Screen and digital printing technologies are recognized as complementary technologies for graphics printing and increasingly are being used in tandem to produce graphic displays. Printers who combine the processes typically use screen printing to produce the bulk of the design, then move the printed substrate to a flatbed inkjet in order to add custom design elements.
Garment screen printers also have access to inkjet technology for printing images on apparel and typically turn to digital printing for short-run work. However, the ability to combine screen and direct inkjet printing to produce garment graphics has remained largely out of reach. Unlike the materials used in graphics printing, which are stable and can be accurately reregistered on an inkjet after screen printing, garments are irregular substrates that are easily stretched and distorted. On a garment press, they remain stable because they are typically fixed to the platens with spray adhesive. But once the garments are removed, attempting to reregister them accurately on a direct-to-garment inkjet is an exercise in futility.
Kornit Digital developed its new 933 Industrial Add-On Station to overcome the limitations imposed by garment fabrics and make it possible use both screen and inkjet technology to produce images on garments. The 933 is an inkjet printer designed to operate in conjunction with a manual or automatic carousel screen press by occupying one station of the press. This means that screen-printed design elements and custom inkjet graphics can be applied to the same garments without the need to remove apparel from the screen press’s platens.
The 933 inkjet printer uses four Spectra Nova AAA piezo printheads, supports a maximum printing area of 16 x 20 in. (406 x 508 mm), and can print at speeds up to 200 shirts/hr (5 x 11-in./127 x 279-mm image size) and at resolutions up to 730 dpi. It can be used to print white, spot colors, and four-color-process graphics—including personalized and variable data—onto light and dark garments made of cotton, cotton/polyester blends, Lycra, viscose, silk, and more. Screen printers also may use the 933 to print digitally only and do so without altering the garment-handling workflows they are accustomed to using for larger print runs.
Kornit Digital formulated inks (CMYK and white) specifically for use on textiles. Four-color-process designs can be printed wet-on-wet on top of the white ink. The water-based, pigmented system is designed for high durability, wash resistance, and stretchability. The inks also meet a variety of ISO and AATCC standards, as well as Oeko-Tex Standard 100 for digitally printed cotton and cotton/polyester fabrics in products with direct contact to skin, including fabrics in baby articles. Kornit says its ink-delivery system, based on gravitation, dispenses colors smoothly and efficiently and prevents ink-flow setbacks.
According to Kornit, the direct-to-garment inkjet printer is built on a heavy duty box-beam frame to eliminate all vibrations during operation and assure maximum machine stability. The 933 Industrial Add-On Station is compatible with Windows XP. Onyx PosterShop and Wasatch SoftRIP are available to drive the printer. The 933’s dimensions are 70 x 46.5 x 54.5 in. (1778 x 1181 x 1384 mm), and it weighs in at approximately 1100 lb (500 kg). The printer requires 230 VAC, single-phase power. For more information, contact Kornit Digital, 5 David Navon St., Moshav Magshimim 56910, POB 8406, Israel, 972-3-9085800, fax: 972-3-9080280, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: www.kornit-digital.com.
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