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A Direct-to-Garment Deluge

(May 2009) posted on Tue May 19, 2009

The garment-inkjet floodgates are wide open, leaving many screen printers who want to boost revenues with complementary digital technology drowning in options. This article will help you wade through the crowded pool of printers.


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By Ben P. Rosenfield

Mimaki currently offers two systems for digital direct-to-garment printing. The GP-604 uses a 2 x CMYK pigmented inkset and images onto light-colored 100% cotton apparel at resolutions up to 720 dpi. It features a platen heater—a device Mimaki says raises garment temperature before printing in order to brighten colors. Also standard is a backlit LCD panel display that shows printing configurations during operation. The GP-604 offers bi-directional printing and supports a maximum print area of 16.5 x 24 in. (419 x 610 mm) and maximum printhead height of 5.7 in. (145 mm). A laser dot measures the printing area, and an LED sensor adjusts printhead height. Mimaki’s Raster Link GP software is included. It provides on-screen preview, support for various image-file formats, zoom/rotate/mirror functions, print-position adjustment, and batch printing for layouts of multiple data items. Connectivity options include IEEE-1284 and IEEE-1394. The GP-604D (pictured) shares many of the 604’s features, such as print size and head height, imaging resolution, RIP software, and connectivity. The primary difference is its ability to image onto light and dark garments. The GP-604D uses CMYK inks and a discharge fluid that removes the color of an organ-ically dyed T-shirt. The discharged areas on the garment can then be imaged with a full-color design. Alternatively, the print on a dark garment can be made with the discharge fluid alone. Mimaki specifies a daily maintenance routine for the 604D that involves replacing the cleaning liquid and discharge liquid remaining in the printer at the beginning and end of the printer’s work day.

0 OmniPrint

The TexJet from OmniPrint prints at sizes up to 16.4 x 24.2 in. (417 x 615 mm), and OmniPrint says the system can handle as many as 60 T-shirts/hr with graphics sized at 8.5 x11 in. (216 x 279 mm). It supports bi-directional printing and imaging resolutions up to 2880 dpi, and it uses bulk-supplied, water-based pigmented inks (CMYK + White). Head height is adjustable to 1 in. (25.4 mm). The printer comes with TexJet RIP, which offers an ink-cost calculator. The FreeJet 320TX prints at sizes up to 12 x 18 in. (305 x 457 mm). According to OmniPrint, the system can produce an image appro-ximately 10 x 10 in. (254 x 254 mm) in size in 45 seconds. It supports bi-directional printing and imaging resolutions up to 2880 dpi, and it uses bulk-supplied inks (CMYK + 4 x White or 2 x CMYK). Head height is automatically adjusted via optical sensor up to 2 in. (51 mm). On-board control functions include auto cleaning, step and repeat, printhead management, and more. The machine features OmniPrint’s WetCap integrated head-cleaning system and comes with OmniPrint DirectRip software. The FreeJet 700TX (pictured) prints at sizes up to 24 x 59 in. (610 x 1499 mm). It supports bi-directional printing and imaging resolutions up to 2880 dpi, and it uses bulk-supplied inks (CMYK + 4 x White or 2 x CMYK). Head height is automatically adjusted via optical sensor up to 5.9 in. (150 mm). On-board control functions include auto cleaning, step and repeat, printhead management, and more. The 700 TX features OmniPrint’s WetCap integrated head-cleaning system and comes with OmniPrint DirectRip software.



Click here for Part Two of this feature article: 

http://screenweb.com/index.php/channel/3/id/5348/


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