Sign & Digital Graphics

October '17

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24 • October 2017 • G R A N D F O R M A T GRAND FORMAT The other major advancement is the five-meter dye sub printer. Many manu- facturers are moving toward this much bigger textile printer. "Five years ago, there was a very dis- tinct difference in output quality between directly printed textile and transfer printed textile," Syverson says. "There were color and quality differences. Those have largely gone away." Greg Lamb, CEO for Global Imaging, agrees, saying that "direct printing tech- nology is incredible, what it can do now, compared to what it was." He credits that with advancements in ink technology and the coatings applied to the different fabrics. Global Imaging offers an inline grand-format textile printer that allows small shops to have both a big printer and calendar unit in one machine. "It can do everything in a single step with inline solutions. That's a huge advan- tage," says Syverson. It also saves money to print direct rather than use transfer paper. Overall output yield goes up as well because it is not a two-step process. Lamb points out that a printer print- ing on transfer paper prints 1,000 square feet per hour, but by the time a shop prints on the paper, runs the fabric and paper through a heat press, the yield may drop to about 600 sublimated square feet per hour. The Nintendo Switch booth at E3 2017 showed off the beauty and scale that digitally printed textiles can offer. Produced by Warp Exhibits with the Evo33 DS from PrinterEvolution. (Image courtesy of Global Imaging, Inc.) EFI's grand format textile printers print direct, or indirect using transfer paper, which "gives you the widest range of applications. You can print or sublimate to multiple substrates," says EFI's Mike Wozny. (Photo courtesy of EFI) Advancements in printheads and mechanical technology on grand-for- mat textile printers have increased the throughput as well. Global Imaging offers an inline col- lection of printers with a sublimation unit built into them, one series that uses Ricoh printheads and another that uses Kyocera printheads. The Kyocera printheads are very dense and about twice as fast as the Ricoh-based product, says Lamb. The company also introduced its new five-meter, inline calender, "which we think is going to be a big deal in five-meter adoption because if you consider a five- meter heat press weighs 26,000 pounds and takes up 25 linear feet of a shop floor, having that in one compact footprint is a pretty big advantage," Lamb says. One of the challenges to getting into textile printing over more traditional printing methods is that a few more things need to happen with textile. "It is a bit more challenging prod- uct to produce," Syverson says. Global Imaging has stepped up to work with companies just getting into the textile businesses to help them overcome the hurdles they would have had to figure out themselves in years past.

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