SPGPrints reveals new ‘Archer’ projects
Building on feedback from last December’s customer event, which gave a ‘sneak preview’ of its PIKE single-pass digital textile printer, SPGPrints says it has already begun engineering work for an extra-wide version to be launched in the second half of 2016.
As reported by WTiN.com, the PIKE, scheduled for launch at ITMA 2015 in November, uses a new print-head assembly known as Archer Technology, based on the Fujifilm Samba head. Both names have been devised to communicate what SPGPrints sees as the most important feature of the new technology – its ability to jet ink accurately across a gap as wide as 4mm. This means the print head can be further away from the substrate than with rival systems, reducing the risk of head strike and permitting the printing of a wider range of textile qualities.
The PIKE prototype in development at SPGPrints
The company also plans to make its solution more attractive by offering free replacement of faulty print heads, in exchange for a ‘small’ premium on the ink price.
Jos Notermans, commercial manager for digital textiles, said: “Intensive discussions are taking place with a number of customers that are seriously interested in becoming the launching customer of this product. These customers have recognised the image quality that is beyond anything they have seen before. They are attracted by the ability of the PIKE to print virtually all designs – beyond all of today's limitations.
He continued: “They especially value the proposition to cover all print head costs in the PIKE inks, marketed by SPGPrints as 'no printhead-headache'. Last but not least, the fact that the PIKE fits in the footprint of a rotary printer has started the idea at larger printing companies to convert a part of their printing capacity to digital, as seamlessly as possible.”
The initial customer for the PIKE will be involved in a development and testing programme leading to the printer’s launch at ITMA in November.
SPGPrints also revealed to WTiN.com that it is developing a scanning printer based on the same Archer technology. Notermans said: “This printer, which can be used as a perfect matching sampling machine to the PIKE, will also be on display during the upcoming ITMA show in Milan. The combination of the 1200dpi resolution, with the very small droplets and the 4mm jetting distance to the substrate, ensures the combination of the best possible image quality with the highest reliability in digital textile printing. For these printers too, SPGPrints will be offering the 'no printhead-headache' solution.”
Earlier, at May’s FESPA exhibition in Cologne, Germany, SPGPrints will introduce a special Nebula Reactive HD (high-density) inkset, which it says will feature the largest colour space available in the industry for Kyocera-based printers. Notermans said: “Extensive testing at beta sites in Germany, Spain and Turkey have shown the unrivalled colour brightness and intensity, combined with a never-seen-before runnability of these inks. SPGPrints expects this new inkset to set the standard for reactive digital-textile printing.”
The company also reports the successful market penetration of its Nebula Disperse inks, for direct printing on to polyester. It says these inks, introduced last year at FESPA in Munich, have proven to produce significantly less ink mist during printing, combined with excellent drying behaviour without contamination of the dryer. The resulting colour brightness and fastness qualities “have set the new benchmark for the industry.”