Mimaki revolutionises circular textile production at ITMA 2023
Mimaki’s textile pigment transfer printing system almost eliminates wastewater and dramatically streamlines workflows.
Mimaki Europe, a leading provider of industrial inkjet printers, cutting plotters, and 3D printers, has announced the introduction of two revolutionary technologies at ITMA 2023: a Textile Pigment Transfer Printing System and the Neo-Chromato Process. These innovations are showcased for the first time, and ahead of commercial availability, at the exhibition in Milan, Italy, solidifying Mimaki’s commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions in the textile printing industry.
Mimaki’s new textile pigment transfer printing system
“Traditionally, the dyeing process for natural fibres generates an alarming amount of wastewater – around 2 billion tonnes every day in the pre- and post- dyeing processes worldwide – and contributes greatly to CO2 emissions,” said Arjen Evertse, General Manager Sales, Mimaki Europe. “In addition, the dyeing process is complicated in terms of equipment structure and process and often, overseas transportation of textile products from the main textile-producing countries also emits CO2. The Textile Pigment Transfer Printing System minimises water usage and simplifies the printing workflow. Additionally, its compact size and affordability allow small lot textile production to be implemented locally, leading to significantly reduced environmental impact.”
The transfer printing method is more sustainable than both analogue and digital textile dye printing methods with zero water consumption and substantially lower CO2 emissions. The system, demonstrated on the Mimaki stand (H7-C304), comprises three essential elements: the Textile Pigment Ink, the Transfer System and the Textile Pigment Transfer paper, Texcol.
Texcol is a revolutionary transfer paper pioneered by Dutch paper manufacturer, Coldenhove that allows for transferring a digital print using an environmentally friendly 3-step transfer process to create a vibrant application on a wide range of materials, including natural fibres. The design is initially printed onto the paper using a customised TS330-1600 – Mimaki’s high-volume, high-quality dye sublimation printer – and Mimaki’s new pigment inks developed for the process. The module that adapts the TS330-1600 will be available as an option for existing and new Mimaki customers in Q3 2023 but is being previewed on the Mimaki stand at ITMA, giving visitors to the show an exclusive preview into how this highly productive Mimaki printer can be transformed into Mimaki’s most sustainable solution for apparel, house textiles, and soft signage yet.
Mimaki’s new Textile Pigment Ink is undergoing bluesign certification before commercial availability. bluesign is a renowned certification programme that ensures the highest levels of safety, environmental friendliness, and sustainability within the textile and apparel industry.
As the final stage, the Texcol paper undergoes a one-step waterless process, through an entry-level calendar machine onto the textile of choice.
Another Mimaki world’s first cyclical textile technology
Mimaki is also debuting its new, unique Neo-Chromato Process, which revolutionises the reuse of coloured polyester textiles.
Evertse continues, “The increasing awareness of sustainability has led to a significant disposal issue within the textile industry, with polyester textiles accounting for approximately 60 per cent of 92 million tonnes of wasted textile materials worldwide(1). Of this enormous amount of polyester waste, currently around only 15 per cent is recycled. Mimaki’s Neo-Chromato Process tackles this issue head on by utilizing a discolouring technology for dye sublimation inks. This process not only eliminates the need for polyester waste incineration but also reduces the energy consumption associated with textile recycling.”
By decolourising polyester textiles that have been dyed using dye sublimation technologies, this innovative process allows materials to be re-printed or dyed immediately, contributing to a smaller circular economy. There is no limit to how many times reused polyester can be treated with the Neo-Chromato Process and the process itself minimises water usage and pollution by enabling the disposal of the absorbent paper and decolouring solvents used in the process as burnable waste.
“It is the responsibility of everyone here at ITMA and within the wider textile industry to enable a more sustainable future. Mimaki is actively collaborating with retail and apparel brands to explore the full potential of our latest sustainable technologies. While these latest innovations will enable significant steps forward in sustainable textile production, we also continue to focus on bringing new innovations to market that support the pressing needs of our customers, designers, brands, and importantly, the planet,” concludes Arjen.