Epson launches SureColor F10000 textile printer

Earlier this summer Epson announced a new wide format sublimation printer, the SureColor SC-F10000, that promises much higher productivity and should start shipping in the UK shortly.

Epson’s SureColor SC-F10000 is a 1.9m wide dye sublimation printer with bulk ink supply system.

The F10000 is the company’s first 1.9m wide textile machine. It prints to standard transfer papers and is aimed at the usual range of sublimation markets, namely fashion, sportswear, home furnishings, promotional goods and soft signage. But the real significance of this printer is that it aims to bridge the gap between Epson’s large format textile printers and the much faster industrial Monna Lisa textile machines developed by its Robustelli subsidiary.

The F10000 is a four colour machine with CMY and a high density black, from Epson’s UltraChrome DS inkset. These can be supplied in 3l or 10 litre packs, which can be loaded two at a time so that users can easily swap out the empty pack for a replacement without stopping the printer. 

There are four printheads – one per colour – each with 3,200 nozzles. The printhead has a maximum resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi. I believe that Epson is using the PrecisionCore S3200 printhead, which in itself is an interesting choice as this is an industrial head, designed so that the heads can be aligned across a printbar for single pass printing. But in this case, the four heads are arranged side by side and there appears to be space for three further heads. This is also the same printhead used in the Monna Lisa printers and suggests that the F10000 should be capable of much higher throughput than the rest of the F-series large format machines.

Epson says that it can print fashion and signage up to 255 sqm/hr or sports apparel up to 148 sqm/hr but, as everyone in the inkjet world knows, simply quoting the fastest speed does not always tell the whole story. In this case, the speed appears to drop to 130 sqm/hr for 600 x 600dpi in 2.5 passes or 74 sqm/hr for higher quality with 600 x 600 dpi with 4.3 passes. I suspect that many users will probably be looking at a standard production speed of 103 sqm/hr for 600 x 600 dpi with 3.1 passes, which is still at the top end in terms of high quality print results from a large format printer .

Epson has improved upon its PrecisionDot technology, which is a collection of technologies that aims to get around the biggest problem in inkjet, namely that the print quality is highly dependent upon how accurately each ink droplet can be dropped in the right place, and that drop placement becomes less accurate at higher speeds.

These technologies include LUT or Look-Up Table, which determines the optimum amount of each ink colour is needed to reproduce the colour in the image being printed, as well as the optimum dot size and landing position on the media. This works with Microweave, which disperses the dot arrangement in order to eliminate banding and printing unevenness for each path to be printed.

In addition, there’s a Halftone module, which optimises the solid colours and gradations. There’s nothing new in these technologies, which Epson has developed over several years to improve the overall print quality, and which are built into all of Epson’s large format printers. 

Richard Barrow, senior product manager for production large format at Epson Europe, explains how these technologies work together: “Traditionally, an inkjet printer will attempt to build an image by placing dots (ink droplets) over multiple passes into organised positions based on the manufacturer’s preference. For example, a manufacturer may attempt to print in 2 pass, using the ‘top half’ of the print head to print a ‘line of dots’ in a thickness half of the printhead pitch on the first pass and then use the ‘bottom half’ of the print head to print another ‘line’ on the second pass but slightly offset. Should anything be wrong with the dot placement (deflected nozzle) or with the offset (poor media feeding, cockled media) it will become noticeable as a banding effect. A way round this is to print with more passes or, in the case of Epson, harness the incremental gains of accurate feeding, substrate control, consistent drop placement and print head performance with a more dynamic dot placement method that better compensates for inaccuracies. Practically, this achieves the same print quality but at higher print speeds. 

For the F10000 Epson has added a new Multilayer halftone feature, which separates the image into multiple layers and prints them on top of each other to reduce misalignment of ink droplets at higher speeds.

The F10000 has a built in RGB camera, which is used to automatically analyse a test pattern and to optimise various settings ensure the ink drops land in the right place and prevent banding and colour shift. 

Epson has also improved the drying system, which includes a large heater as well as an air knife that blows warm air onto the printed surface, to ensure that the ink dries before the paper reaches the winder at the highest print speeds.

Epson says that some parts can be replaced by the operator, which is a nod towards more industrial users that will expect to be able to keep a machine running without having to call out an engineer every time there’s a problem.

One more point to note is that it will use standard electrical supply of 200-240v but you will need two plug sockets. 

Neil Greenhalgh, product manager, Epson Europe, explains: “The SC-F10000 offers the highest throughput of all Epson LFPs and is equipped with four new PrecisionCore Micro TFP printheads and a ‘hot-swap’ bulk ink solution that’s designed to keep businesses running. Our heritage is built on innovation and this is one of those moments in which we’re raising the benchmark for productivity in dye-sublimation.”

It should be available shortly with a list price of £65,000. You can find further details on Epson’s large format textile printers at The printer is currently available in the US and Japan. However, while UK and European customers can order the printer now it won’t ship for another month or so as Epson Europe is still evaluating the printer and training its service and support staff.





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