," says Gilad Yron, Kornit Digital's executive VP of
Peña says developing water-based DTG inks that adhere to
moisture-wicking performance fabrics isn't easy. The key was
to develop the right pretreatment that could be used with fastcuring white inks. To prevent bleeding, the inks must dry quickly
on contact - but not so quickly that they clog the DTG printers.
OmniPrint is currently working on high-speed industrial
DTG printers that can print a light or dark garment in less
than 30 seconds. But boosting print speeds isn't the only goal,
adds Peña. He says big apparel brands want higher speeds as
well as better image quality.
Using a combination of OmniPrint's Direct RIP technology
and their Direct Ink Gamut Plus inks, the OmniPrint Freejet
330TX can achieve high-resolution prints on light and dark
cotton, cotton/poly blends, and polyester garments. The
Gamut Plus inks can be cured in 60 seconds using either a
conveyor dryer or heat press. Prints on pretreated dark garments can reportedly be output in single pass.
According to OmniPrint President Victor Peña, the company developed their own formulation in response to customer
requests to print on a wider variety of garments. OmniPrint
brought a chemist onboard and expended their R&D efforts
significantly. He says that OmniPrint has also partnered with
major apparel brands to ensure that its DTG ink formulations
would work with new performance garments being developed. Says Peña, "We're interested in the long-term growth of
the marketplace. If our customers make money with the tools
that we're developing, it's good for the market."
Ricoh is also taking steps to expand the popularity and profitability of DTG printing. When the company introduced Ricoh
Garment Inks for the Ricoh Ri 3000/Ri 6000 and AnaJet mP5/
mP10 DTG printers, Ricoh priced the inks up to 25 percent
less than AnaJet PowerBright Plus CMYK inks even though
the new inks provided the same level of image quality. Ricoh
has since reduced ink costs for AnaJet users who continue to
use PowerBright Plus inks.
AnaJet recently introduced firmware and software
updates that reduce the amount of time required to print
a white underbase on dark shirts on a Ri 6000 by about 60
seconds. The faster print speeds for white ink doesn't affect
overall print quality because most of the detail in an image
comes from the CMYK inks. An adjustable white highlight
feature for the Ri 3000 and Ri 6000 enables users to fine tune
the white-ink volume on the CMYK pass.
The company is also looking toward new types of users
outside traditional print channels. At the 2018 CES Expo
(formerly The International Consumer Electronics Show) in
January, Ricoh won a CES Innovation Award for their new
compact Ri 100 DTG printer that sells for around $5000,
including software and heater. The 4-color Ricoh Ri 100 fits
easily on desks and counters in souvenir shops and other
retail and corporate environments that aren't typically dedicated to print. The enclosed heating system supplied with the
printer removes wrinkles from the fabric before printing and
cures the ink afterward.
JUNE / JULY 2018