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Printing Leather Using A Mimaki

The challenge of producing a high quality print to leather became something of a ‘pet project’ for Magnus Mighall – partner at long standing Mimaki reseller, R A Smart.

With other print companies digitally printing leather using the dye sublimation or solvent route with some degree of success, he felt sure there was a better way to marry up the advantages of a digital print with the potential for a premium end product manufactured from leather.

With an impressive heritage in high end textile printer and having trialled existing digital techniques, he very much stumbled upon a process using Mimaki acid inks – an aqueous formulation – printing direct to either vegetable, or the more supple chromium tanned leather. R A Smart is not only a digital printer reseller – they have a notable printing setup themselves, including in their roster a substantial digital capability alongside an established flatbed silk screen setup – plus weaving and screen making functions too.

One of Mighall’s first attempts was to try screen printing the leather with their acid inks – more typically used for achieving high end results onto silk, nylon and wool, but the various other elements of the ink chemistry were ‘getting in the way’ of the dye’s ability to key to the hide.

The beauty of digitally jetting acid (and other textile) inks, is that the binder and other aspects of the chemistry are present in the pre-coating of the fabric, so what is actually jetted is almost pure dye. Finding spectacular success using this route was something of an eureka moment for the company, with not only deep, rich and vibrant colours achievable but also excellent rub fastness and print consistency.

Whilst R A Smart has had great success using a combination of the Mimaki TX2 and Mimaki’s acid inkset, Mighall is quick to stress the importance of testing everything beforehand. “You’re dealing with a very variable substrate,” he says, “and whilst that’s the beauty of the leather itself, the end application needs to be considered in the testing to ensure that rub fastness and colour consistency is as expected.”

The company is able to produce high end gifts, belts, wallets, folios and phone covers, and it’s this sort of application that Mighall feels is best suited to the process. “Small accessories are the perfect product to create digitally,” he notes. “A premium product can be created but it’s quite a labour intensive process, so the payback needs to represent this.”

R A Smart has their hides cut square, and in cases such as their Masonic lambs leather, dyed white to deliver the best colour yield. The hide is then affixed to a board to ensure consistent carriage through the printer, and Mighall’s preferred machine is the 1.6m wide Mimaki TX2. “The adjustable head height on the TX2 allows us to run the combination of board and 3mm thick leather through the machine, and the flexibility of the printer is a bonus too.”
“In addition to leather printing, it’s possible to use the acid inks for their more typical application of silk printing. Of course the TX2 can have two different ink types installed as well, so if users want the ultimate flexibility, there’s nothing to stop them running a dye sub inkset in one bank of heads and opening up all the opportunities of printing to polyester or transfer paper as well.”

This kind of intensive R & D is nothing new to the company. As one of the first digital textile printing companies in the UK, it’s often that they find themselves breaking new ground and pursuing interesting (and hopefully profitable) new revenue streams but it’s all in a days work for Mighall. “The benefits of trying new projects are in finding success such as the leather application. It brings new companies to the printing arena, gives us another string to our bow and delivers yet another series of products that can be produced with the digital model,” he concludes.

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Badgemaster helps brands make the right first impression

Managing Director, Ian Bradbeer explains how Badgemaster has become a market leader, with an enviable client list of blue-chip brands operating in the service, retail, hospitality and healthcare industries, thanks in part to the Mimaki UJF MkII.

Badgemaster offers a unique service to companies thanks to its vision and commitment to quality and innovation. Formed in 1992, Badgemaster now employs over 100 people and turns over R92 million, manufacturing the name badges that are sported by millions of staff at tens of thousands of companies around the world.

With customers in practically every business sector, Badgemaster is widely regarded as the market leader, with an enviable client list of blue-chip brands operating in the service, retail, hospitality and healthcare industries. A full gamut of production processes spans its premises; with screen printing, hot foiling, laser engraving, routing, resin doming and digital printing forming an unparalleled array of capabilities as the company enjoys a sustained period of growth.

Traditional screen printing and laser engraving continue to be key strategic disciplines. In recent years, Badgemaster has transitioned to take advantage of the latest digital technology and a suite of Mimaki printers sits at the heart of its production. “One of Badgemaster’s great strengths is our ability to combine printing and manufacturing techniques to provide the best product for the customer’s needs,” says the company’s Managing Director, Ian Bradbeer. “The ongoing investment in technology puts us at the forefront of the industry and the quality of our badges speaks for itself.”

“Our continued investment in Mimaki flatbed LED UV printers has brought new techniques and capacity to the business,” he continues. “We typically offer a 3-5 day turnaround time for existing clients and this ensures we deliver.”

 

A significant recent project involved supplying John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners with around 85,000 badges that were incorporated into their widely publicised rebrand. “The importance of the new identity was significant and Badgemaster was involved at every stage; from design consultation through to rollout, in order to ensure the client got what they required,” recalls Bradbeer. “With the reinvention of the two brands, it was crucial to ensure that the public perception was correct from the outset.”

Senior Sales Account Manager, Claire Geere takes up the story; “We met with the client on a number of occasions, providing concepts for their marketing team, sampling materials, print techniques and colour options.” Badgemaster’s in-house design studio is the starting point for most projects, with the team of four designers using their experience and understanding of the variety of manufacturing techniques to ensure clients’ work is created appropriately. “We were able to rapidly prototype a range of concepts for John Lewis and Waitrose using the Mimaki flatbed printers, assisting the design signoff and approval process,” she concludes.

The addition of two new Mimaki UJF MkII printers that coincided with the John Lewis and Waitrose job gave much needed capacity to the business. “We were astute enough at the time to make the investment,” says Scott Warren, Badgemaster’s Manufacturing Manager. “The new Mimaki printers almost trebled the throughput we could achieve, with their latest generation print heads, larger bed size and ‘logical seek’ function that reduces the time the head carriage takes to move between print areas.”

Headline jobs such as the one for John Lewis / Waitrose are not the only throughput at Badgemaster; the company’s recently introduced online ‘Badge Designer’ tool caters for customers who require much smaller runs, even catering for one-off designs. “Customers can upload artwork and design their own badge in a matter of minutes,” describes Bradbeer. “This then sends production-ready files to the studio prior to printing – it’s added a new dimension to the business and fits perfectly with our digital workflow.”

Bradbeer is keen to stress that in spite of the growth in web-to-print work, Badgemaster is far from being purely an online business. “We’ve introduced this facility to continue our support for customers who require very short runs, but at any stage, we’re just a phone call away if they need assistance setting up artwork or determining the most appropriate material or effect.”

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“Mimaki is the Best Since I’ve Been in the Industry”

PowerHouse Media and Projects, a locally based company in Sebokeng, Gauteng recently acquired their second Mimaki CJV150-160 from Graphix Supply World’s Johannesburg branch.

PowerHouse Media pride themselves in offering great services to their clients around South Africa. They assist with more than just corporate branding and web graphics but also provide their clients with unique, full service graphic design and printing with state-of-the-art printing processes guaranteeing spectacular outcomes every time. Their portfolio consists of Signage and Branding, Road Signs and Safety Audit, Steel Container Fabrication and Web Development.

Images of some of the prints he’s done on the Mimaki CJV150-160

We had the pleasure of speaking with owner and founder, Zakes Moeletisi who shared with us the reason he got into the print industry, “when I was at school, I loved art…one of my first jobs I was in security, while working there I had an idea to start a printing company but I had no experience or funds. Later I got the opportunity to work for Visual Direct as a production manager who gave me the skill set I needed to start and run a business”. By 2013 he started PowerHouse media and admits it was a long and difficult journey “I only had a laptop to start off with, working from my kitchen”. Six years later he now has eight staff members.

 

We asked Mr. Moeletisi why he specifically bought the Mimaki and not any other brand, he claims “Mimaki is the best, since I’ve been in the industry. Ten years ago I went to an expo and met with the sales team from GSW and the sales rep was wonderful, patient and understanding. I didn’t have any money at that stage but when we were ready, we went back to Graphix Supply World and bought our first Mimaki CJV150-160 in 2016. But prior to buying, we would outsource a lot of our work to print shops that only used Mimaki so we were aware of the brand Mimaki.”  Overall Zakes says “the GSW team are really great and helpful, especially the tech guys.”

Mr Moeletisi states they are in the process of starting a magazine to promote township businesses and other suppliers like GSW so if you are looking at promoting your business contact Zakes!

For more information on PowerHouse Media and Projects, check out their website: www.powerhousemedia.co.za

 

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GSW Offer Unparalleled Technical & After Sales Support

Graphix Supply World are a well-established, reliable and sought-after supplier of all major digital led printing solutions in Africa and have been named the #1 Digital Leader in Africa. They take pride in taking the time to understand the process and the clients’ requirements before offering a solution. This methodology and experience ensures every solution is fit for a purpose.

Their core focus is not only printing equipment or the materials that are required to go with your printer, but also have an impressive reputation in their technical capabilities, support and after sales support.

The company is organised into divisions enabling teams to provide specialised services and deliver excellence across a number of sectors, from supplying: Digital Printers, Digital Finishing Equipment, Engraving Equipment, Laminating Equipment, Labelling Equipment, Print-and-Cut Equipment, Cutting Equipment, Media and Inks, Technical Support, In-House Rental and Finance Solutions and many more.

GSW brings an unprecedented level of expertise to every customer, providing affordable solutions in every way.
Refer to GSWs happy customer articles to see why they are the African leaders in the best digital equipment and technical support!

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GSW Appoints New Dealers in Mauritius

Graphix Supply World announced last week the appointment of their new partnerships in Mauritius. This is good news for all the local customers in the entire Indian Ocean Islands to have access to all the new Mimaki Technologies along with excellent support.

DSI Ltd. Hosted an open day at Trianon Convention Centre earlier this month where they showcased a live demonstration of the Mimaki UCJV300-160, offering Mauritians a 20% discount launch special. DSI Ltd. sold in excess of ten machines.

Rob Franco, MD of Graphix Supply World states: “This is testimony of the brilliant need for an affordable solution in a growing market.”

Important to know, all Mimaki Africa business is now run strictly through GSW export:
All Indian Ocean customers can contact us via email: nlong@gsw.co.za, who will eagerly advise clients of which dealer will be suitable to their specific needs.

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DTM Introduce the Pro1050 Five Colour Label Printer

On demand in-house printing with impacts with a new colour dimension
The OKI Pro1050 laser label printer offers a new flexibility for medium to large run colour label printing. With the unique fifth colour option “white”, the Pro1050 takes creativity to a new level: transparent or coloured label materials are no longer a problem!

Based on digital five-LED full-colour electrographic printing technology, the Pro1050 prints complete rolls of labels, which can be either rewound or automatically cut into single sheets. Together with DTM Genuine Label Materials, the labels become highly water and UV resistant as well as showing excellent photo-realistic quality.

five-colour label printer
labels printed with white and colour on DTM Paper Matte Black

The Pro1050 is easy to set up within minutes and requires minimal training to use the flexible configuration. To simplify the installation workaround DTM Print offers a complete solution with an All-in-One-PC, approved for 24/7 nonstop operation.

With Pro1050 you’re reaching a new era in flexible label printing.

Print just one or thousands of labels at a time, on demand, with identical or unique data on every label. Open up new markets and let your business grow by winning new customers with labels that will stand out from the crowd.

Outstanding Features
Labels with Impact. With the fifth colour white the Pro1050 allows much greater flexibility in designing your labels. Print white only or white with colours on transparent or coloured label stock. Indispensable for exceptional designs! DTM Print offers a variety of dry toner label stock starting with matte and glossy papers extending to transparent, matte and glossy polyester films as well as special coatings such as textured or silver, gold, black and other coloured materials. There are literally no limits, your custom made label stock is waiting for you. Your projects are unique and so are the labels !

Ready, Set, Print ! Reliable working operation shouldn’t be the exception. DTM Print includes a pre-installed All-In-One-PC upon request with each OKI Pro1050, giving you more time for your customers and production.

Set Up Jobs In Minutes. Choose NiceLabel Free 2019 DTM Edition for simple creations of label designs or upgrade for data import and variable data printing. The printer can also be used with other popular label design software such as BarTender and graphic software such as Adobe Illustrator and others. Printing PDF’s? For ease of use you can print straight from Acrobat Reader.

What is LED technology? The printing process is similar to laser printers, fusing dry toner to the label material through a heat unit (fuser). OKI’s digital LED technology delivers high resolution with more accurate, striking printed labels. The digital LED technology requires less space so the printer is compact, environmentally friendly and energy efficient, using significantly less raw materials in the manufacturing process and consuming less energy. LED print heads have no moving parts, making them robust and ultra-reliable.

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Neenah Coldenhove Launch New Digital Transfer Paper for Natural Fibres

Neenah Coldenhove was pleased to announce the unveiling of their highly anticipated Texcol® digital pigment transfer paper at this year’s edition of ITMA in Barcelona, Spain, held last month. The newly developed Neenah Coldenhove digital transfer paper allows users to print on a wide range of natural fibre textiles, like cotton, using a waterless process. Texcol® digital transfer paper eliminates complex pre- or post-treatments of textiles, and reduces the user’s cost and carbon footprint.

A revolution for the home textiles industry 
Texcol® guarantees a wider colour gamut with deeper, more brilliant colours in comparison to digital direct pigment printing. The light fastness of the product is outstanding, and the paper’s special coating makes it highly resistant to crocking. It’s this coating that also allows users to generate ink savings of up to 25% on their current jobs!

Easy transition
Excellent for use on textiles, Texcol® is designed to run on most plotter printers and allows for easy transfer when using the currently available technologies. Users can transition to this new way of printing without having to make large investments. And for those who want to try out the product before they invest in it, they can become a Neenah Coldenhove test customer. Contact us at +31 6 21809223 or marketing@neenah.com for more information.

About Neenah Coldenhove
Founded in 1661, Neenah Coldenhove is a state-of-the-art paper mill that is known for its innovative paper solutions. A company that serves customers all over the world. The product portfolio ranges from traditional paper grades of high quality to patented high-tech digital sublimation transfer paper. Thanks to their continuous focus on the development of new paper applications, Neenah Coldenhove remains a leading company in the digital transfer paper industry.

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Efi Applications that WOW! Textured Print on Wall Covering

EFI’s multi-layer and white ink technology enables users to create tactile textures with any design or pattern on wall Covering. The example pictured above, printed on DreamScape’s Gold Flash, is a two-layer print with white ink.

The black shapes print on the bottom layer, creating the base for the texture. CMYK and spot white
Texture can be added under the white shapes as well by creating a file with the white elements only and colouring them black. This file prints on the bottom layer. CMYK and white will print on the top layer, completing the print.

To increase the height of the texture in either example, print two or more layers of the black texture file.

Visit our Applications that WOW! resources page to watch a video on how to create a textured image using EFI’s multi-layer and white ink technology. Once you’re there, you’ll find plenty more advanced application training videos, applications technique data sheets and our Ultimate Guide to White, Clear and Multi-layer Applications.print on the top layer, adding a second layer of black ink to the shapes. The result is a raised appearance. The light, neutral grey tone in the artwork creates a matte finish on the glossy gold surface.

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Mimaki Showcases Business Driving 3D Printing

The Mimaki 3DUJ-553 3D printer allows agencies, designers and product developers to create photorealistic prototypes and models due to its fine detail and extensive colour capability. Printing in true full colour, Mimaki uses the colour expertise it has honed through its extensive heritage in 2D printing to produce consistent and repeatable results, so users can be confident what they design on screen is what will be produced in real-life. Mimaki has also developed a clear resin so that full transparency and semi-transparent colour can be realised. The 3DUJ-553 3D printer delivers super fine detail and smooth surfaces, with options to print in 19, 32 or 42µm layers. Details are preserved during post-processing due to a water-soluble support material that simply dissolves in water.

Visitors to the show can also see Mimaki’s recently launched 3DFF-222 3D printer, which uses Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). The FFF solution was developed as an in-house design and production tool delivering reliable, almost silent creation of prototypes and end-use parts such as jigs and three-dimensional signage. Co-branded with Sindoh, a South Korean 3D printer and multi-function printer manufacturer, the 3DFF-222 uses easy-to-load filament cartridges to print parts up to 210mm x 200mm x 195mm (W x D x H) in PLA material. Users can also benefit from the ability to remotely monitor each print job through a Mimaki app. The 3DFF-222 recently joined the 3DUJ-553 in Mimaki’s portfolio of 3D printers, with both systems offering enduring reliability and global technical support and customer service.

“We have a fantastic range of models to show at Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D that will stop visitors in their tracks,” comments Mr. Hisashi Takeuchi, CEO of Mimaki Deutschland GmbH. “Together with DP Solutions, we will show visitors the varied solutions we have to offer in the additive manufacturing market. When it comes to creating colourful, photo-realistic samples, you can’t beat the 3DUJ-553. And for hard, robust models that don’t warp easily, we have the 3DFF-222 3D printer. As is true of all Mimaki machines, both printers are extremely reliable.”

Key features of the 3DUJ-553 3D printer:

  • Printing in more than 10 million colours to reach high levels of photorealism and detail
  • ICC colour profiling – ensures high quality, consistent results
  • Water-soluble support material – preserves the super-fine detailed parts and smooth surfaces during post-processing
  • Printing in UV-cured photopolymer resins – 3D models have strength comparable to ABS plastic
  • Possibility to mix clear with colours to achieve varying levels of transparency
  • Mimaki 3D Link software – enables colours to be changed on-the-fly

Key features of the 3DFF-222 3D printer:

  • PLA (Poly-Lactic Acid) filament – a hard, robust material that is a plant-derived eco-plastic made from corn and potato starch
  • Automatic Filament Supply – filament installation is simplified, by inserting the reeled filament into the dedicated cartridge and setting it to the main unit, the filament is supplied to the nozzle automatically
  • Auto Filament Cutting – is also possible after the print job is completed
  • A flexible metal bed, with built-in thermostatic function, enables both stable formation and easy removal of the model once it is ready
  • Bed Levelling Assist – automatic measuring of horizontal error of the table and correction also supports stable formation
  • HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter – prevents the discharge of foul air
  • Motor drivers were designed specially to reduce noise levels during operation
  • A camera and LED light are provided for remote monitoring with a smartphone or tablet

“We’re excited to show visitors our growing portfolio of 3D printing solutions. From print jigs and moulds, to toys and prototypes, Mimaki has it covered and a visit to the stand at Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D is not to be missed,” concludes Takeuchi.

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Mimaki Puts Pedal to the Metal for IoT

Process automation and Internet of Things (IoT) a highlight of Mimaki’s Imagine the Future of Print booth at FESPA Global Print Expo 2019.

  • Keeping at the forefront of industry innovation, the company showcases a state-of-the-art production line emphasising the strengths of automation in UV LED inkjet printing processes.
  • In line with its theme at FESPA 2019 – “Imagine the Future of Print” – Mimaki demonstrated a truly integrated and automated print production line to inspire visitors and show how they can take their businesses to the next level.

Process automation and Internet of Things (IoT) are widely recognised as new powerful tools that manufacturers could be leveraging to boost efficiency in production and increase revenue. Mimaki keeps at the forefront of industry innovation, demonstrating how integration and automation in printing production processes can enable print service providers to take their businesses to the next level. Utilising Mimaki’s R&D leadership in advanced workflow automation, together with collaborations with automation experts outside of the industry, the company has been able to create a truly integrated and automated UV LED print production line. This was one of the highlights of the Mimaki booth at FESPA Global Print Expo 2019 (Munich, Germany – 14-17 May 2019), encapsulating the company’s theme “Imagine the Future of Print”.

“A pioneer in digital printing, Mimaki has already embraced the countless possibilities of IoT and is now taking full advantage of it,” comments Uwe Niklas, General Sales Manager, Mimaki Deutschland GmbH. “This IoT-based R&D strategy has led the company to develop advanced printing systems able to communicate with robots, as well as with a wide range of hardware including belt conveyors, inspection devices and cutting machines. The objective is to make it possible for print service providers to incorporate inkjet printers in fully-connected industry 4.0 production lines, ultimately enabling unattended on-demand production and mass customisation. This is how Mimaki sees the future of digital printing.”

With the aim of helping customers to take on board a new vision for future growth, Mimaki provided live demonstrations of integrated processes at FESPA Global Print Expo 2019 and will continue to do so at successive trade shows addressing other manufacturing industries.

A glimpse into the future of inkjet print production
Encompassed in the Industrial Product area on Mimaki’s booth at FESPA 2019, a state-of-the-art production line demonstrated the power of IoT automation within a UV LED inkjet printing process. Developed by Mimaki with the collaboration of German company Robominds, the ground-breaking production line featured a Mimaki UJF-7151plus compact direct inkjet printer combined with a robotic arm by Danish firm Universal Robots (distributed in Germany by Robominds). Uniquely, the robotic arm loads and unloads substrates from the printer, without any human intervention.

The communication and information exchange between the UJF-7151plus and the robotic arm is enabled by a Mimaki IoT-based interface, called Job Controller IP, which is also available with Mimaki’s current JFX series. “Utilising our long history of developing state-of-the-art workflow management software, we were able to design our own advanced yet user-friendly solution. As an IoT interface, Job Controller IP is extremely easy to install and use – boosting production efficiency and flexibility levels within the print production workflow. The incredible in-house technical capabilities at Mimaki enabled us to successfully integrate robotics within the print production workflow, and achieve unmanned operation,” says Niklas.

The choice of robotic arm from Robominds has also contributed to Mimaki’s ability to deliver top-level performance at the show: a six-axis robot, it featured a modular design which makes it suitable for all kinds of printed products. In addition, the robot is compact, so it does not require any extra space, and is safe, as it stops as soon as someone touches it. Featuring four degrees of movement, the Robominds robot is also equipped with suction cups that enable it to handle different substrates.

For all print service providers, no matter their size, the market they serve or the inkjet solution they use, the benefits of integrating IoT automation into their production lines is significant. These benefits range from increased productivity and print capacity, to flexibility in materials handling and reduced machine make-ready times. For visitors to the show, Mimaki demonstrated how they can enhance their business performance by getting their printing platforms and related hardware ‘intelligently’ connected – to ultimately increase their profitability.

“Providing a new level of production efficiency, the proof of concept robotic demonstration was aimed at offering visitors to our booth at FESPA 2019, a glimpse into the future of inkjet print production for wide format applications and beyond,” concludes Niklas.