Epson is attacking the growing market for dye sublimation printers from either end of its product range.
At the Print Show, Epson showed the entry level SC-F500, a 600mm wide bench top printer that comes in at less than £2,000. At the same time the company announced new versions of its 1,625mm printers the SC-F9400 with the addition of fluorescent pink and yellow inks. Samples could be examined at the Print Show and, says Phil Mullen, meet requirements for sportswear production. The larger models will be available at the start of the new year.
There was considerable interest in the entry level machines at the NEC. “We are taking away the pain of printing dye sublimation,” he says. “It does require some thinking and work with a heat press to achieve the right temperature, pressure and dwell time settings, but compared to what experienced printers have had to deal with, dye sublimation is pretty basic stuff.”
The company is taking an aggressive stance towards dye sublimation print, eight years after introducing its first textile printer. “We think there’s a genuine pent up demand for textile printing,” says Mullen.
The new machine comes with 140ml ink cartridges which will sell for £24 each “which is substantially below the €1/ml price that many others are charging. It makes this a very easy, low cost and safe way for printers to tap into the dye sublimation market and check whether there is any demand.”
The technology suits soft signage displays, clothing, flags, promotional products and displays – anything provided there is a polyester layer for the inks to grip to under heat and pressure. “It’s about thinking how can I become indispensable to my customer by offering more opportunity to present the brand in a professional and more exciting way? You are only limited by the imagination of what you can come up with,” he says.
Samples on display underlined this, including the striking polo shirts that Epson’s own people were adorned with.
The addition of fluorescent colours is limited to one of the new top of the range models, the SC-F9400H.
By Gareth Ward