The ever-expanding wide format digital printing sector includes the newly launched HP Stitch S range of dye sub printers and the new Epson SureColor F6300 and Roland TrueVis VG2 series, along with favourites from leading brands
R A Smart: HP Stitch S Range
In April this year, the HP Stitch S range of dye sublimation printers was revealed. “This revolutionary technology has not only completely reinvented how dye sub is produced; they have also thrown a whole host of other new technology into the market to develop what many are calling the first generation of ‘smart printers’,” says exclusive UK and Ireland distributor R A Smart. The base model of the range, the S300, offers features such as a built-in spectrophotometer for colour accuracy and the ability to print both paper transfer and direct-to-textile. It is also, according to R A Smart, the “world’s first 100% front operating dye sub printer at 160cm wide (saving up to 50% on space)”.
One of the benefits of the HP Stitch range is the ‘up-time’ associated with features such as user-replaceable print heads that are said to be able to be changed in a matter of minutes and are then fully aligned automatically, with no operator input required. “Piezo print heads found on other brands of printers would normally require the end-user to wait for a specialist engineer to attend for a replacement head (which can take up to a couple of days), meaning valuable production time is lost,” says R A Smart.
It continues: “The HP Stitch solution is focused around productivity and preventative maintenance with customers able to log onto the printer via the PrintOS app to view the very latest status of their system.” If multiple systems are installed in the same premises or even premises in different countries (such as when sampling facilities are in one country and production facilities in another), they can produce identical results thanks to HP Stitch’s colour management systems as well as check the health of the printer, install new colour profiles and more, all from the app. “This minimal operator interference coupled with low running costs and an attractive purchase price means the HP Stitch Range should absolutely be on the horizon for anyone looking to get into the dye sublimation market or expand their current operation,” concludes R A Smart.
Roland DG: TrueVis VG2
Roland says that with the release of the TrueVis VG2 this year, it has addressed the needs of today’s print professionals. As with its predecessor, the VG series, the VG2 is available in 54” and 64” variations and features more than 40 enhancements. “The addition of an orange ink channel significantly boosts the colour gamut, making it an excellent choice for users for whom brand colour-matching is critical,” advises Roland DG. “The new TR2 ink itself boasts a six-hour outgassing time, making same-day graphics installation possible. This is one of the new developments that has earned certification from Avery and 3M for the combined VG2/TR2 solution.”
Roland’s RIP software, VersaWorks, has also been updated specifically to maximise the VG2’s functionality and now features a TrueVis-exclusive colour management pre-set: True Rich Color. “The holistic development of hardware, software and ink has created a reliable and flexible solution with a very attractive price point, making exceptional print affordable for all businesses,” says Roland DG. The VG2 has already received an ISA International Sign Expo 2019 Innovation Award and was named ‘Best Print & Cut Solution’ in the EDP (European Digital Press Association) Awards.
Epson: SureColor F6300
Itma saw the first showing of the new Epson SureColor F6300, which will be replacing the F6200 44” dye sub printer. The new model will have an optional take-up system for improved control and precision. Epson reports that installation will be quicker and easier with no special tools or knowledge needed, and users will have access to a wide range of EMX files, making it easier for them to access effective colour management.
“Improved access to print heads and easier maintenance now makes this a user-controlled process without the need for an engineer,” adds Epson. “This reduces downtime and, combined with more robust parts, enhances productivity. The SureColor F6300 will appeal to garment decorators and textile printers who need the quality and consistent colour that all Epson printers are renown for.” In addition to printing on polyester textiles, the SureColor F6300 can be used on both rigid and 3D objects with a suitable coating. It will be available from September 2019.