Both of these machines are designed to handle transfer printing with polyester or direct printing on natural fabrics. This dual-ink, dual-head system will hold both ink systems in the same printer, allowing PSPs to literally print transfer-to-polyester on one job, then go straight to printing directly on natural fabric on the next, without undertaking an ink change.
While the benefits of printing on natural fabrics are well known, printing on polyester can be an equally good strategy, Anderson said. “It’s a fairly temporary but effective marketing tool, used typically in wind sails, banners, and trade show graphics,” he says. “It doesn’t wrinkle or bunch up as vinyl does. It’s stretchable over a frame, and can be easily transported for trade show applications. The thing that’s driven this is the wind sails; the signs on the edges of sidewalks.”
Another Mutoh America printer, the ValueJet 1638W, is a dual-head high-speed transfer printer with a top speed of more than 1,000 square feet an hour, and production speeds of 330 square foot per hour and better, Anderson says.
“It’s a very simple to use, but powerful command structure,” he adds.
Yet another equipment option from Mutoh America is the 1604W, a single-head version of the above machine. However, it is soon to be replaced by the ValueJet 1624W, another single-head version of the ValueJet 1638W.
Xennia has three textile printing systems in its product portfolio aimed at different market requirements: Xennia Jade, Xennia Osiris, and Xennia Emerald.
According to Tim Phillips, textile business manager for Xennia, based in Hertfordshire, UK, Jade is a high-quality digital inkjet printer, designed for printing a wide range of fabrics with excellent quality and productivity. It provides a compelling solution for high-end digital textile printing.
Osiris is an ultra-high-throughput digital textile printer, designed for rapid printing of fashion and furnishing fabrics. Using up to eight colors, the Osiris has similar speed and print quality to that of rotary screen printing, while providing all the benefits of digital printing, such as rapid design turnaround and economic shorter-run printing. The third textile printing system, Emerald, is a high-throughput digital inkjet printer designed for digital textile decoration and finishing, using a wide range of UV and solvent-based inks and functional fluids.
For those looking for printers specifically devoted to fabric printing, Durst recommends its Durst Rhotex 320, which builds on the Rho platform to offer industry leading material handling capabilities at impressive speeds.
The Rhotex 320 is an industrial strength 3.2 meter-wide system equipped with the Quadro Array 30D AQ Heads, and is configured to print seven colors (CMYK plus Light Cyan, Light Magenta, and Gray), for delivery of photographic quality at up to 775 square feet. In recent years, more emphasis has begun to be placed on the use of water-based, VOC-free inks for sublimation printing, Currier says. “Until recently, it was not easy to find printing equipment that met the industrial needs and production speeds required, combined with water-based inks and high image quality,” he adds. “The Rhotex 320 changes that.”
On November 1 of last year, Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard Company introduced the HP Designjet L26500 and the HP Designjet L28500, both entry-level sign and display printers than can be used for fabric printing.
The printers provide versatility, ease of use and an environmental benefit as well, explains Jordi Casas, worldwide strategic product manager, Large Format Production Division with the Graphics Solution Business of HP.
“Versatility refers to the things you can do, such as traditional applications, using the same media families, and in addition you can use paper-based materials and coated and uncoated textiles,” Casas says. “With solvent, by contrast, you can only print on coated textiles. This solution provides a wide range of applications you can offer your customer. With paper-based materials, you have the option of wallpapers. It‘s an opportunity that can be incremental and diversify your business, with the same investment in the same printer you’re using for other applications. We’re helping increase your return on investment.”