In the field of Digital printing, Epson America, inc, a leading manufacturer in the printer, scanners, professional imaging, projectors, system devices etc from U.S has gone a step ahead over others by inventing Direct
to Garment Printer (DGP), with next generation print head technology, to print on the Garments like a photo
copier producing instant copies. Any ready stitched garment can be printed on this table top model
printer akin to a copier which has been developed by Epson group of Engineers
consisting of mechanical, chemical, and software engineers over the years of research. This is indeed a
revolution in the art of Garment printing as it replaces the hereto
commercially available orthodox Screen printing and Flexo printing technologies for printing on garments.
What makes this process i.e. printer different to the conventional printing is
its adaptability and simple technique in instant printing of any image, be it on a
single piece or bunch of garments without the use of stencils or plates.
The dimensions of the machine is 38.8” in width x 56.1” depth and 19.3” in
height and weighs less than 182 lbs. The maximum garment imaging area is 16” x
20”. The machine is reportedly equipped with Epson Precision Core TFP print
head, fitted with 8-Channel, drop on demand ink jet head to skillfully print on the garment with a new technology ink called Epson Ultra Chrome® DG inks. The manufacturer
of the machine, SureColor F2000 will become the new benchmark in
high-performance garment imaging with the specially formulated ink which is compatible to both Cotton and Synthetic blend fabrics. According to Epson, they invented the printer for
a specific cause as stated below.
............the all-new Epson SureColor F2000 was created with one objective in mind —
making a killer T-shirt. Every aspect of these printers, from the printer
mechanism to the ink delivery system, was purpose-built to deliver
industrial-level production speeds, image quality, and reliability to redefine
direct-to-garment (DTG) imaging..........
The printer is fitted with a Platen unit (a frame) to hold the garment
during printing. The printer also has automatic platen height detection unit to
ensure that the print head strikes the garment at correct level to uniformly
spray the ink pellets, which again is aided by a LED beam detection system that
automatically scans the surface of the garment to determine best platen height
setting to achieve narrowest printing gap and highest imaging quality rendering prior to
each imaging pass.
Except Ultra Chrome® DG Inks, no other ink will work on this printer as the DG
inks have been specially formulated with certain qualities to not only print on
garments, but also remain firm on garment surface without getting wiped off
from the garment surface during use. Unlike commercially available
varnish/oil based printing ink, the Ultra Chrome® DG Ink is special ink that reproduces clean, bright images with
superior washability and supplied in cartridge of five colours which are used
as one set to produce the multi tonal coloured images.
Each ink cartridge
has built in ink filtering system to ensure that the ink entering the system is clear
of contaminants. An additional internal ink filter screens the inks a second
time before entering the print head thus further improving print head life and
reliability. One of the five inks is white ink which has been designed as base ink to
enhance the colour range and presentation value on light fabrics and for
providing a stable base for colour printing on dark fabric. New white ink technology
reduces sedimentation of the ink while printing. None of the inks clog the
print head which is similar to the digital printer head that sprays the ink
through nozzles. Precision ink droplet control ensures extreme print quality by
spraying 1,440 nozzles per inch for white inks and 720 nozzles per inch
assigned to color ink.
The inks also conform to ‘Oeko-Tex® Standard 100’ when applied on
Garments for human ecological requirements of Class 1 products for adults,
children, and babies up to 36 months. The Oeko-Tex ® 100 standard has requirements for the final product and aims to
guarantee that products are free of harmful and hazardous substances like heavy
metals, toxic dyes and substances like formaldehyde which is used in textiles
as an anti-wrinkle substance and therefore safe for human health and the
environment too. Certification for ‘Oeko-Tex® Standard 100’ has to be reapplied
for every year. Therefore special care has been taken in formulation to ensure that the Ultra Chrome® DG Inks used in the printer for printing on garments is free of harmful and hazardous substances like heavy
metals, toxic dyes and substances like formaldehyde.
Before printing, the garments must be evenly and well coated with pre-treatment
liquid which is then allowed to dry (naturally or in a heat press). Once
printed the garment must again be placed in a heat press to fix the ink. It takes only few minutes to complete the process. Once dried it results in a finish with a low tack feel that is tough and durable,
with good UV/Wash resistance. The garment thus coated with pre-treatment liquid
is placed on the Platen of the printer already kept connected to a PC in which
the images to be printed have been stored and print command given.
with the garment mounted on the frame moves inside the print area and comes out
after taking the prints. As the garment mounted frame comes out, the prints
instantly dries out and remain firmly adhered to the surface. No further
processing is required and one by one all other garments kept ready to take on
the prints are mounted on the platen and printed one by one. The print command for the images to be printed, which are already uploaded in the PC attached to this printer can be given within few seconds without going in for fresh stencils or plates for each image.
The Garment Printing machine is ideal for printing:-
- When the print requirement is less than 200 garments per day.
- When each garment required different images to be printed on each of them.
- Instead of printing the entire 200 garments with the same design, whenever some garments require only one colour print, some other requiring two colour prints, some other three colour prints and some others as four colour prints, the same can be easily handled on this single machine.
- This machine is extremely suitable for small print orders or even when only one or less than ten garments are required to be printed.
- The garment can be instantly printed and supplied to the customer with the image as selected by the customer on site of printing.
- Less cost compared to other conventional processes.
Images courtesy: Epson- However some of the images have been slightly modified with captions for clarity in understanding the system