From new tunnel dryers and the latest DTG printers to multi-mug heat presses and a big name entry into the wide format digital printing arena, this year’s Fespa Global Print Expo had something for every garment and textile print shop. We highlight some of our favourite exhibits

We spent two days in Munich, the capital of Bavaria and home to Oktoberfest, pounding the halls at the Neue Messe München exhibition halls to find the highlights at this year’s Fespa Global Print Expo: there were plenty. MHM pushed the boat out with three product launches at the show. Last year, we spoke to Thomas Fröhlich, CEO ( who outlined his development plans for a new integrated screen printing press and tunnel dryer configuration aimed at saving space in modern print shops.

Twelve months later and, true to his word, Thomas unveiled the Compact Fusion, which allows “printing and drying in one step”, with pallets on an oval press passing below the elevated oven. Thomas explained that as well as offering a more compact footprint for space-challenged shops, the new machine, which has patents pending, also answers the needs of (primarily) overseas print shops that are operating multiple machines running dierent ink systems: the Compact Fusion will enable these customers to have dedicated lines for each process.

For those that still prefer a standalone dryer solution, the new Maxi from Tesoma (now part of the MHM family) sits between the brand’s Mini and Compact dryers and is designed for use in a wide variety of different applications. It has an extended 2.4m drying zone, stepless and adjustable temperature and belt speed settings and is mounted on rollers so it can be easily moved around a shop floor. MHM recommends it for drying plastisols, water-based and solvent-based paints as well as digital printing inks and suggests that it is ideally suited for use on compact digital printers and/ or small screen printing carousels for small and medium volumes.

The previous two Fespa shows have been notable for the number of new hybrid screen/digital systems on show. MHM continued this focus with another new exhibit – the Digital Pro V, which is billed as “the perfect digital starting solution”. The new kit turns an MHM press into a hybrid screen/digital printer and is said to be unaffected by external environmental influences such as temperature and humidity levels in your shop. It features two print heads and is claimed to be capable of printing up to 200 pieces per hour.

Returning to dryers, Adelco was showing its Pro-Cure Twin Burner dryer for the first time. The new model features not only a split belt but also separate, twin burners that can be controlled independently. Loretta Smith, sales administrator, explained that the new format allows garments printed with different ink systems to be cured simultaneously using not only different belt speeds but also at different temperatures. The belts can also be run in both directions so, for example, a carousel printing plastisol inks could be located at one end of the dryer and a DTG machine printing digital inks located at the other, and jobs from both cured at the same time using specific speed and temperature settings for each.

Thomas Fröhlich, CEO of MHM, with the new Compact Fusion press with integrated dryer

Roland previewed its Texart S-Series XT-640S direct-to-garment printer

CTS advances

True to form, M&R was exhibiting a wide range of screen and digital printing equipment in Munich. The big news from the US manufacturer was the announcement of the new i-Image KX large format computer- to-screen (CTS) imaging and UV LED all-in-one exposure system. The KX wasn’t on show – it will be officially unveiled at Itma in Barcelona; however, Thomas Trimmingham, marketing communications manager, explained that the new model has been developed for the fast and efficient production of oversized screens and can handle a maximum frame size of 83cm x 121cm (33” x 48”).

Exile Technologies attracted a constant flow of visitors to its stand where the main event was the just-announced Spyder 3 DTS. An evolution of the Spyder II DTS, the new computer- to-screen imaging system with automated image placement and digital registration supports two print mode settings: a standard 900dpi for textile screen printing applications, and a high resolution 1,200dpi option for industrial screen printing applications. Both print modes support bi-directional printing, enabling the new system to “print a typical T-shirt screen image in well under a minute,” according to Mark Evans, managing director. He added that the Spyder 3 is 33% faster and offers twice the dot resolution of the Spyder II. “Even at 1,200dpi the Spyder 3 will boast an imaging speed of approx. 1.7 sq ft per minute onto any type of screen emulsion.”

Forever Transfers was showing its no-cut transfer media for sublimation printing onto cotton fabrics

Brightly coloured sportswear printed on the new HP Stitch dye sublimation textile printers

Ecotex synthetic leather printed on the Epson SureColor SC-S60600 printer

DTG choices

DTG printing technology has had a steadily growing presence over recent Fespa shows and the trend continued at this year’s event. Polyprint showed its new TexJet Echo2 printer, which was launched in January, for the first time at the show as well unveiling its latest model, the brand new TexJet Shortee2. George Benglopoulos, CEO, mentioned that the Shortee2, like the Echo2, comes with CADlink RIP software and is designed to be customised to fit print shops’ individual needs: users have a choice of ink systems, print head configurations, platen sizes and so on. The new printer also features motorised automatic height adjustment and a smallest drop size of 3pl to achieve detailed, photorealistic prints.

Polyprint was also showing a prototype of its new pre-treater to gain as much feedback from as many distributors and customers as possible before finalising the product’s design. Full details of the pre-treater and its official launch date are to be announced, however the aim is to bring the machine to market in Q4, 2019. Omniprint is “one of the fastest growing brands” in the US DTG market” and has now set its sights on European expansion. President and CEO Victor Pena explained that the company offers a solution for every print shop and is “geared to helping our customers to make more money”. Visitors to the Omniprint stand were able to view the company’s established FreeJet 330TX Plus printer featuring a print engine that moves over the product (rather than a moving platen design), which Victor says increases print quality. He cited the printer’s ability to print on dark polyester and cotton and poly/cotton blend fabrics as another key advantage along with the printer’s industrial bulk ink system.

On show in Europe for the first time was the Cheetah industrial DTG printer – a dual independent pallet design equipped with ‘True One- Pass’ technology which sees the Ricoh Gen 5 print heads printing the white underbase and CMYK colours simultaneously. Designed for 24/7 production, the machine can print at up to 1,800dpi onto a wide variety of fabrics, including 100% polyester. Omniprint supplies the Cheetah as a package that includes an Adelco tunnel dryer and a year’s subscription to its Wurks cloud-based production management software. The package is priced at US$260,000. According to Victor this allows customers to buy two Cheetahs for the price of one industrial machine from competing manufacturers, offering extra production capacity and hardware redundancy for busy DTG operations.

Roq was also showing its digital printing solution in the shape of the updated Roq Now printer with separate print stations for printing digital white and CMYK inks. Launched at the ISS Long Beach show in January, the Now model on show in Munich represents the finished design, which is geared firmly towards print shops involved in fulfilling web orders and is notable for its high level of automation. Nuno Venda, head of marketing, underlined the fact that while the Now can be configured with screen printing heads, the base model is designed specifically as a high- volume direct-to-garment digital printer.

Exile Technologies’ new Spyder 3 DTS computer-to- screen machine

The new Wrapper-M80 paper gluing aid for mugs, from Schulze

Kornit’s Avalanche PolyPro for DTG printing on polyester

Polyester breakthrough

The main attraction on the Kornit stand was the new Avalanche PolyPro industrial printer, which was on show at a European trade show for the first time since its launch in April. Billed as “the smartest, most cost-efficient single- step process for polyester printing”, the machine pairs Kornit’s new NeoPoly technology with its NeoPigment Olympia ink. It can print on both light and dark polyester fabrics, including woven, knitted, blends (poly-Lycra, polycotton), using CMYK + white + Poly Enhancer ink channels and is said to prevent dye migration. The new printer has a claimed maximum production output of 85 dark garments and 106 light garments an hour.

The polyester printing technology is the result of over ten years of R&D, according to Lea Duckwitz, regional marketing manager EMEA, who added that customer response to the new printer and its capabilities has been overwhelmingly positive at a time of increased demand for both sports and athleisure apparel. Aeoon was showing its industrial direct-to-garment digital printing solutions, with an emphasis on its new and enhanced automation features. To demonstrate the speed and efficiency of these new features, the company had set up a photo booth and invited visitors to have their photo taken and then watch as the image was automatically sent to an Aeoon Compact printer where it was output at high speed onto a souvenir T-shirt. Jonas Nussdorfer, software engineer, explained that the system removes the need for manual data input making it perfect for web- to-print operations, and it can also be used with barcodes if preferred.

Roland was showing its new TrueVis VG2 series printer/cutter, which was launched in March and offers new orange ink plus more than 40 enhancements to the first generation models; however, it was the prototype Texart S-Series XT-640S multi-station DTG printer that caught our eye (even though we didn’t get to see it actually printing). Based on the Texart 640 roll-to-roll machine, the XT-640S uses CMYK and white pigment inks in place of the XT-640’s usual sublimation inks, for direct printing on T-shirts, cotton bags etc. A flatbed replaces the 640’s usual rollers and supports either nine XL or 12 standard T-shirt platens (larger products, such as banners, can also be accommodated). Roland claims that the machine will output 12 standard size shirt prints in 15 minutes. A launch date for the XT-640S is yet to be announced, but is anticipated to be later this year, according to Lauren Swinnerton, marketing manager Roland DG (UK).

The standout exhibit on the Epson stand had to be a SureColor SC-S60600 printer set up with the specially developed DevStudio RIP for printing onto Ecotex synthetic leather products. The Ecotex material is said to be lighter weight and easier to process than traditional leather, opening the door to new opportunities in decorated clothing, footwear, leisure and interiors markets. The sample prints on show revealed detailed and vibrant designs on the textured fabric, with the crash helmet taking the prize.

The prototype of Polyprint’s new Pretreater, which is expected to launch in Q4

Adelco showed the Pro-Cure Twin Burner tunnel dryer

The new Roq Now digital print carousel

Sublimation printing

HP announced the Stitch S300 and S500 wide format dye sublimation textile printers in April and followed up with the launch of the new 3.2m HP Stitch S1000 printer at Fespa. According to Roman Barba, HP business development, the new flagship model is designed for high productivity and simplified operation. Roman added that the Stitch portfolio is targeted at four main market sectors: soft signage, sportswear, fashion and interiors. Initially, the company is expecting the biggest take-up to be within the soft-signage sector, however Roman predicts that the Stitch range will also have increasing appeal for sportswear printers. He expects that HP customer loyalty will see many existing customers investigating and entering the textiles market now that HP has products to offer. He cited the Stitch printers’ HP thermal inkjet technology, the ability to replace its ink cartridges by hand and the machines’ built-in spectrophotometer and HP SmartColor tools, which are said to enable superior colour consistency– even across remote sites around the world – as key selling points.

Forever Transfers was also showing new dye sublimation printing technology in the form of its no-cut transfer media for sublimation printing onto white, light and dark cottons. Vitali Fenzel, sales director, explained that sublimation printing is now no longer limited to polyester fabrics, with the Forever Subli products offering “brilliant colours and intense blacks” and having the advantage of “no cutting or weeding, no background and a soft touch”. The single-paper system produces prints that are washable at up to 40°C with good stretch characteristics. The range includes Subli-Light (No-Cut) and Subli-Light (No-Cut) Glitter for white and light coloured cotton; and Subli-Dark (No-Cut) Glitter, Subli-Flex (No-Cut) and Subli Finishing Foil for dark and light coloured cotton.

Italian heat transfer vinyl manufacturer B-Flex exhibited the latest colour additions to its Gimme5 Evo range of PU CAD-CAM films. Marco Pigato, managing director, pointed to the film’s “elegant matt finish” and high speed, low temperature, hot-peel performance (4 seconds at 140°C using 50psi). B-Flex is currently looking for UK distributors for the Gimme5 Evo product range.

Mug shots

Schulze was showing its Mug15- Turbo automated mug press, which has eight pre-heating stations and 15 heating stations, alongside its newly launched Wrapper-M80 paper gluing aid for mugs, which includes an adjustable paper guide and automatic tape dispenser to speed up attaching sublimation transfer media to cups and mugs prior to pressing. Secabo was also showing a mug press – the new TM5 – which can press five mugs at a time, plus a new mini heat press that’s designed for chest or neck prints and its latest trimmer model. The two new heat presses will be available from September 2019.

The Fespa Awards 2019

The winners and the runners-up in the two garment categories at the Fespa Awards 2019 once again demonstrated the vast creative potential of perfectly executed textile prints

Russian print shops were the big winners when this year’s Fespa Awards were revealed at the Fespa Gala Dinner on 15 May, with Russian decorators smashing it in both garment categories. Imaika won the Printed Garments category with its detailed Kratos and Boy print, while Teximport Group, also from Russia, won the Special Effects on T-Shirts, Garments and Other Textiles category with a three-dimensional Andy Warhol design. Entries for the Fespa 2020 Awards are open until 1 November 2019. The winners will be announced on 25 March at Fespa 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

Special Effects on T-shirts, Garments and Other Textiles

Winner: Teximport Group

Andy Warhol print

Eight-colour high-density plastisol screen print with 3D embossing featuring waterproof silicone and glue with metal foil applied on top. Printed using an M&R Challenger II OS press, Red Chilli D Quartz Flash and 13,000kg hydraulic (embossing) press

Silver: Ningbo Shenzhou Knitting

Hadrada The Viking

Bronze: Midi Print

Music And Life Are All About Style

Distinction: Synia

Bain De Soleil Electrique

Printed Garments

Winner: Imaika

Kratos and Boy print

Printed for “a leading geek T-shirt brand in Russia” using Magna Colours white discharge base through a 100 mesh screen and Virus WOW Clear transparent pigmentable base through 120 mesh screens, on a Roq P10 automatic press and M&R Economax 2 dryer

Silver: Screenprom

Drahma Dragon Ultra

Bronze: Imaika

Squanch Party

Distinction: Teximport Group

Red Machine