Direct printing onto natural fabrics is gaining popularity

Direct printing onto natural fabrics is gaining popularity

With Mimaki’s range of printers designed for sublimation transfer papers and direct-to-textile printing, the customer can print on fabrics and ready-made clothing to streamline production, speed time to market, and stay in touch with changing trends. In this interview, Mark Sollman, Product Manager EMEA, Mimaki Europe, elaborates more industry trends and the company offerings.

With Mimaki’s range of printers designed for sublimation transfer papers and direct-to-textile printing, the customer can print on fabrics and ready-made clothing to streamline production, speed time to market, and stay in touch with changing trends. In this interview, Mark Sollman, Product Manager EMEA, Mimaki Europe, elaborates more industry trends and the company offerings.

What kind of products and solutions do you offer for digital printing in textiles?
Over the past few years, we have brought a variety of new textile printing technologies to market to support this rapidly growing industry. With our recent solutions, for example industrial textile printer Tiger-1800B MkIII, we have focused on optimising the quality and productivity to keep up to speed with the needs of the textile industry, while still maintaining Mimaki’s signature high-quality. We have also looked to improve the accessibility of textile printing, with our TS100-1600 sublimation printer – which marks a new textile entry to our “100 Series” – allowing printers to diversify their application range at a low initial investment. Over the pandemic, we saw that many printers needed to adapt and expand their offering, and so we wanted to ensure that shift/expansion was as seamless as possible by providing a technology that would fit their needs.

Could you please elaborate more on these recent launches?
Mimaki’s renowned “100 Series” was launched amidst the pandemic as a business-enhancing solution, designed to meet current market challenges and enable users to drive success despite market uncertainty. This printer series, which includes the TS100-1600, offers high productivity and reliability, extreme flexibility to diversify the application range, as well as a highly competitive price-performance ratio. The dye-sublimation printer features a print width of 1,600 mm and achieves a speed of 70 m2/h in the fastest mode. Addressing a growing requirement for increased product variety, lower inventories and shorter delivery times, this advanced textile printer is targeted towards companies seeking to expand their business.

The Tiger-1800B MkIII is the latest model in this high-speed, high-volume industrial textile printer range. The printer is available both as a high-quality direct-to-textile (reactive or direct sublimation) or sublimation transfer printing solution, the new Tiger-1800B MkIII has been developed with reliability and print accuracy at the forefront of the design process and features new software capabilities that help to increase productivity and reduce downtime.

And finally, the hybrid printer, Mimaki Tx300P-1800 MkII, enables both direct-to-textile and transfer printing, with interchangeable platens and the possibility to load two different ink types on one printer, opening up a host of possible new materials and applications. These capabilities allow printers to create fashion textiles, interior fabrics or wallpapers all within one system, making the printer an ideal entry-level solution.

What factors are driving the digital textile printing market?
We are very much in the middle of the transition from conventional to digital printing in the textile industry, and so I imagine that the digital textile industry will only continue to grow from here. The industry has seen an increased requirement for improved product variety, lower inventories, and shorter delivery times – and the pandemic has certainly amplified that. We are also aware that textile printers are always on the lookout for robust systems to keep up with the high-demand and the fast pace of the industry, which we have seen in the quick switch by some textile printers to mask production during the pandemic.

What are some of the emerging trends in digital textile printing?
With lockdowns prevalent across the world, we have seen an increased demand for interior decorations over the course of the pandemic, which are often produced using textile and UV inkjet printers. As a pioneering manufacturer in both technologies, Mimaki is often the preferred choice for such businesses.

The extreme versatility of digital printing technology, as well as the ability to customise, also lends itself well to fast fashion and sportswear. Namely, direct printing onto natural fabrics has become increasingly popular due to the quality and uniqueness it adds to the garments.

Like with other printing sectors, sustainability is becoming increasingly important within the textile market. With this trend, recyclable materials and eco-friendly inks, such as Mimaki’s certified OEKO-TEX inks, will become more and more commonplace.

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