EFI Reggiani Pushes Single Pass Boundaries with New BOLT Hybrid Printer

Ron Gilboa and Catherine Cresswell
Nov 19, 2018

Last week represented a significant milestone in EFI Reggiani’s history of providing printing solutions for the textile industry. The company announced its EFI Reggiani BOLT, a digital single pass production textile printer. To celebrate this event and highlight BOLT’s capabilities, the company invited almost 300 people to witness the unveiling – including customers, media, and its channel representatives from around the world – in its factory in Bergamo, Italy.

Innovation in Hardware, Ink, and Workflow
The EFI Reggiani BOLT represents not only new hardware, but also reflects the company’s efforts in innovative ink formulation, as well as advancement in workflow and file preparation. This single pass inkjet printer uses EFI Reggiani proprietary Fuji Dimatix, low maintenance print heads developed with full recirculation that are capable of printing from 5pcl to 30pcl droplets at up to 600 by 4800 DPI. The BOLT can also achieve a maximum speed of 90 linear meters per minute at 600x600dpi resolution. This combination will allow the printer to achieve three times the ink laydown of other, similar, existing technology. This 1.83-meter printing width printer can be equipped with 4 to 12 imaging units, known as print beams, for extended color gamut or special colors.

Additionally, this system can be configured with three analog rotary screen units – two in front and one on the back of the system – all within a 10m x 6m x 4m footprint. These can add embellishments not previously possible with inkjet, such as an overlay of special colors including metallics (bronze, silver, and gold).  The ink recirculation, temperature control, and contactless head wiping (cleaning) of the system will provide a stable printing environment that ensures printhead reliability and high levels of uptime, leading to improved productivity. The BOLT is all about production speed, reliability, and uptime.

The EFI Reggiani BOLT Digital Single Pass Textile Printer

EFI Reggiani BOLT Single Pass Digital Hybrid Printer

During its live demonstration, the printer was racing at 60 meters per minute producing designs with four colors, strong blacks, and detailed floral patterns. It produced a gold overlay print using the analog cylinders before creating a floral design at a whopping 90 meter per minute. Though this speed may only be suitable for certain designs, the BOLT is still capable of producing just shy of 10,000 square meters per hour.

The EFI Reggiani BOLT printing at 60m per minute

EFI Reggiani BOLT At 60 and up to 90 Meters Per Minute

A First for Single Pass Pigment Ink Printing
While the demonstration was made by printing with reactive inks available now (eight colors including CMYK Violet, Light M, Light C), the company also announced support for its recently launched TERRA pigment inks, which are available in CMYK Green and Orange. This makes the BOLT the first single pass digital textile printer to be compatible with pigment inks. All inks are developed and produced at the company’s ink manufacturing facility in the UK.

EFI Reggiani BOLT Print Bars and Rotary Cylinder

EFI Reggiani BOLT Print Bars and Rotary Cylinder

Real-Time Single Pass Printing at Rated Print Speed
The system is also equipped with a scanning camera that is currently used for print head alignment. In the future, this feature will also be used for additional quality assurance functions. These will likely tie in with EFI Fiery technology, which is currently driving this printer. On the workflow front, EFI has been working to add features to support the design and management of colorways and enable management of color matching, correction, and calibration. Additionally, the Fiery DFE supporting the BOLT is capable of printing at the printer’s rated speed. This is essential for production volumes that are increasingly changing in terms of variability or in complexity of design. This DFE will handle these in real-time and will not require time-consuming pre-ripping.

InfoTrends’ Opinion

Single pass digital textile printing started with the launch of the Dover MS Lario at ITMA 2011, which ushered in a high productivity product class aimed at enabling the migration from analog to digital for large scale production sites. This launch was followed by additional vendors in ITMA 2015 as Atexco, Konica Minolta, and SPGPrints announcing high productivity systems ranging in speeds from 40 to 75 meters per minute with print width up to 3.2 meters wide. Several other suppliers from China, as well as Europe, have since joined this lucrative club -offering different approaches to address the need of high-volume producers.

The BOLT represents a new level of technological innovation that will likely help push the growth of digital printing of textile to its 19% CAGR growth potential in print volume from 2017-2022, according to Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends’ Digital Textile Forecast. This growth is attributed to two main trends that are rapidly being adopted by brands and fabric finishers. The first is the need to effectively produce fabrics that meet brand needs for timeliness while increasing design flexibility, reducing environmental impact, and reducing operational cost. The second is the persistent demand for mass-customization that drives brands to offer large volumes of customized products to customers looking for differentiation and unique offerings.
We expect the BOLT to chart a path for innovative solutions that will become available from EFI Reggiani, as well as new introductions that will be made prior to the upcoming ITMA 2019 in Barcelona.

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