Mutoh make cost effective dye sublimation textile printing simple

Written by Colin Gillman on Tuesday, 11 April 2017.

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Mutoh has launched a new wide format printer for dye sublimation textile printing, the ValueJet 1604WX (VJ-1604WX). Available immediately, this new single head high quality 64” (162 cm) wide budget friendly dye sublimation printer will fit the needs of start-up and established businesses looking for a wider printer to increase their portfolio of digital transfer decoration, fashion and objects.  

The ValueJet 1604WX CMYK printer is suited for volume production runs as well as short print runs of high quality in-store textile decoration and displays, textile banners, pop-ups, sportswear, personalised home decoration, and can be used to print items for transfer to rigid objects such as mugs, cups, mouse pads, snowboards, and just about anything else you can get underneath a heat press. 

ValueJet 1604WX resizedEngineered and manufactured in Japan, the compact ValueJet 1604WX includes a variable drop 8 channel print head, allowing output resolutions up to 1440 x 1440 dpi. The piezo print head is capable of firing drops from 3.5 pl up to 21 pl.

Delivering typical production speeds up to 22 m²/h at 360 x 1080 dpi (3 Pass), the ValueJet 1604WX will print on common dye sublimation transfer papers and can handle 2” and 3” core rolls. The printer comes with a stand, a non-motorised roll-off system and a motorised winder system for media rolls up to 30 kg, for straight winding of finished prints, which is particularly important for easy after-treatment on a calender which is required to transfer the image from the dye sub material to the desired textile. 

The company says its new dye sublimation textile printer uses Mutoh’s DS2-series dye sublimation inks which are 100 % VOC free. The DS2-series inks can be used for transfer paper printing - transfer to polyester or mixed fibre fabrics or transfer to pre-treated rigid substrates.

The new ValueJet VJ-1604WX model is available exclusively through Mutoh’s channel of authorised and trained resellers throughout Europe, the Middle East & Africa.


Textile printing made easy thanks to new ErgoSoft Roland Edition 2 RIP software

Written by Colin Gillman on Friday, 03 March 2017.

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Roland DG has announced that its ErgoSoft Roland Edition 2 RIP software is now available for its Texart dye-sublimation wide format transfer printers.  This is the latest RIP software developed by ErgoSoft, one of the premier RIP providers in the textile printing industry. 

The software has been developed specifically for Roland’s Texart XT-640 and RT-640 dye-sub printers to support high-fidelity digital textile printing of sports and fashion apparel, along with soft signs such as polyester banners and flags, curtains and other interior décor as well as promotional goods and personalised gifts. 

The company says current XT-640 and RT-640 users who activated the previous ErgoSoft Roland Edition RIP on or after 8th March 2016 will have access to a complimentary software upgrade and should contact their local Roland DG dealer for further details.

The new RIP software has over 40 new features and innovative enhancements. A new dithering method increases rasterisation speed and improves dot placement accuracy resulting in 40% faster RIP times and smoother gradients. A new PDF engine displays dynamic, colour-accurate previews of PDF files and improves overall performance and colour management. ErgoSoft Roland Edition 2 also includes up to eight simultaneous RIP Servers to drastically reduce processing time when working with high-capacity data or multiple print jobs at the same time. The new Printer Pool feature provides job management flexibility, allowing the same file to be sent easily to multiple devices. Also included, the Hot Folder feature makes batch printing of images with the same specific print settings easier to further enhance printing efficiency.

Image Add-Ons functions support several new effects such as barcodes, rulers and drill holes. Multiple effects can also be applied to a single set of data. Specific editing functions support file formats that are commonly used for textile printing. The Step & Repeat feature to create flawless repeating textile patterns from a single image is now available for PDF and EPS file formats. The Color Replacement feature for creating multiple colour variations is also now available for TIFF and PSD file formats. Variable Data Printing for the efficient production of personalised goods and apparel such as uniforms is now included as standard.

Hirotoshi Naruse, product manager of Roland DG’s digital printing business, says: “With the diversification of individual lifestyles and shortening of fashion cycles, there has been increasing demand for digital printers that can accommodate efficient high-mix, low-volume production, personalisation, and design prototyping for fashion/sports apparel and interior décor. In response, we launched the Texart brand in 2014 exclusively for use in digital textile printing with a firm commitment to deliver exceptional value to this market now and in the future.”

Roland DG currently offers two Texart 64 inch (1625mm) models. For fast, high-volume printing with dual-staggered print heads to maximise productivity, the XT-640 is built for continuous and effortless production on long print runs. The RT-640 is designed to provide superb quality, productivity and value with ease of operation that will please both experienced operators and beginners. Both dye-sublimation printers boast the Roland Ink Switching System, a choice of 4-colour high-speed or 8-colour wide-gamut printing, Fluorescent Pink and Yellow inks for creating hundreds of eye-catching colours, and state-of-the-art print control technology.


School of Textiles and Design gets smart with Mimaki

Written by Colin Gillman on Thursday, 23 February 2017.

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Heriot Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design is one of the UK’s foremost teaching establishments, and its recent investment in additional Mimaki textile printers puts its Textile Design and Fashion undergraduate courses at the cutting edge.

One of the first Mimaki Tx300-1800P direct-to-textile wide format printers to be installed in the UK joins the school’s line-up of Mimaki textile machines and provides its 25 final year Design for Textiles students with the capability to output designs onto a range of fabrics for their Degree Show (pictured above).

31324263551 1751d32c1c h resizedSenior Technician, Dr Roger Spark (left), indicates how the printer is a vital addition to the School’s print capabilities. “Our existing Mimaki printers have served us well for over 10 years but with the added capacity of the new Tx300, we’re able to more efficiently deliver the long runs required by our students for their final year collections,” he says. “We offer the potential for not only the Design for Textiles undergraduates to print their work but  also the provision of printed fabric for our Fashion students to make into garments in our sewing workshops.”

Citing Heriot Watt’s emphasis on preparing graduates for life in industry, Spark details how effective the courses the school offers are. “Our graduates tend to follow one of two paths,” he says. “Many of them are successful in finding positions in the textile industry but we also see students starting up their own fashion and design businesses, as the footing they gain through the courses we offer stands them in good stead for their careers ahead.”

With programmes geared towards fashion as well as interior design, students benefit from the school’s significant printing capabilities. Along with its three Mimaki printers, the textile department also boasts one of the longest flatbed screen print tables in education and all were installed by specialist Mimaki textile reseller, R A Smart (CAD & Machinery).

“We’re proud of the enduring relationship we share with Heriot Watt,” says the company’s managing director, Magnus Mighall. “Their recent investment in the latest Mimaki textile printer will be of great benefit to the School and its students. Having supplied and supported the university with screen and digital print equipment for over 25 years; seeing their continued drive to deliver industry-ready graduates into the textile and fashion sector remains as satisfying as ever.”

The Mimaki Tx300P-1800 is a 1.8m wide textile printer, which, through using reactive, pigment, acid or disperse inks, can be used to print to cotton, silk, wool and polyester. With production speeds of up to 55sq metres/hour, it is ideal for short to medium run production and its superior print quality lends it perfectly to producing high end fashion, furnishings and other textiles.

With a critical element in textile printing being accurate colour management, Spark is seeing a tangible benefit in Mimaki’s latest reactive inks and profiles. “The School invested in a suite of Apple Macs running AVA design and colouring software a few years ago, and using these in conjunction with the colour profiles provided with the new Mimaki RIP package is delivering superb results.

“We waited for the right machine to come along and the new Tx300P-1800 has fitted in to our print room perfectly,” concludes Spark.


Mimaki set to launch next-gen digital textile printer

Written by Colin Gillman on Wednesday, 26 October 2016.

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Mimaki has announced the launch of a brand-new textile printer; the Tx300P-1800B (Belt). The 1.8 metre wide printer is specifically designed to address the need in the textile and apparel industries for cost-effective, short run printing of textiles for products or samples. 

The printer has been designed to print across a wide variety of fabrics, including bulky textured materials, as well as sheer fabric and stretchy materials such as knits. It also eliminates the need for steaming or washing when printing with Mimaki TP400 textile pigment inks, thereby reducing the space required for on-demand textile printing.

CuvKjuDXgAACO1k resized“As consumers increasingly turn to the Internet for their shopping needs, we believe they will want to regularly create custom designs and not rely solely on standard designs available in retail outlets,” says Mike Horsten, General Manager Marketing of Mimaki EMEA. “In addition to the need to cost-effectively produce samples and small runs, enterprising garment makers will be looking for solutions that will help them meet this emerging consumer demand. And they will not want their fabric types to be as limited as they are with many digital textile printing solutions today. That’s exactly what the Mimaki Tx300P-1800B belt-type printer was designed to do. Furthermore, while offering a complete set of textile inks, the TP400 textile pigment ink allows customers to produce small runs in-house without the need of steaming or washing.”

Mimaki is offering five different ink types with the Tx300P-1800B. These include; Sb420 Sublimation Dye Ink designed to work perfectly with polyester-based textiles, either direct to fabric or to a sublimation paper for transfer by heat press, which feature a broad colour gamut including a deep and powerful black; Dd400 Dispersion Dye Ink delivering high light-fastness and outstanding build-up on polyester and micro-polyester for sportswear, curtains, outdoor textiles, home textiles and the auto industry and TP400 Textile Pigment Ink; probably the most flexible of all the Mimaki textile inks, with its ability to print to a wide variety of textile types such as polyester, cotton, silk, viscose, rayon and wool. This ink also removes the need for steaming or washing, thus reducing time, cost and potential water pollution. However, it should be noted that a binder or primer is recommended to achieve the quality that both manufacturers and consumers demand.

Also available will be Mimaki’s Rc400 Reactive Dye Ink, suitable for printing on natural fibres, such as cotton, silk and wool. This meets high automotive light-fastness standards but does require pre/post-treatment of the fabrics to prevent fading and bleeding of colour. The results are sharp images and rich, deep colours. The final ink option is Mimaki's Ac400 Acid Dye Ink which is similar to Reactive Dye Ink in that pre/post-treatment of the fabric is needed. These inks produce bright, deep colours in the complete gamut of shades required by the fashion and apparel industry as well as good light- and wet-fastness.


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A beginners guide to dye sublimation finishing equipment

Written by Dean Sanger on Tuesday, 04 October 2016.

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Dean Sabur Digital resizedThere are many different dye sublimation printers on the market from a broad range of manufacturers, and you can find more reviews and articles about them online than you can shake a stick at, but in the dye sublimation world, the finishing of the dye sublimation prints is just as important as the printing, and this means you will need to have a basic understanding of the type of finishing kit you will need to purchase along with that brand new dye sub printer that you have had your eye on for a while.

A lot of dye sublimation printer manufacturers don’t make finishing kit, but it’s this essential item that will bring your finished prints fully to life. 

In order to fixate the dyes to the fabric - heat, dwell time and pressure are the key factors, and for this to take place you will need to invest in a high-quality heat press or calendar unit. So if you are seriously considering investing in a dye sublimation printer as an addition to your business service offering, here is a straightforward no nonsense guide to what else you need to consider purchasing before making that initial investment in a dye sublimation printer. 

First and foremost, a heat press or calendar unit is used to facilitate the sublimation dye into the fabric. Both of these pieces of equipment house heating components and a part used to apply pressure to the transfer paper and the fabric simultaneously. During this process the dyes turn into gas, and as the gas moves and comes into contact with fibres, it penetrates and permanently dyes them. The dyes will not be fixated unless they are heated and pressed at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time, so this is a really important part of sublimation printing and ensuring you get a good result. 

Although the purpose of a heat press and calendar is the same, to fixate the dye, the main difference is scale. Calendar units are used on an industrial scale and are designed for roll to roll sublimating, where as heat presses are designed for individual panels/garments. 

Heat presses come in many different sizes and designs and carry varying price tags. Knowing what to look for in terms of a heat press is vital. One of the most important part of choosing a press is to be sure to make the investment for the long term. If you base your decision solely on price, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Whether you're looking for a small tabletop press or a larger press, cheaper models simply don’t offer the same quality or continuous level of heat and pressure that is required. Some of the cheaper presses have lower quality heat blocks made from thinner materials. Although these materials heat up extremely quickly, they also lose heat at a quick rate and therefore fail to maintain an even temperature. 

Sefa Sublimax 2513 Grand Sublimation Heat Press screen resizedAs mentioned earlier, maintaining consistent heat and pressure is vital in producing quality prints. In order to create consistent image transfers from one print to the next, the process needs to be smooth and even. Heat presses need to be heated to around 200 degrees celsius in order for the sublimation dyes to transfer.

Maintaining consistent pressure during the heat transfer process is extremely important. A quality heat press has a heavy platen that generates enough weighted-pressure for a clean heat transfer without any cold spots. Cheaper models lack the necessary platen weight and struggle to maintain transfer consistency. Presses that have heavier platens may initially take longer to heat up, but they maintain a regular heat and ensure that each press has the same consistency when it comes to colour and quality of image.

Some heat presses may look the part and look really high-tech, but the worry is that underneath that may not be the case. It is important to do your research and ask dealers and manufacturers the right questions to ensure you have all the information. Another tip is to look at the wattage of the heat press, the higher the wattage the better. Klieverik GTC SP FLOWLINE transfer printing calendar resized

When purchasing a heat press or calendar there are many factors you need to consider. For heat presses, you need to consider size, the type of heating element and warranties. Be sure to know what size you need to meet your requirements - and ensure it matches your printer. Look for a press with high quality heating elements that will deliver even heat consistently. Generally you should expect at least a one year warranty for your heat press, as well as training and installation guidance. 

For calendars the factors differ slightly, you should consider width, capacity, length of the printing belt and how the drum is heated. The width should match the output of device you use. With regards to capacity, the diameter of the drum that is heated determines the speed of the calendar. The bigger the diameter, the faster you will be able to produce graphics. Most calendar units are heated with a drum filled with oil. The benefit to oil heated drums is that they produce very even heat and the temperature remains stable. Electric heated drums can cause hot spots in the fabric, so that is something else to bear in mind. 

This might sound a tad complicated, but this is where having a supplier partner that you can rely upon comes fully into its own. 

At Sabur we have seen major changes in the sublimation print industry and a shift from the traditional “Screen Print” to “Digital” was evident at the turn of the century. Sabur were there through this transitional period and are recognised by many as among the leaders in digital sublimation supplies. We are proud partners of market leading companies including Roland DG, Mimaki, Kornit, DGI, Kiian Digital (Manoukian), Klieverik, Sefa, Ergosoft and Wasatch, and our trusted partner portfolio enables us to tailor make the ideal solution to best suit your business requirements.

Whether you are thinking of investing in a dye sublimation printer, or choosing a heat press or a calendar for finishing, Sabur has it covered.

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RA Smart
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Cheshire East
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Dedicated to bringing to life the creations, dreams and aspirations of designers around the world, RA Smart has re-defined the ‘art’ of fabric printing and are acknowledged experts in the fields of specialist digital and screen print for the textile industry.

Education at RA Smart

RA Smart is committed to supporting the next generation of designers and actively involved with all UK and Irish design colleges, including The Royal College of Art, London College of Fashion and Central St Martins as well as a little further afield with the likes of The Philadelphia College of Science and Technology, Academy of Arts San Francisco and the Danish Design School in Copenhagen.

Our strong links with education have seen equipment supplied by RA Smart being used by graduates finishing their diplomas and leaving university to embark on a career in design and, in many cases, starting their own business.

Whether it’s a simple hand textile print table that’s required or a complete digital print facility, RA Smart is able to equip design studios of any size, and our expert knowledge of the printed textile and graphics industry means we can work closely with technicians and lecturers to ensure the print equipment supplied meets the requirements of specific courses and any special applications.

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About RA Smart

Based in the silk town of Macclesfield we operate one of the country's largest digital print facilities with the capability to print on cottons/wools/silks and polyesters.

Much of our work can be seen on catwalks around the world and found in leading department stores, working as we do for some of the biggest names in fashion and soft furnishing design. We provide a complete fabric design and print solution for businesses of all sizes, as well as working with all UK design colleges, where we actively support and encourage the next generation of designers.

RA Smart (CAD & Machinery) has been at the forefront of digital textile technology since the early pioneering days of the late 1990’s and can rightly claim to be experts in the supply and support of dedicated textile digital print solutions, partnering with the leading machine manufacturers and installing the latest systems throughout the UK. Covering a vast array of applications including fashion/furnishing/sportswear/household textiles and soft signage we are in a unique position to advise our customers of the various machine solutions, ink chemistries and processes required for any textile application. Not forgetting our heritage as a major supplier of screen printing equipment, we continue to manufacture and supply bespoke equipment to Universities, Colleges and design studios as well as artisan screen printers.

But leading the way in digital print is not all we do: we are actively committed to keeping the ancient art of weave alive, as well as promoting Macclesfield's rich silk producing history around the world. We also continue to support the screen print process and have a large commission screen making capacity and can manufacture and engrave flat screens to any size utilizing the latest wax jet engraving process

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