Kornit has introduced a new HD version of its Avalanche direct to garment printer, with the new HD6 replacing the Avalanche Hexa, which should be available later this quarter. According to the press release, the HD6 has a new HD print engine and a new version of Kornit’s NeoPigment ink, but as far as I can tell the new ink, which is called NeoPigment Rapid, is the HD element and the print engine remains virtually unchanged.
The new ink is said to reduce ink consumption – by up to 30% compared to the current “R-Series” version and up to 46% compared to the previous Non R-Series versions of the Avalanche Hexa. This reduction in ink consumption is due to using smaller drop sizes together with a higher concentration of pigment in the ink. Kornit also claims that this ink offers an improved gamut for spot and brand color matching, increased opacity and saturation of the white ink, as well as improved hand feel. The ink is supplied in 4l bulk ink containers.
An intrinsic part of Kornit’s NeoPigment ink is that it includes a pretreatment fluid that is applied by a nozzle system and wiper blade. This pretreatment fluid stops the ink from spreading into the fabric and means that the inks can be printed to most textiles including untreated materials. It’s a wet on wet process with both the ink and the pretreatment fluid being dried together in the drier.
The actual print engine is still the same Fuji Dimatix heads as before, which I believe are the Spectra Polaris heads, with the HD6 using 20 of these, albeit that these may be firing smaller drop sizes. In any case, the HD printers have the same 1200 dpi maximum resolution as the non-HD printers. It has the same print area and the same productivity level of up to 180 light garments per hour.
As with the Hexa, the new Avalanche HD6 uses six colour channels (CMYK, Red, Green) plus white. It includes a patented architecture of dual bridge and dual pallet, designed to achieve optimal performance in an industrial production environment.
The HD6 comes with ColorGATE’s Professional RIP solution, adding advanced color management and screening capabilities, improved white base creation and pre-defined color libraries for ultimate color matching.
Omer Kulka, Kornit Digital’s vice president of Marketing and Product Strategy, comments: “Today’s market trends put traditional screen printing service providers under pressure given increased demand for short run production with frequent inventory cycles, coupled with the online and direct-to-customer business models, the demand for personalized garments, and demand for shorter delivery times. Added to these trends is the current retail meltdown which particularly impacts fashion and apparel outlets. Kornit’s HD technology, based on our 15 years of digital textile printing experience, provides an excellent and profitable alternative for print runs of one to 500 pieces with quick turnaround times.”
Kornit says that the HD print engine, which presumably means the Rapid inks, was launched last year with the high volume Kornit Vulcan. There’s also a HD version of the faster Avalanche 1000 which will be called Avalanche HDK. In addition, there will be an upgrade option for the Avalanche Hexa and 1000 printers to allow them to run with the NeoPigment Rapid ink.