A few weeks after inkjet print manufacturers went their separate ways at the end of Fespa in Munich, many are coming back together in Barcelona for textile printing exhibition ITMA.
The event will feature more digital textile printing than ever before with the focus definitely on textiles for fashion rather than for soft signage. That there will be a number of launches at the event demonstrates just how quickly this market is growing for equipment suppliers. They need to show what they can do at the take off of this sector.
Mimaki is showing a machine capable of both direct to material and direct to transfer abilities. This allows a producer to switch easily between the techniques with two sets of inks loaded in the printer. Previous machines. including its Tiger 1800B, which runs at 385m2/hr with a 1200dpi resolution, have to be configured for one style of printing.
Epson’s commitment to textile printing is leading to the opening of a Textile Solutions Centre for Asia and is boosting sales and support teams that will work from this new location as well as from Italy where Epson own Fratelli Robustelli. This developed the Monna Lisa textile press which from last year is also being produced in Japan. From next year production will switch to a new plant at Hirooka which opens in March next year.
HP will show its entry into dye sublimation printing with the Switch family introduced this year to widespread acclaim. Mouvent, the inkjet technology company backed by Bobsst, will unveil the TX802, a new eight-colour multiple pass inkjet printer for textile production running up to 400m2/hr. It will be driven through a dedicated front end, the Mount DFE which is likely to appear in variants across the sectors Mount is involved with.
Konica Minolta also has a parallel life in single-pass textile printing which rarely touches on its interests in display printing. The single-pass Nassenger was launched four years ago at ITMA. This time it will not be at the event as all models have been sold and shipped, though Konica Minolta will be showing new technologies.
Heavy production machines will feature from EFI Reggiani. The potential in digitally printing textiles was a key factor in the private equity sale of EFI to Siris. Likewise Dover Corporation, Kornit, MTex and SPGprints with the entry level Javelin will be behind digital inkjet presses while lower volume machines come in more familiar shapes from Mutoh, Fujifilm and Durst.
It will also be a place to sell technology to other developers with Xaar pitching its 5601 at developers of textile printing machinery. Another UK exhibitor is Meteor which is harnessing the Global Graphics PrintFlat and ScreenPro technology for single-pass inkjet consistency in its MetCal nozzle out compensation.
The organisers are expected 120,000 visitors at the seven-day show with more than 1,700 exhibitors, filling the exhibition site. This is around the same numbers that attended the event when last held four years ago in Milan. However, the presence of inkjet technology will be far more noticeable, many borrowing developments from the display and commercial print sectors. Typical is Meteor which is harnessing the Global Graphics PrintFlat and ScreenPro technology for single-pass inkjet consistency in its MetCal nozzle out compensation.
By Gareth Ward
Textile show ITMA is following Fespa in highlighting inkjet printing at an event in Barcelona. The 2012 Fespa was a breakthrough for inkjet printing. Seven years later, inkjet suppliers are hoping for the same from the textile industry.