Mimaki claimed to have launched a brand new hybrid textile printer, the TX300P series, at last month’s Itma 2019 show, which is quite a stretch since Mimaki already has a TX300P in its line-up, introduced in 2017.
What Mimaki has actually done is make a sensible upgrade to its existing TX300. The key to the TX series is that they can be simultaneously loaded with two sets of inks, with the printer having two sets of printheads so that users can easily switch back and forth between the two ink types. But the existing machine was designed to print direct to textiles, taking both TP400 textile pigment and Sb420 sublimation inks for different types of fabric.
However, Mimaki discovered that many customers producing fashion prefer to print via transfer paper in order to reduce the need for pretreatment and post-treatment. So Mimaki has added an interchangeable platen to the printer to make it easier to switch between paper and fabric, which is the major new feature of this printer. The issue with the platen is that when you print direct to textile there’s always a certain amount of excess ink that penetrates through the fabric and this needs a platen with an ink-receiving ditch to drain it away. However, when printing to transfer paper it’s best to use a vacuum platen to hold the paper in place for better quality images.
This in turn makes the TX300 an incredibly flexible printer, able to satisfy a number of different needs from soft signage through to fashion and home décor in a single machine. The printer can be configured with three different ink combinations, including textile pigment and sublimation transfer or direct sublimation and sublimation transfer, with textile pigment and direct sublimation to come later.
It has Mimaki’s Nozzle Check Unit and Nozzle Recovery System to automatically clean print heads and map between missing nozzles.
Ronald van den Broek, Mimaki’s general manager for sales in EMEA, commented: “The features of this new hybrid printer will enable textile and garment manufacturers to achieve unparalleled flexibility and enhanced application opportunities for increased business growth. With this product Mimaki is effectively democratising accessibility to textile printing, and with solutions like this in the market, we expect to see improved growth of digital printing in textiles.”
Mimaki also talked about a new TA Job Controller software, specifically designed for textile production environments. This gives a single point of control to run all the machines so that you only need one software package for all the different devices, including printers, pre- and post-treatment machines.
Mimaki showed off its Tiger 1800 mk2 at the show, strangely with a half-hearted effort to convince the journalists in the press conference that this too was a new machine launch, though as far as I can tell it’s the same machine that was shown at Fespa 2018, and which I already covered here. This machine appears to have actually shipped six months after Fespa so someone at Mimaki thought it would be a great idea to simply re-announce it and hope that none of us noticed. This, for the record, is why I mostly avoid press conferences.
Mimaki also showed the TR300-1850C coating machine and the TR300-1850S steaming machine. You can find further details at www.mimaki.com.