Final Thoughts from FESPA 2013

Over the past couple of days here at FESPA 2013 we’ve had a great opportunity to get a glimpse at the future of industrial printing. Many times Tim and I were approached by customers and vendors alike the industrial printing topic is top of mind. However producers as well as vendors define industrial printing in ways that center on applications their products produce. Some consider packaging, laminates, textiles, and others ceramic tiles as industrial applications. But let me offer another perspective, an industrial application is one where a transition from short run custom printing for pilot projects, or prototypes is converted to a manufacturing process that integrates management, workflow, and an integrated digital printing solution that is used for full production runs.

Several examples at FESPA illustrate this trend in enabling production lines with digital printing including some that we have covered before such as the HP Scitex FB10000, and a few that we will discuss in this blog from Kornit, MS SRL, Reggiani as well as Inca Digital mentioned in this blog as well.

Kornit who became a key sponsor at FESPA 2013 is celebrating a new brand campaign promoting their 1,000 systems, in 100 countries under a new brand identity. However beyond the new brand look and feel Kornit develops and supports the textile and garment industries with innovation in Ink and printing solutions. On the Ink front the company released their NeoPigment printing process that enables digital textile printing customers to benefit from pigment ink while avoiding its drawbacks. NeoPigment water based ink is environmentally-friendly 100% biodegradable, and toxin free. This ink is suitable for printing on multiple fabric types, has a wide color gamut as well as long-term durability. At the same time, NeoPigment reduces production costs by eliminating the need for offline pre-treatment. NeoPigment inks meet industry`s fastness standards, such as washing and rubbing, and show exceptional UV fastness.

Taking advantage of the new ink is Kornit’s product line for direct garment decoration, as well as their Allegro roll to roll textile printing system are an example of digital printing crossing the threshold to full short run manufacturing. The allegro is an inkjet printing system utilizing NeoPigment jetted trough Fuji Dimatix Polaris print heads Print Heads Spectra Polaris with up to 64 heads / 8 heads per channel a maximum of 7 colors + Inline ink fixation channel, printing resolution 400-1200 dpi and printing speed 400 m2/h in high speed mode with a maximum printing width 1.80 meter. This system can print on woven / knitted / non-Woven media such as Cotton, Linen, Viscose, Polyester, Nylon, Silk, Wool, and blends such as 50/50 Cotton/Polyester. At the show the seating area in the picture below was printed and then upholstered using Kornit printed upholstery.

MS Printing Solutions known for their solutions in textile manufacturing demonstrated at FESPA the MS JP7 aimed at paper printing. The system is capable of up to 335 linear feet per minute system for paper printing. With up to 16 printing heads this system prints at 600 Dpi x 600 dpi resolutions with 16 Gray levels and variable drop size from 4pcl to 72pcl at 1.8 meter wide. The system has an open ink system that can support custom color inks and open architecture print management software that supports high volume production and tracking. Again another example of production ready digital printer that enables manufacturing capacity in a solution that can become an integral part of a production line for wall coverings or laminate core patterns.

Reggiani’s ReNOIR Digital Printing Machine, is another example of manufacturing scale digital printing system. The printer is intended for paper printing with up to 8 process colors, variable drop size (4, 7, 12 and 18 pcl), 3 printing widths 1.8, 2.4, 3.4 m, up to 400 m2/h at a maximum resolution of 2400 x 2400 dpi with three printing widths and numerous printing modes to meet production and quality needs. ReNOIR is able to process any kind of substrate. Thanks to a tailor-made blanket and an embedded dryer, Huntsman & DuPont inks (Reactive, Acid, Disperse) and in line polymerization.

This combination of speeds and widths along wide range of inks enables this system to print many applications such as:

  • Fashion, apparel and accessories (cotton,silk, polyester)
  • Home textile: curtains, bed-sheets, home furniture, sofa coverings (cotton, polyester)
  • Polyamide carpets Flags & Banners (polyester, polyamide and nylon)
  • Leather Technical textiles: automotive and specially designed fabrics

Again a prime example of industrial strength solution that provide the equipment, and associated material science that is needed for successful manufacturing of textiles, carpets, and a range of manufactured products.

These digital printing systems enable business opportunities that InfoTrends has covered in our 2013 market research Transforming Textile Printing. Our Functional & Industrial Printing Service team will continue to track the development in this apace and offer strategic and go-to-market support to producers and vendors in this segment that is on the cusp of turning a corner and enable digital capabilities that will drive manufacturing industries future direction.

ATPcolor demonstrated two key products at FESPA the DPP-740-G5, and the DFP-1320-12G4. The DPP-740-G5 is a dye sublimation paper printer capable of 135 m2/h based on Ricoh Gen 5 print head. The new heads technology use variable drop size, from 5 to 25 pcl delivering high quality. The system has robust paper handling capabilities and is utilizing multiple drying systems that are adjustable, to give the customer the freedom of choice on which paper type to use. The DFP (Digital Fabric Printer) 1320 is the 6th generation of Digital Fabric Printer from ATPColor, this new printer is capable of 165 m2/h in two pass mode at 600x600dpi and a drop size of 7pl. The system has a heated calender for direct color fixation with variable settings o meet soft signage material types. The system has a 3.3m printing area. This new system is targeted at print production of soft signage in high volume commercial environment. Agfa is ATPcolor’s channel for this system and will be a primary channel for sales, and support.

Inca Digital and Fujifilm formally launched the Inca Onset Q40i at FESPA. According to the companies this newest version of the Onset series has been developed “to address the growing market for an ultra-high-quality flatbed device”. The Inca Onset Q401 can print on media 3.14m x 1.6m (123.6 inches x 63 inches) and up to 50mm (2in) thick. Using the latest Fujifilm Spectra Dimatix QS10 printheads, the Inca Onset Q40i delivers a 10 pcl drop size, compared to the 27 pcl drop size used on S40i model. The high resolution Inca Onset Q40i prints up to 310m2/h, equating to 62 full-bed sheets per hour. So, when we look at the top-end of the market, essentially all of the leading suppliers (Inca, HP, EFI, and Durst) all showed new or very recently introduced printers at FESPA that increase both the quality and productivity of their top-end printers at FESPA 2013.

Mimaki introduced the JV400-SUV at its crowded booth during FESPA 2013. Mimaki first showed the JV400-SUV, which combines the flexibility of solvent with the durability of UV-cured inks, at FESPA 2012 as a prototype. Mike Horsten, General Manager Marketing of Mimaki EMEA said “The JV400-SUV uses Solvent-UV curable inks and delivers very high quality output with vibrant colors and excellent outdoor durability. We are excited to introduce this new member in our portfolio at FESPA 2013. The JV400-SUV printers will be shipping as of July 1st 2013.” The JV400-130/160SUV prints in four colors (CMYK) at speeds of up to 18 square meters per hour in draft mode. The Mimaki booth was busy as the company also demonstrated the new UJV500-160 UV printer and its new LX101 Latex ink for the JV400LX at FESPA.

POD, which is based in Portugal sells printers under the MTEX brand, is a growing force in the digital textile printing market. The company started out as a reseller of digital textile printers, but has slowly added systems integration and now product manufacturing capabilities so that it now competes with a portfolio of MTEX-branded wide format digital textile printers. At FESPA MTEX added two new printers to its line-up, the MTEX 5032 and MTEX Turbo Sub. The MTEX 5032 (3.2M wide) uses dispersed dye inks, is powered by Epson DX5 print heads and has a rated speed of 58 m2/h. The Turbo Sub (1.8M wide) uses disperse dye ink, is powered by the Ricoh GEN5 print head, and has a rated speed of 110m2/h. POD indicated that it is quickly expanding its distribution capacity into key textile production markets such as India and Turkey with more to come worldwide.

Seiko introduced an extension of its ColorPainter series called the ColorPainter M-64s. The new system was designed to meet the needs of customers for fast, high-quality, and highly reliable wide format print production. The ColorPainter M-64s has a maximum rated speed of 66.6m2/h and uses a new Eco Ink “SX” which has the same performance guarantee production as Seiko’s best Outdoor Ink “GX” but also offers very strong image quality for indoor graphics. The ColorPainter M-64s is a six-color printer that can be configured with a seventh color (gray). The M-64s was producing high-quality graphics in the Seiko booth leveraging Seiko’s Dynamic Dot Printing and SPT4 – Smart Pass dot-control Technology. The new Seiko ColorPainter eco-solvent M-64s printer is only available in its present 1.6M width right now, but it is available around the world immediately after FESPA.

So, as we wrap up our attendance at what was a fantastic FESPA 2013 and consider all of the new and enhanced products launched this week we see that product development in the signage and graphics market continues at a rapid pace. Improvements in core technologies, such as inks and print heads, often enable performance in markets beyond signage and graphics. We’re seeing penetration into markets where high-volume production of packaging, textiles, wall coverings, laminates and other image and color rich products are being manufactured.

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