HP Unveils Stitch Line of Dye-Sublimation Printers for Textile Printing

At spring trade shows in Las Vegas and Munich, HP introduced their new HP Stitch line of wide-format and grand-format inkjet dye-sublimation printers.

The new HP Stitch S series of digital textile printers includes the 64-inch HP Stitch S300, the 64-inch HP Stitch S400, and the 126-inch HP Stitch S1000. The printers are built for easy maintenance and fast, precise color-matching, made possible by a built-in color-measuring device called a spectrophotometer.

About Dye-Sublimation

Inkjet dye-sublimation has become a wildly popular process for printing fabrics for trade-show banners, backlit signs, stage backdrops, sportswear, and fashions. Because the ink colors are fused into the molecules of different types of polyester textiles, the printed fabrics retain their soft feel, vivid colors, and draping characteristics. (In other words, the fabrics don’t “feel” printed.)

Unlike existing wide-format dye-sublimation printers that use piezo printheads, the HP Stitch printers uses thermal printheads heat to eject tiny droplets of ink onto a transfer paper. The printed transfer paper is then fed through a heat press, which uses carefully controlled amounts of heat and pressure to transfer the colors from printed paper to a wide range of dye-sub-compatible polyester fabrics from companies such as Fisher Textiles, Berger Textiles, and Top Value Fabrics.

Even though HP isn’t the first company to introduce wide-format and grand-format dye-sublimation printers, the market for digitally printed textiles is growing quickly.

“Décor and fashion application trends, on demand production and personalization are boosting digital print growth,” says Santi Morera, Head of Graphics Solutions Business at HP. “The digitally printed textiles market is experiencing double-digit annual growth, forecast to reach $5.5 billion by 2023, according to Smithers Pira. We look forward to more digital print transformations being realized with the arrival of the new HP Stitch S series.”

The HP Stitch S300 Printer was designed for newcomers to dye-sublimation printing who will be using it to create short runs of fabrics for soft signage, interior decor, or prototypes of fashion or sportswear designs.

The S300 uses one set of 775-mil cartridges of cyan, yellow, magenta, and black HP Dye-Sublimation Ink cartridges.

HP Stitch S300 wide-format dye-sublimation printer

Unlike dye-sublimation printers that use piezo inkjet printheads, you don’t have to call a service technician to replace a faulty printhead on HP Stitch printers. Because a printer operator can easily replace the thermal inkjet printheads as needed, users will experience less downtime and lower service costs.

“Our experience with HP Stitch S300 has been much easier and faster than other dye sub printers we’ve previously used,” says Teunis Roos of the Color Concepts independent profiling and testing lab for the digital wide-format printing industry. “Most printers require manual action in terms of head maintenance and alignment, but the HP Stitch S300 is more proactive and automated when it comes to performance.”

The HP Stitch S500 Printer for high production sites enables predictable dye sublimation color and less media waste. The symmetrical 2xCMYK printhead configuration and Optical Media Advance Sensor allow you to achieve saturated colors even in the fastest print mode. Inks are available in either 775-mil cartridges or 3-liter cartridges for lower ink costs and unattended print jobs.

The HP Stitch S500 also can hold larger rolls and is equipped for a Tension-Sensing Winder that reduces the risk of errors during overnight operations. The Stitch S500 includes HP Services and cloud-management tools.

HP Stitch S500 wide-format sublimation printer

With HP SmartColor tools, you can distribute print jobs across a fleet of printers and get consistent color from printer to printer. 

The front-loading printer is designed to save floor space and the HP Smart Nozzle Compensation system Help avoid reprints and media waste with 1200 native dpi printheads and HP Smart Nozzle Compensation system, saving up to 50 percent floor space with frontal media loading and a spindle-less system.

The HP Stitch S1000 Superwide Printer is designed for shops that require high levels of productivity when printing textiles for sportswear, fast fashion, backlit and frontlit signage, curtains, and upholstered chairs and sofas.

Designed for simplified operation, high uptime, and unattended printing, the 126-inch printer enables high-production shops to handle short deadlines and seasonal peaks. The HP Stitch S1000 can achieve production speeds up to 2,370 sq. ft./hr.

HP Stitch S1000 superwide dye sublimation printer

The printer delivers continuous high-quality prints on both transfer paper and fabric. Fully automatic maintenance ensures optimal image quality without user intervention. The HP Drop & Dry print zone dryer helps ensure sharp prints even when printing high-density jobs direct to fabric.

The printer holds 10-liter ink supplies and rolls up to 600 lbs. so jobs can run overnight when necessary.

The HP Stitch S1000 includes a built-in spectrophotometer and HP SmartColor tools that make it possible to achieve consistent colors even when jobs are printed on a fleet of HP Stitch printers.

New HP Dye Sublimation Paper

HP has also launched a set of new dye sublimation papers for the new HP Stitch S Printer series. These papers are designed and tested as a system with HP dye sublimation inks and the HP Stitch S Printer series to achieve excellent image quality and color consistency.

The HP Stitch S300 and S500 printers and HP dye-sublimation paper were showcased at the 2019 ISA Sign Expo in April. The HP Stitch S1000 Printer made its debut at the FESPA Global Print Show on May 13.  

Why Digital Textile Printing Is Growing

HP sees plenty of room for growth in the printed textiles market. For one thing, in a world of 7.8 billion citizens, everyone is surrounded with textiles from birth. Of course, only a small fraction of the portion of textiles are printed. Only 10% of the $308 billion worth of printed textiles are printed digitally. But this percentage is accelerating because the growth of e-commerce and digital marketing are transforming how fashions, apparel, and home goods are sold.

Design studios can use the HP Stitch S300 to print prototypes of fashion and sportswear designs.

Not long ago, only big brands and retailers could afford to create and sell apparel. Before digital printing and e-commerce, it took about 100 days for mass-produced garments to go from the design stage to the selling floor of the brick-and-mortar retailers. Designers and buyers had no way of knowing how many copies of a specific design consumers would buy. So unsold excess merchandise was either sold at clearance prices or destroyed.  And the manufacturer of the goods didn’t receive payment until the products were sold.

With digital printing and e-commerce technologies, garments don’t have to be printed, sewn, and delivered until the customers has actually ordered and paid for the garment. Consumers can  shop a marketplace of designs to have printed on whatever type of garment or accessory they choose. So with these new types of business models give consumers more choices, manufacturers a better cash flow, and the ability to reduce waste.

HP envisions the textile business of the future to be on-demand, personalized, intelligent, and circular. Print-on-demand garments can include new types of inks that change the functionality of the apparel. They believe “Textile printing should be accessible to everyone, sustainable, smart, and limitless.”

HP officials said they chose to enter the textile printing market because 60% of the square meters of fabric consumed in the $3.6 billion digital textile printing market is polyester.

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Digital Textile Printing Is Rising at Standfast & Barracks

Standfast & Barracks in Lancashire, England is one of the most versatile fabric printers in the world. Established in 1924, the company produces fine-quality prints for design-led home furnishings and apparel brands. It is part of the British luxury furnishing group Walter Greenback Plc and has an international reputation for a commitment to quality, innovation, and advanced technologies.

The company produces more than 150,000 yards of printed fabric per month. And until five years ago, it was all done by conventional printing. Today, digital production accounts for more than half of its business revenues.

Ecofast™ Fabrics

At the Heimtextil show for home and contract textiles in January, 2019, Standfast & Barracks will formally launch their new Ecofast™ line of fabrics. The products are produced on the company’s Durst Alpha 190 textile printing system with One-Step Greentex P inks. The environmentally friendly pigment  and reactive and dispersion inks are based on Durst Water Technology.

The new Alpha Series, a super high-performance multi-pass inkjet printer, features different configurations and print widths for the digital production of clothing, home textiles and fashion.

Fabric printed on Durst Alpha 190
“Digital gives us unlimited opportunities and colour variations,” says Stephen Thomas (right) of Standfast & Barracks with Martin Winkler of Durst.

 

The Alpha series offers print widths of 190 – 330 cm (6.2 – 10.8 ft) and can be configured with up to 8 colors and 64 Alpha-S print heads that achieve a native resolution of 600 dpi and a print speed of 460 linear meters/hour (15,800 sq ft/hr). The Durst Alpha series provides continuous ink circulation in all ink circuits in order to guarantee constant ink quality and reliable stand-by availability. A new intelligent feed system has been developed for the Alpha series that adapts automatically to different textiles and roll diameters.

The Alpha Series combines new process technologies to control the interactions of printheads, ink system, textile material, tissue type, pre- and post treatment, thereby making them reproducible, when required – with the aim of further advancing the economic efficiency of digital textile print.

“Our investment in Durst’s digital technology continues to trigger new waves of innovations,” said Stephen Thomas, managing director of Standfast & Barracks. “Digital gives unlimited opportunities and color variations with the ability to develop new application and products and continue to develop our business. Digital is by far our biggest growth area. It’s the future.”

Standfast & Barracks produces stunning colors and designs on their Durst Alpha 190 textile printing system.

“Standfast & Barracks is an exceptional example of how innovative companies are pushing the barriers by continuing to invest in new digital technologies,” said Martin Winkler, segment manager, Durst Textile Printing. “We take great pride in working in partnership with our customers to help them to bigger and better things. And we look forward to continuing to work with Stephen and his great team to further help them grow opportunities that are virtually unlimited with digital.”

 

Mimaki USA Announces Tiger-1800B Textile Printing System

Mimaki USA, a leading manufacturer of wide-format inkjet printers and cutters, has  announced the availability of the Mimaki Tiger-1800B industrial inkjet textile printing system in the Americas.

The 74.8-inch Tiger-1800B is a purpose-engineered, high production inkjet printer for decorating textiles for fashion, performance apparel, soft signage, and interior decor. It can be configured with 16 printheads for direct-to-textile printing or with 8 printheads for transfer dye sublimation output.

Mimaki Tiger 1800B

 

Operating at speeds of up to 4,144 sq. ft./hr., the Tiger-1800B can be used for higher-volume production at manufacturing sites or fast-turnaround, small-scale production at on-demand sites. It can quickly produce shorter-run projects for regional and seasonal fashion requirements.

The Mimaki Tiger-1800B can bring operational efficiencies and reliability to large companies that currently use multiple small digital printers or analog screen-printing processes.  The Tiger-1800B printer enables high-resolution printing, consistent quality for repeat orders, and reduced operating costs.

The Mimaki 1800B digital textile printer supports an all-in-one process for direct-to-textile printing. It includes an adhesive belt transport system with belt washing technology and an in-line heat drying unit. A built-in PC with software for easy and efficient printer operation is also included.

Technologies for improved productivity

High print speeds are complemented by a sophisticated textile transport system. Stable textile transport is achieved through twin pressure roller shafts attached to the edge of the transportation belt. Textiles are uniformly transported onto the belt through the rollers.

Wrinkle and Media Jam sensors detect textile wrinkling or creasing early to minimize potential damage to the printheads from collisions with raised or jammed textiles.

The Tiger-1800B model includes a number of technologies and automated processes for consistent quality output and productivity.

A belt washing mechanism prevents stains on fresh fabric from ink remaining on the belt. The mechanism is equipped with two squeegees to prevent splash-back, and two heaters to dry and re-activate the belt surface.

To ensure optimal printhead maintenance, cleaning liquid is automatically applied to each wiper before and after head cleaning. This liquid enhances the head cleaning process and reduces daily maintenance time by ensuring a clean wiper.

The Tiger-1800B printer features Variable Dot Printing, in which variable ink droplet sizes (small, medium and large) are precisely placed to optimize print quality. Smaller droplets create smoother gradients and quarter tones; large droplets produce uniform solids.

A standard Degassing Module reduces clogging by removing air bubbles in the ink, and an Ink Circulation ensures stable ink supply by constantly circulating the ink.

Optional high production upgrades

Options for the direct-to-textile model include: Roll Media Centering Unit featuring a feeding unit with a centering device and tension bar; a Jumbo Roll Unit; a Plaited Unit; and a Drying and Take-Up Unit for high density printed fabrics.

The dye sublimation model includes the Jumbo Roll Unit as a standard feature.

Availability

Visit www.mimakiusa.com/Tiger for more information. Request a callback through www.mimakiusa.com/contact and enter “Tiger-1800B” in the comments section.

About Mimaki USA

Mimaki is an innovator and a pioneer in the development of digital printing and cutting products worldwide. The company has engineered and manufactured a complete line of digital printers and cutters. Mimaki USA offers total workflow solutions for many applications in the sign, graphics, textile, apparel, and industrial printing markets.

In 2014, Mimaki USA celebrated 15 years of serving customers in the Americas. It is an operating entity of Mimaki Engineering of Japan, which celebrated its 40th year in 2015. For more information, visit www.mimakiusa.com.