Textile printing with wide-format inkjet printers on silk, cotton, polyester
Today, in 2009, most of the standard textile printers of the past are no longer manufactured: Encad, ColorSpan, even most textile printers of Stork are not made any more. Today the name brands of textile printers are different: DigiFab, Yuhan-Kimberly and other brands.
To bring our thousands of readers information on textile printers, FLAAR works to learn about pros and cons of each brand. Then we bring this information to the many printshop owners, managers, printer operators, textile designers, interior decorators, architects, graphic designers and everyone who wishes an outside non-profit perspective on textile printing. During over ten years of using various methods of learning and then dissemination of information on textile printers, our policy today is to visit the actual textile ink companies, the actual manufacturers of the equipment, and the headquarters of the companies that make or coat the fabrics. In the coming months we also look forward to visiting the companies that make the RIP software that handles fabrics that are printed with wide-format inkjet printers. Evolution RIP from DigiFab is one of several such RIP software’s.
ATP Color, Digifab textile printers evaluated by FLAAR
There are many companies that make or distribute textile printers. One that we know for many many years is DigiFab. Another textile company that has let us do evaluations on their printers is ATPColor. We have evaluated their printers and here are the results.
So far it has been possible to visit the world headquarters of DTP Link twice, 2007 and 2008 at the Yuhan-Kimberly headquarters in Seoul. They make both textile inks and the printers as well (MC3 Premium and MC3 Express). Then FLAAR inspected the Keundo factory where the Yuhan-Kimberly VU-180 industrial textile printer is being developed.
In 2009 FLAAR was hosted at the textile ink headquarters of Sensient, in Switzerland. We were interested in their water-based UV-cured textile ink.
In past years it was possible to visit DigiFab in the US as well. FLAAR also visited the headquarters of 3P Inkjet Textiles. So understandably these are the textile companies that we know best.
Which wide format inkjet printer is best for printing textile samples, wallpaper designs, on fabric, cloth and other material?
In past years Encad's textile printing system was one of the earlier inkjet printers to call attention to printing on textiles. In the ensuing years other brands came out with more sophisticated printers for textiles. Thus Colorspan also began to make a textile printer (Colorspan DisplayMaker FabriJet XII), picture here is from ColorSpan, a new version of the ColorSpan DisplayMaker XII, adopted to handle fabrics.
Mimaki, Stork, Encad, and ColorSpan all made high-regarded equipment many years ago, so it was a tough choice to chose among them. But each printer has its definite pros and cons. You can also print on silk, cotton, and other textiles with an Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 5000 or 5500 printer. Other kinds of prints will also handle textiles.
Over the last ten years FLAAR has been issuing reports on wide format printing on textiles. Gradually, as time and funding allows, we will do our best to update our earlier FLAAR Reports from previous years.
One such FLAAR report is on "Inkjet printing on fabrics" also includes results of our use of the venerable HP DesignJet 5000ps to print on cotton, polyester, and mesh. The results were so attractive we included them in the art exhibit we organized for the archaeology museum on campus.
Where to find printable fabrics?
Your results will be much better if you print on textiles that are pre-coated to better accept inkjet inks. Plus, such coated materials render significantly better color. If you try cheap textiles, the results may be poor, or may look good today but deteriorate later (your client might not be happy at that point). For printable fabrics consider obtaining a swatch book of samples from 3P InkJet Textiles. E-mail
Reviews of digital inkjet printing of textiles in the FLAAR information network.
FLAAR covers inkjet printing on cotton, silk, polyester, and other fabrics. We are initiating comments on heat press calendering machines during 2009 (DigiHeat, for example).
FLAAR Reports discuss acid dye textile ink, reactive dye textile inks, disperse dye inks, dye sublimation inks, and pigmented textile inks. We discuss soft signage as well as fine art giclee (on canvas) and printing fine art photographs on silk.
In brands of printers we evaluate those textile printers where access is possible to visit the factories and/or demo centers. So far we are reviewing textile printers by Yuhan-Kimberly and DigiFab (StampaJet).
Since the ColorSpan DisplayMaker FabriJet XII is no longer available, we wanted to show you samples of some other textile printers that are available today in 2009.
Last checked Jan. 21, 2009. Previous Updates: Jan. 15, 2003, Aug. 12, 2001.
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