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Technology expands digital textile printing

Graphics | January 1, 2012 | By:

Digital textile printing is increasing in popularity. New trends and recent advances in fabrics, inks and printing technology accelerate growth in the market and are more than encouraging. Because of these advances, digital textile printing offers a variety of advantages, such as on-demand short-run production, one-offs, sampling and proofs, higher productivity and shortened lead times, over more traditional methods of textile printing.

No longer is there a scarcity of digital print-compatible fabrics. As technology evolves, customers are asking for new fabrics that work for specific applications. A notable example is the ever-widening appeal for polyester fabrics for use indoors and out. The popularity of polyesters can be contributed to advances in the quality of digital fabric printers and inks specifically engineered for this fabric.

Inks have evolved along with fabrics. Newly formulated Mimaki inks produce consistent, reliable and vibrant colors for stunning results on a variety of fabrics. The advances offer print shops the opportunity to expand their markets with a wide range of applications, from flags, banners, exhibition graphics, mobile displays, theatrical backdrops, POS and POP displays, home furnishings, fashion fabrics, soft signage and so much more.

The direct-to-fabric digital inkjet printer is one of the most recent innovations in textile printing. Usually, digital printers sublimate onto a transfer paper that is then passed through a heat press to transfer the image to the fabric. With the Tx400-1800D, Mimaki gives you the best of both worlds. This versatile inkjet gives you the option of on-demand digital direct-to-fabric printing, as well as standard transfer sublimation printing.

By printing direct to fabric, designers and fabricators can transform concepts immediately into reality—truly a one-of-a-kind alternative to screen-printing and mass-market fabrics. Another innovative Tx400-1800D feature allows the user to adjust the ink drop volume. This helps to achieve differing color depths while using less ink. Mimaki has also released its Tx400-1800B digital textile printer featuring a newly developed belt system, designed to help stabilize flexible fabrics that tend to stretch during printing and allowing the printer to run at higher speeds, thereby using less ink.

With the ongoing advancements in fabrics, inks and printers, the wide-format textile printing market is one of the most exciting and fastest growing segments in digital printing today.

Fran Gardino is business development manager at Mimaki USA, Suwanee, Ga.

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