Focus on Wide Format Printing

RA Smart A revolution in dye sub technology

April 23 saw the announcement of perhaps the most exciting news for digital dye sub in recent years – the HP Stitch S range of dye sublimation printers. This revolutionary technology has not only completely reinvented how dye sub is produced; HP has also thrown a whole host of other new technology into the market to develop what many are calling the first generation of ʻsmart printersʼ.

Even the base model of the range, the S300, offers customers features such as a built-in spectrophotometer for consistent colour accuracy, the ability to print both paper transfer and direct to textile and the advantage of having the worldʼs first 100% front operating dye sub printer at 160cm wide (saving up to 50% on space).

One of the biggest benefits of the HP Stitch range, compared with other systems on the market, is the ʻup timeʼ associated with such features as user replaceable printheads, that can be changed in a matter of minutes and then fully aligned automatically with no operator input required. Piezo print heads, found of other brands of printers, would normally require the end-user to

The HP Stitch range

wait for a specialist engineer to attend for a replacement head (which can take up to a couple of days), meaning valuable production time is lost. The HP Stitch solution is focused around productivity and preventative maintenance with customers able to log on to the printer via the PrintOS app to view the very latest status of their system and if multiple systems are installed in the same premises or even premises in different countries (such as sampling facilities in one country and production facilities in another) they can produce identical results thanks to HP Stitch colour management systems,

Your Print Specialists An exciting route to new business and profitability

Digital textile print is an exciting route to new business and profitability. With the advent of digital textile innovations and improvements in technology, the market is changing rapidly. With the lower cost of production through affordable print technology, inks and wider choice of fabrics, small companies can now cost effectively print on demand. Textiles make a significant contribution to the UK economy (currently at £28 billion) with increases of £5 billion in the apparel sector and £4 billion in the homeware sector expected by 2020. Disperse inks are the most commonly known type of digital textile inks, and this is what is used in the dye sublimation ink process. Dispersed inks infuse into and actually dye the fabric, becoming part of the textile itself. Disperse inks are broken down into low-energy, medium-energy and high-energy dispersion.

Commonly used dye sublimation inks are a low-energy dye dispersion, most typically used for transfer printing from paper to fabric. The sublimation process requires the use of a calendar to deliver heat and pressure. When the ink and carrier is heated to a high temperature (typically around 380-400°F) the carrier evaporates and the dye turns to gas. The synthetic fibres open to receive the gas and when they cool, they close and encapsulate the colourant, which then returns to a solid, actually dyeing the material.

Mimaki, a leading manufacturer of wide format digital printers for sign and graphics, has been producing textile printers since 1999 and they remain at the forefront of the developing digital textile print industry. It offers a range of solutions with entry level dye sublimation machines such as the TS30-1300 up to the high production TS55-1800. The Mimaki TS30-1300 1.3m width dye sublimation printer is aimed at those looking to enter the textile market or who are ready to make the leap from a desktop dye sub printer to wide format production. The TS30-1300 is both versatile and easy to use and if required can be equipped with fluorescent pink and yellow inks, perfect for sportswear such as cycling kits as well as the growing soft signage market. For fashion studios, the TS30-1300 can be used to quickly create samples in house without the need and cost of outsourcing.

When coupled with a heat calendar and the wide range of available textile substrates, the scope of applications that can be created through dye sublimation makes for an attractive investment and an exciting route to profitability. Quite often, new revenue opportunities can be gained with existing clients and customers. Diversifying and increasing your offering can be an easy step to new business.

The Mimaki TS30-1300 July 2019 | 45 |

check the health of the printer, install new colour profiles and more all from the app.

This minimal operator interference coupled with low running costs and an attractive purchase price means the HP Stitch Range should absolutely be on the horizon for anyone looking to get into the dye sublimation market or expand their current operation. RA Smart is delighted to be partnering with HP as the exclusive distributor for the Stitch range of printers in the UK and Ireland.

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