Highlights from Heimtextil 2019

Catherine Cresswell and Colin McMahon
Jan 22, 2019

From January 8 to 11, vendors and buyers working in the digital textile space headed to Heimtextil, the International Trade Fair for Home and Contract Textiles. The event provided an intimate section of digital textile printer companies exhibiting next to textile designers for the first time down in Hall 3.0. While it must be noted that attendance from the digital textile vendors was down this year, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends (InfoTrends) attributes this decline largely to ITMA 2019: the quadrennial textile event taking place in June. While ITMA’s presence may have reduced digital textile machine exhibitor numbers, there were still some noteworthy products on display.

Vendors who brought hardware to the event include Aleph (direct to fabric), Epson (sublimation and DTG), HP (latex), MS (direct to fabric), Mimaki (sublimation and UV), and Xeikon (toner-based for wallpaper). Other hardware vendors in attendance were SPGPrints, Veika- Dimense (latex), and Zimmer. Ink vendors included Itaca and JK Group, and software vendors AVA, Inedit (Neostampa), Nedgraphic, and Pointcarre were also in attendance.

We felt the single greatest takeaway from the show happened in the decorative fabric hall 4.1. Standfast & Barracks unveiled an innovative customized development of a pigment ink pretreatment solution, which works with its Durst Alpha 190 series and Durst Greentex P pigment ink – enabling it to open up new outdoor, contract, and window blind applications printing on polyester fabrics. The new trademarked solution known as Ecofast achieves a highest light fastness of 6-7, with wet and dry rub fastness levels of 4-5. Standfast & Barracks is known for its high-end interior fabrics printed largely on natural fabrics with analogue and digital reactive inks and is using its digital printing technology to expand applications.

Figure 1: Standfast & Barracks Polyester Printing Sample

Standfast & Barracks Polyester print sample

To better segment the rest of the news discussed at Heimtextil 2019, we have broken out the news into three categories: Ink, Printers, and Software.

Ink-related Highlights from Heimtextil 2019

JK Group’s Kiian Digital launched its first digital reactive ink line, Digistar Bellagio. The line is available in eight colors (CMYK, light black, Blue, Orange and Red) and is suitable for direct printing on natural fibers, such as cotton. The ink was developed in conjunction with sister company MS Printing Solutions (both companies are part of the Dover Group).

InfoTrends was on hand to see MS demoing the JK Group inks for the first time at a show, including the new reactive ink on the 1.8m JP4, and the Digistar Bravo direct disperse ink on the JP4 3200. Going forward, MS will phase out its own brand direct to textile printing inks in favor of JK Group inks, further bringing the two organizations together.

Printer Vendor Highlights from Heimtextil 2019

Aleph showed its new in-house Laforte Pigment ink in CMYK, which was being printed on pretreated cotton on the 1.8m wide recently renamed Laforte 200 Fabric printer with an inline Laforte dryer for fixation. For pigment inks that typically struggle on wet and rub fastness tests, it achieves  3-4 wet/wash and 4-5 on rub fastness. Aleph also showed the output of its launch into the graphics segment with the Laforte Blueback range using pigment graphic inks, first shown at SGIA.

In another area of the show, Epson emphasized the breadth of application possibilities across the different parts of the company, including directly printed home textile output on polyester and cotton using pigment inks printed on its industrial Monna Lisa devices. Epson also highlighted the diversity of Surecolor sublimation printing for the interior decoration market, including wallpaper and polyester-coated rigid objects like vases. In addition, it showcased a new synthetic faux leather application possible with its solvent machines, as well as its DTG printer being used for cushion cover applications.

Figure 2: Pigment ink digital textile printed display using Epson Robustelli Monna Lisa Evo Tre 

Epson Robustelli Monna Lisa Evo Tre

Mimaki focussed on displaying three applications in conjunction with ten international designers and printing on three machines, including the recently launched TS55-1800 sublimation transfer printer. The device has a new printhead and new Mimaki Sb610 inks that are available in 10kg tanks. The printer can also be bundled with a mini jumbo paper roll unwider, enabling up to 2500 linear meters of sublimation paper to be loaded.

For our last highlight in this arena, we turn to HP. The company combined the fabric print design concepts of a fabric designer with those of a print surface designer to highlight the versatility of its latex print technology on a multitude of surfaces using a number of its 20 new certified fabrics introduced this year. Applications included upholstery, curtains, window blinds, cushions, wall coverings, acoustic textiles, outdoor textiles, and eco leather. HP also showed its newly launched HP DesignJet Z9 Series for designers to use for print sampling on paper. This was shown alongside the HP Latex 570 which was printing designs on fabrics in conjunction with the HP Sprout PC and 3D design software.

Software and Workflow Highlights from Heimtextil 2019

AVA displayed the latest (5.2) version of its textile workflow software that enables more streamlined design with fewer windows open and a more click and play interface. It also introduced Structure Simulation to create 3D structures and simulate in repeat, in color, and in register with existing 2D design. This new version also provides productivity manager tracking software to help match and reproduce previous designs.

NedGraphics introduced a file management solution to its Textile Printing Suite of Programs. The Design Finder helps to organize and better manage cataloged designs. Other important new features include the Tuft Tiling Pro, which can create tiled simulations for tuft designs, and the Simulation Server that collates and manages various Tuft and Jacquard program files in one place.

Conclusion

While Heimtextil 2019 may have been a smaller show, InfoTrends still believes there were a number of interesting announcements and demonstrations that highlight how digital printing is penetrating in the diverse area of home textile decorative printing and that innovation  can stem from hardware, ink, software and importantly from the fabric printing companies themselves.  Subscribers can look for our full report on the show, coming soon.

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