BOXMEER, The Netherlands — December 18, 2014 — SPGPrints has opened its doors to key customers for ‘sneak’ preview of its new single-pass digital textile printer, scheduled for launch at ITMA 2015 in Milan, next November. Over a two-week period visitors from around the world were able to view the prototype of the new Pike® printer at the company’s headquarters in Boxmeer, the Netherlands.
The Pike is based on a full-width array of Fujifilm Samba print heads, specially modified in a joint project for optimum performance in textile printing. The heads are incorporated in a highly accurate but user-friendly print-bar technology, called Archer®.
One essential advantage of the technology is that the Archer Technology can jet accurately across a distance much greater than can other heads widely used in current digital-textile applications. The head plates in the Archer array will typically be 4 millimeters (mm) away from the surface of the substrate, compared with the typical 1.5 mm of other print heads – so greatly reducing the risk of head strike, which can damage these expensive components.
SPGPrints has also developed Pike Reactive inks, with a formula that eliminates the mist problem, which might have arisen with this greater firing distance.
The first Pike printer is a 6-color machine in which each colour is represented by an Archer print bar containing 43 print heads, giving a printing width of 1850 mm. The print bar has a native resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi, variable drop sizes from 2-10pl and a jetting frequency of 32 kHz, which together deliver typical productivity of 40 linear metres a minutes, with a maximum of around 75 meters per minute. The modular construction will allow models with up to 9 colors.
Wider Versions Of The Pike, Up To 3200 mm, Are Also Planned
The Archer print bar has been designed to retract fully for easy maintenance. Heads can be purged in narrow segments and a faulty head can be replaced by users in less than an hour, with no need for manual alignment – simply software-based registration. The heads are manufactured by a MEMS process, which means they are less liable to degradation and can be refurbished.
With the cost of head replacement identified as a major concern for investors in fixed-array machines, SPGPrints proposes a unique arrangement in conjunction with Pike inks, in which the customer will initially receive a number of spare heads and any faulty heads returned will be replaced free of charge.
Jos Notermans, SPGPrints’ commercial manager for digital textiles, said: “We researched what users want in the next generation of digital textile printing technology and discovered that the essentials include solid blotches, fine geometrics and – above all – a robust industrial solution. That’s what the Pike delivers, at high speed and with low, predictable costs.
“We are able to achieve the quality of Epson DX-based machines with the productivity of the faster machines based on Kyocera heads.”
The Pike’s fabric-infeed system is by Erhardt + Leimer and the transport blanket has been specially designed in conjunction with Habasit. The in-line dryer has the extra capacity to handle disperse inks, which – along with acid inks – are in development and scheduled for launch in 2016.
Wider versions of the Pike, up to 3200mm, are also planned.
Posted January 5, 2015
Source: SPG Prints