SPGPrints Shows Off its Archer Technology in Singlepass & New Multipass Textile Printers

Catherine Cresswell
Mar 24, 2016

A select number of potential customers from all over the world were invited to visit the SPGPrints factory in Boxmeer, Holland on a day trip out during FESPA Digital 2016 to see the singlepass PIKE up close. In addition, previews of the new Javelin multipass device were also given inducing much interest from the international group of printing companies. The factory tour also showed how the company that is also largely an ink manufacturer, has now completed its third phase of expansion, doubling its production space.

PIKE’s Archer Ink Jetting Technology Extends to Multipass Javelin

Following its official launch at ITMA 2015 and announcements preceding, (SPGPrints Gives ‘Sneak Preview’ of New Single-Pass Printing Solution) SPGPrints’ 1.85m single pass textile machine and a preview of the multipass Javelin were shown in action, up close and personal to the group of printing customers from Brazil, Columbia, Greece, India, Israel, and Pakistan among others, enabling insightful questions to be asked about their ability to perform high speed textile printing cost effectively. The PIKE’s ‘Archer’ ink conditioning and delivery system used in conjunction with the Fujifilm Dimatix Samba printheads is also being used in the new multipass Javelin with the same jetting distance to fabric expected to be achieved by launch in the summer of 2016.

In the PIKE the Archer Printbar jets ink up to 4mm from the fabric (as opposed to the usual 1.5mm), which helps to reduce ‘headstrike’ with the fabric and reduce what is described as the ‘printhead headache’ of costly print head damage and machine downtime. Linked to this a 2.5 year printhead warranty is offered which could even extend beyond this timeframe once customer experience is gained. The Archer name is taken from the Archerfish found in estuaries and mangroves of Australasia that forms a narrow groove in its mouth to jet out a long spurt of water to capture insects some distance away.

SPGPrints’ PIKE Singlepass in action at the customer demo day

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The PIKE, which is targeted at print volumes of up to 13 million square meters per year, is currently being installed in 3 customers around the world in Germany, Portugal, and India. Sustainable engineering and 100% recycling were also emphasized as added value for digital printing, as well as the possibility of reaching 50-80 euro cents per linear meter in high volume environments exceeding 8-10 million linear meters annually, depending on local conditions such as labor and energy costs around the world. Each printbar uses 43 Samba print heads which can produce from 2-10 picoliters variable dot sizes at a resolution of 1,200 by 1,200dpi. The machine is currently offered with 6 printbars offering CMYK, orange and blue but 9 are planned and it is hoped that 12 will be possible in the long run. A 3.2m wide PIKE is planned for 2017.

SPGPrints’ 1.85m PIKE Archer Printbar

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The machine was in operation with an inbuilt dryer positioned inline at the head of the machine to remove excess dust from the fabric before it is transported into the printer and the demonstration showed how the machine copes with seams in the fabric by automatically lifting the heads to let it go by. Between 25-45 kilos of ink are positioned in a cabinet behind the machine to feed the ink tanks in the machine that hold just a few litres at a time. Currently reactive inks are available but direct disperse is also planned. There was interest from the fabric printers present in colour management and calibration of the machine particularly as well as the workings of its printbars, its print quality and speed.

SPGPrints’ Javelin Multipass Textile Printer

javelin

The new Javelin multipass machine, a 200 linear metres per hour scanning device, is still in completion and photos were not allowed. However the machine was shown in action printing uni-directionally. Two dryer options are offered with the machine and together the 1.85m version will launch at around €550,000 including the dryer whilst the 3.2m version is expected to come in at €650,000.

The machine has several multipass scanning printing modes for sampling or production printing and is expected to typically produce 120 linear meters per hour. It is being positioned for both existing fabric printing companies as well as new market entrants with a print volume requirement of up to 2 million linear meters per year, of which there was some major interest at the demo meeting.

New Sublimation Inks at FESPA Digital 2016

Whilst not a subject for the demo day at Boxmeer, SPG Prints’ ink manufacturing range for Kyocera heads was enhanced by the launch at FESPA of its Nebula Sublimation inks comprising bright colors as well as what it claims to be the deepest available black currently on the market. This adds to the Nebula Reactive, Acid and Direct Disperse inks already available from SPG Prints. The new Nebula Sublimation inks are targeted at the polyester market where dye sublimation has taken hold.

 SPGPrints’ new Nebula Sublimation ink for Kyocera printheads

inks

InfoTrends’ Opinion

SPGPrints is investing heavily in developing high speed production textile printers for the future with a focus on resolving some of the reliability issues that fabric manufacturers are fearful of when investing in digital. At the same time the company continues to fill out its third party ink offering with its latest launch being sublimation inks to complement its other Nebula ink sets available for Kyocera printheads. This comes at a time when the market is starting to see an increasing proportion of OEM ink solutions becoming available and so it will be interesting to see how fabric printing manufacturers respond.

SPGPrints is also addressing the cost issues that are associated with printing digitally compared to conventional rotary printing by developing machines and offering warranty packages that include printhead replacement for a number of years. The near future developments appear to be in offering wider versions and developing ink sets so as to address both the fashion and the home textile printing market place. With its long history in ink manufacturing as well as screen and rotary printing the company is positioning itself to continue to support existing and new customers in their transition to digital printing.

With the Archer technology the company is well positioned for the development of a product portfolio of both single pass and multipass machines that will allow the company to offer solutions to a range of producers large and small, which will of course also continue to support its main business of ink manufacturing for many years to come.

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