Sign & Digital Graphics

November '15

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36 • November 2015 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S DIGITAL PRINTING AND FINISHING DIGITAL GRAPHICS textiles that can be used in all types of printing solutions, including direct-to- print and transfer printing. One of the big detractors to direct textile printing in the past was color quality, but advances in the market have made the vibrancy and color of the direct print closer to the result of transfer print- ing than it was before. "We're so close now to having equal color impact on direct print with all of the implications of not having to deal with paper. It kind of tips the balance more than ever toward direct print," Rychel says. The other benefit to choosing a more production-oriented printer is that it is quick enough and the print quality is good enough to make older printers obsolete. He says that many smaller print shops have multiple versions of the same type of printer and each one prints a little differently, so managing print quality and color for a specific job across multiple printers can be difficult. "The financial edge, in terms of the cost of consumables, will go to direct print when you eliminate transfer paper from the equation. It also eliminates transfer- ring headaches, like paper and fabric mov- ing through a rotary calendar press versus a single piece of fabric," he says. When paper and fabric are involved, it increases the number of potential mis- takes, like ghosting, where you get a shad- owy effect when the paper's not moving through the press the same way the poly- ester is. Those types of problems increase the waste of product, time and money. Durst manufactures the Rhotex 322, a non-belted 10-foot solution for direct printing of textiles. The Rhotex can print unattended and can handle stretchy mate- rials, Rychel says. The Rhotex includes a counterbalancing weight system that allows it to handle stretch fabrics. As the fabric moves under the print- heads and ink is jetted onto the fabric. "We want it in a natural state, not stretched. It needs tension but no stretch. The weight allows us to jet ink in the print zone without stretching it. As soon as we do a pass, we move the material quickly and then back to its natural state," Rychel says. "We change that weight system depending on the stretch of the fabric." The company's Rhotex HS printer is a belted machine that can print on any type of stretchy material, including very thin chiffon polyesters and non-dimen- sionally stable fabrics. The machine uses an adhesive on the belt that moves the fabric through the print zone without stretching it. It can print between 3,200 and 4,500 square feet per hour. Costs increase depending on the size of the fabric rolls a company wants to print. Some machines can handle 15-inch diameter rolls and others can handle 1-meter or larger rolls. Some important things to keep in mind when looking for a high-end tex- tile printer: the durability of the head technology and whether the inks were developed specifically to be optimized to run with the printer's width and firm- ware. Another thing to keep in mind is who is providing customer support. Durst manufactures the Rhotex 322, a non-belted 10-foot solution for direct printing of textiles. The ColorPainter H2-series printers are engineered for durability in high-volume printing applications.

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