Mutoh teams up with STS for DtF printer

Mutoh has partnered with STS Inks to put together the STS Modular Direct to Film system, which is targeted at the t-shirt and apparel market. 

This STS direct to film garment solution is based around a Mutoh desktop inkjet printer.

The advantage of printing to film rather than direct to garment is that it’s compatible with a broad range of non-treated cotton, silk, polyester, denim, nylon, leather, 50/50 blends and so on, whereas DtG printers are usually limited to pretreated cotton. A further advantage is that printing DtF works equally well with white and dark textiles and allows users to choose either a matte or glossy finish.

However, the appeal to this does rather depend on the application as it does involve attaching a plastic film to a garment, which compromises the feel of the fabric so that I’d suggest that this works best with smaller logos. 

The STS system uses a Mutoh ValueJet 628D printer, a 630mm wide desktop inkjet print engine that’s been adapted to take the DTF inks. Mitsuo Takatsu, Mutoh Europe’s managing director, explained: “Mutoh Japan’s R&D team adapted the basic chassis to cover the specific needs of DTF, including but not limited to the capability of jetting white inks.”

This printer is used to print logos and/or artwork onto a single-sided coated PET film. The solution includes the STS Automatic TPU Adhesive Powder Shaker, which evenly distributes a lightweight powder adhesive across the artwork to enable the film to be transferred to the fabric. This unit also includes infrared heating to bind the powder to the film. 

STS Inks also offers hot-melt adhesive powder that is said to bond the graphic to the textile whilst still allowing a degree of flexibility. It can withstand up to 40+ washes with maximum coverage and a high-level transfer rate.

Naturally STS also sells its own PET film, which it says provides optimal printer roller traction with minimal static allowing for a high-quality printed image without background artifacts.  It is manufactured to withstand the high temperatures and pressures of a heat press. 

As an alternative to the Powder Shaker, users can instead choose the STS Transfer Film Curing Oven for working with cutsheet prints or roll to sheet prints. This runs at 150ºC and can cure films up to 58.42 cm x 48.26 cm, using a timer that sounds an alarm when the curing is done.

The solution is rounded off with SAi Flexi RIP Software that allows users to define custom cut line names and colours and supports printing whilst RIP’ing. It will also work with multi-layer Adobe Illustrator or PDF files, which can be split into multiple jobs which then can be processed as spot colours like white and varnish.

However, the key to the system is the STS inks, which are said to offer high colour density, wide colour gamut and good colour saturation.  It’s a water-based ink that is formulated for use with Epson printheads and is available in CMYK and white.

Shahar Turgeman, who founded STS Inks in 1999, says: “We’ve given each of the essential DTF components a smaller footprint, deployed a user-friendly software program, bundled in the highest-quality supplies, and are offering the STS DTF System at a lower price with improved performance than anything available in the marketplace today.”

Although STS Europe is taking the lead on selling this, it will be available in Europe through Mutoh’s distribution network. You can find further details from or

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