MTEX Solutions: A Key Iberian Manufacturer, Sprouting New Industrial Printers

Bob Leahey and Catherine Cresswell
Nov 6, 2018

MTEX Solutions, the Portuguese manufacturer of digital printers for textile and label applications, recently held its debut summit for customers and prospects in Porto, Portugal’s beautiful port city. Sporting the tagline “Back, Better than Ever,” the summit drew participants from as far away as Russia and the U.S. These attendees came to learn about a key industrial inkjet printer vendor, one lately transformed and growing internationally, and its new products. Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends (InfoTrends) attended the event and offers here what it captured about the company and its newest hardware.

First up, some history: MTEX Solutions, known as POD Iberia until March 2015 was founded in 2013. The MTEX name originally was “Máquinas Têxteis, Inc.” or “Textile Machines, Inc.” The company’s first products were just that, wide format inkjet printers for the then budding digital textile sign and graphics market, all based on Mimaki and all direct to textile solutions. While those first printers were in fact mostly Mimaki’s, in the years since, MTEX changed much more than its name. It broadened its focus to include label and packaging printers and added extensively to its in-house manufacturing capabilities to include bending steel, writing controller software, and even making its own electrical cables and harnesses. The MTEX team, now over 120 strong, operates out of five buildings in Famalicão, a town near Porto, using direct sales for the textile printers and distributors for the label and packaging printers. Their core inkjet technology changed also, as MTEX evolved to Panasonic heads for textile printers and Memjet heads for label and packaging products. In addition, MTEX plans to ultimately brand its New Solution label and packaging line with the MTEX name.

Dragons, Eagles!
No customer summit would be complete without product announcements, and MTEX had a few key launches to share at the meeting in Porto. In textile printing, the first was its Dragon, a 16 head, 1.9-meter-wide sublimation transfer printer. It marks MTEX’s first paper transfer product for the textile printing market, and one that’s already shipping. Dragon features an integrated dryer for transfer paper, which the company says allows Dragon to create finished output 2.5 times quicker than competing textile transfer printers of the same size, for example printing at 720 dpi with variable droplet size in two passes and yielding 270sqm per hour. Dragon also incorporates an MTEX patented head wiping system and the company’s own ink de-gassing system.

Figure 1: MTEX Dragon Dye Sublimation Transfer Printer

MTEX Dragon

Also on display was a new direct-to-fabric industrial sublimation printer, the MTEX Eagle, which is due to ship this quarter. MTEX Eagle, with 3.2m print width, has a built-in sublimation unit to enable fabric manufacturers to produce finished output without additional steps. With digital front end developed by MTEX, the Eagle is suited for home textiles and also the graphics market, and it can match the output speed of MTEX Dragon.

Figure 2: MTEX 3.2m Direct Sublimation Industrial Textile Printer

MTEX 3.2m Direct Sublimation Industrial Textile Printer

Source: MTEX

Finally in textiles, MTEX plans to introduce its  MTEX Scorpion next year. The hardware is a direct-to-fabric reactive and acid machine. Notably, there will be an option to purchase Scorpion as a full turnkey solution, to include a built-in MTEX steamer, washer, and dryer finishing equipment.

Lions for Labels
In label and packaging, MTEX’s “New Solution” business has been known for its Memjet-based miniature production printers for labels (NS Pro) and corrugated (NS Multi), both first sighted in 2016 and now established options for low volume printing in Europe. The recent summit event highlighted a second generation of printers, including the NS Atom, a tabletop web with an optional laminator; NS Multi LG, successor to NS Multi; and NS Lion, an all-in-one label production system.

Figure 3: MTEX Atom, Shown With Off-Line MTEX Ant Finisher

MTEX Atom, Shown With Off-Line MTEX Ant Finisher

Source: MTEX

Each of the three printers is built around a single CMYKK Memjet head and has the same core specifications: web width up to 8.77 inches/240mm; 9 or 18 mpm speed; 1600 x 1600 dpi; dye based aqueous ink.  The last of these printers is the newest and most notable for all that is included (initial flexo coating station, single pass printing, cold lamination, semi-rotary die cutting, matrix removal, slitting and rewinding), and for its price, only about $181,000. On that, we note that for labels, and for corrugated too, MTEX has made a series of products that will appeal to smaller companies and even to end users.

Figure 4: The NS Lion All-in-One System

Source: MTEX

Footprint
The recent summit gave a clear understanding of MTEX, in particular that the company has a broader printer line than is generally known, and that its capacities for design and manufacturing are deeper than we knew. A final note: while the summit’s focus was on MTEX-branded products, the company has attracted at least two famous brands as marketing partners, namely Gallus (Switzerland) and Konica Minolta (Japan), each of which markets under its own name at least one printer made by MTEX. Looking ahead, there could be other companies, unknown to us now, that will also be outlets for digital technology made by this small but dynamic inkjet printer manufacturer.

 

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