Revolutionising Textile Decoration & Finishing With Digital Inkjet Technology


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Xennia's Dr. Tim Phillips gave a talk at the Textile Coating & Laminating Conference in Cannes, France in Nov 2010, titled "Revolutionising textile decoration and finishing with digital inkjet technology". The talk discussed the great benefits of inkjet technology for textile decoration and finishing, with placement of precise quantities of fluid accurately on the substrate leading to increased productivity, reduced waste and environmental impact, combined with the possibility of adding advanced functionality.

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Revolutionising Textile Decoration & Finishing With Digital Inkjet Technology

  1. 1. REVOLUTIONISING TEXTILEDECORATION AND FINISHING WITH DIGITAL INKJET TECHNOLOGY Dr Tim Phillips Xennia Technology Ltd Presented at Textile Coating & Laminating Conference Cannes, France, November 2010
  2. 2. TALK OUTLINE 1. Introduction to Xennia 2. Market drivers for digital textile printing 3. Technology pre-qualifiers 4. Key application drivers 5. New solutions 6. Outlook
  4. 4. BACKGROUND Xennia is the world‟s leading industrial inkjet solutions provider 14 year history, over 300 customer development programmes World class reputation underpinned by a strong IP portfolio Unique expertise in inkjet chemistry with strong engineering capability Headquartered in UK, offices in US and China Offering reliable inkjet process solutions: Inkjet modules and inks for OEM partners with market access Printing systems and inks for end users
  5. 5. Xennia helps customers lower operating costs, increase productivity and simplify mass customised productionby revolutionising manufacturing processes
  6. 6. FROM INKJET IDEAS ...TO PRODUCTION REALITYink formulation & test evaluation tools system design production solutions
  8. 8. BENEFITS OF INKJET Reduced production costs Efficient use of consumables No requirement to produce new screens Minimal set-up costs – short runs are economical Cost per print same for 1, 10, 100, 1000, 10,000 No requirement for inventory Increased productivity No time for set-up – printer is always printing Faster response Print on demand Just-in-time customisation/personalisation Much quicker introduction of new designs Applicable to all types of fabric
  9. 9. TEXTILE APPLICATIONS Digital decoration of textiles: Garment personalisation Reel-to-reel textile production Flags, banners, awnings Soft furnishings Applying functional coatings Dirt repellent Water repellent Fire retardant UV blocking Conductive
  10. 10. GENERAL MARKET DRIVERS Key market driver Need for economic short print runs Faster and more frequent design changes Increased number of niche products Increased demand for personalisation to add value
  11. 11. TEXTILE MARKET Over 21Bn metres printed globally Market value $165Bn Overall growth 2% CAGR Technology (2007) 40% rotary screen printing 40% flatbed screen 19% other traditional 1% digital Regional mix 50% Asia,15% Europe, 11% North America Digital printing growing rapidly (20% CAGR) Source: Gherzi Research 2008
  13. 13. DIGITAL TEXTILES RTR digital textile market 2010 Hardware $137m (6% growth) Ink $454m (15% growth) Printed output value $1.3Bn (13% growth) DTG digital textile market 2010 Hardware $184m (23% growth „opportunity for ~10,000 high end units‟) Ink $145m (32% growth) Printed output $2.45Bn (35% growth) Systems from Mimaki (and Mimaki based), Roland, Mutoh (low end) Robustelli, Reggiani, Konica Minolta, Osiris (high end) Inks from Huntsman, Dupont, Dystar, BASF, Kiian, Sensient etc Source: IT Strategies Spring 2009
  14. 14. INKJET TEXTILE PRINTERS Reggiani DReAM Konica ZTTJeti Du Pont Artistry Mimaki Robustelli Monna Lisa
  15. 15. TEXTILE MARKET DRIVERS Drivers towards digital printing Reduced time to introduce new designs (few hours versus several days) Lower energy, water and materials consumption Reduced cost to introduce new designs (no requirement to make screens) Competitive for shorter runs Example: lower cost below1,200m for 8 colour screen versus typical digital Current typical digital cost €3-5/m2 Average run length decreasing Now below 2,000m, was 3,500m in 1994 (average run length still analogue territory) Promise of even lower digital costs, lower at all run lengths Huge potential for digital textile printing Source: Gherzi Research 2008
  16. 16. REDUCED RUN LENGTH Inkjet competitive for short runs Long run cost due to ink price Competitive at all run lengths when inks priced for mass production
  17. 17. INKJET VS. SCREEN Opportunity Currently
  20. 20. TEXTILE MARKET NEED Market requirement for RTR textiles Printing system High productivity (>300 m2/hr) High reliability (>98% up time) Cost effective (Cost (€)/productivity(m2/hr) <2000) High quality (600+dpi, greyscale, 6+ colours) Inks Excellent colour performance (competitive with analogue) Excellent fastness performance (competitive with analogue) Ink costs that give printed cost < analogue for required run length
  22. 22. PRE-QUALIFIERS Digital textile decoration & finishing solutions MUST have the following: User friendly and powerful software Excellent colour & image quality Good fastness of the printed image
  23. 23. INKJET PRINTING SOFTWARE System integration Interacting with users Managing system components Receiving external commands Image processing Geometrical transforms RIP Colour management Printhead-specific data Variable data printing Generating each image Tracking and verification
  24. 24. SOFTWARE COMPONENTS ICC Config file profile Image pipeline Image Colour Datapath Bitmap/pdf Screener Splitter Transforms Management electronics Variable Label data template generator Printer State Stage Stage Machine Driver electronics CSV data file Job manager Ink system peripherals Driver User interface Web server Plug-in IO Remote External Interface computer TCP/IP Plug-in API
  26. 26. INK/MEDIA INTERACTION •Stable solvated colorant •Wetting Feathering •Spread Dot gain Intercolor bleed •Capillary flow •Colorant-colorant interactions •Interactions with substrate •Solubility changes •Diffusion •Solvent loss Dot gain •Solvent absorption Optical density Drying
  27. 27. MOTION SYSTEM FACTORS Accuracy & repeatability of the motion system Will affect the registration between dots Will cause artefacts (stitching lines – banding) Wobbling/juddering of the motion system Will cause artefacts – banding, waves, density fluctuations Resolution of the encoder Will cause vertical banding if not accurate enough Motion errors usually systematic so very important to control
  28. 28. PRINTHEAD FACTORS Printhead resolution Native resolution Drop volume Greyscale capability – higher apparent resolution Jet straightness Nozzle design – architecture, production consistency Nozzle reliability Ink/printhead effect – transient or permanent Printhead alignment Printhead-printhead (X/Y/ ) Inter-colour With substrate (in 3D)
  29. 29. INTERLACING 16 passes 1 pass Defects caused by Jet misalignment 4 passes Jets missing Potential solution Interlacing in scan and nozzle direction
  30. 30. IMAGE DURABILITY Durability of the printed image is vital Durability must be sufficient for the application Effects on durability from Substrate Material Surface properties Surface treatments Dirt/grease/dust Ink Dyes Binders Monomers/oligomers Process Pre-treatment/post-treatment
  31. 31. PRINT DURABILITY:FASTNESS Fastness requirements Water/wash fastness Humidity fastness Rub fastness/crock fastness (dry/wet) Perspiration fastness Light fastness/UV fastness Ozone fastness/dark fastness Highlighter smear fastness Standard tests for all these
  33. 33. KEY APPLICATION DRIVERS Drivers Ink chemistry Reliability Productivity/Speed Cost (system and ink) Key developments UV/pigment inks Advanced dye-based inks Recirculating ink technology Greyscale printheads Inkjet modules New system configurations
  34. 34. RECIRCULATING PRINTHEADS High speed single pass/fixed array printing Greyscale variable drop size for fine lines/features Architecture allows ink to flow continuously past nozzles Used with recirculating ink systems Suited for difficult fluids High ink/printhead jet reliability
  35. 35. INTEGRATION– THE KEY CHALLENGEWetting, drying, curing Fluid control Ink chemistry Substrate Print heads Material handling Encoder accuracy Drive electronics, software
  36. 36. DESIGN REQUIREMENTSSPEED/PRODUCTIVITY Printhead/ink drop ejection frequency Print resolution Number of printheads/nozzles Motion system Post-treatment (drying/curing) system Maintenance requirements
  37. 37. DESIGN REQUIREMENTSRELIABILITY/PROCESS UPTIME Ink/printhead/nozzle Printhead assembly/wires/electronics Ink system/pipework Maintenance system Software UV systems Verification system? Motion system/substrate handling
  38. 38. DESIGN REQUIREMENTSCOST Capital cost Development cost/number of systems System supply cost Running cost Ink cost Ink usage efficiency Productivity/uptime Consumables Maintenance/spares Utilities
  39. 39. INKJET MODULES Mechanical Alignment Print XenJet Electronics Aquarius XenJet • Re-circulating Auriga fluid controller • Modular print XenJet engine Cygnus Print • Print Software Heads PRINTING SYSTEM XenJet Corvus UV cure • Integration support for OEM partners XenJet Lyra Motion • Automated System printhead maintenance
  40. 40. INK CHEMISTRY Development of new fluid technologies required Application fragmentation Requirement for specific inks to meet each application Key technology developments UV cure technology Pigment dispersion Advanced dyes New polymers designed & tailored for inkjet Binders for textiles substrates More reliable drop formation Ink cost competitive with analogue inks At equivalent usage
  41. 41. Section 5NEW SOLUTIONS
  42. 42. SYSTEM DESIGN DECISION Single pass fixed array wide area swath continuous web printing High productivity High complexity and cost High risk (missing nozzle shows up) Maintenance difficult without stopping Single pass No error tolerance Scanning XY systems Low productivity Low complexity and cost Multiple passes Low risk (nozzle redundancy) Maintenance easy Error tolerant
  43. 43. NEW CONCEPT Reciprocating diagonal continuous single pass printing 1.6-3.0m Two print bars printing complementary patterns WO 2009/056641
  44. 44. DIAGONAL PRINTING High productivity All nozzles are used efficiently Continuous substrate motion Quality Greyscale high resolution printing Disguise missing nozzles & head variability through software algorithms Redundancy in software, not spare nozzles No banding Maintenance without stopping line Same proven technology as XY systems High reliability printheads Flexibility to vary time spent on maintenance
  46. 46. FLEXIBLE SOLUTION Industrial inkjet is reliable & cost effective Production dispensing for finishing Production printing Options for Continuous printing up to 20 m/min High resolution (600+ dpi greyscale) Functional material dispensing Multi-colour decoration Print widths from 1.6 m to 3 m to 5 m Range of web based fabrics and inks
  47. 47. XENNIA TEXTILE INKS Reactive dye inks Suitable for cotton and cotton/polyester blends High optical density even in single pass applications High stability and fixation Acid dye For high quality silk printing Disperse dye For durable printing onto polyester Pigment inks UV cure inks Including white for printing onto dark coloured textiles Broad textile application - no post treatment required Heat set inks Advanced chemistry means competitive costs
  48. 48. PIGMENTED TEXTILE INKS Innovative pigmented inks for textile applications Patent protected - WO2009034394 Uses binder to physically bind pigment to fibres Use of traditional textile pigments and binders Enable high speed printing in single pass onto wide range of fabrics Universal textile applicability No affinity to substrate required Exceptional wash and dry/wet crock fastness Excellent light fastness Simple process No pre-treatment of cotton required No steam fixation - energy saving
  49. 49. Section 6OUTLOOK
  50. 50. INKJET TEXTILE FINISHING Inkjet printers for textile finishing processes Standalone Integrated in existing finishing lines Dust cleaning unit Textile Finisher UV IR Conventional Dryer Conventional Dryer Printing blanket
  51. 51. TEXTILE VALUE CHAIN Current textile production technology is labour intensive Process automation will reduce labour content in costs Variable costs currently high for inkjet Inkjet machines will consume tons of ink Economy of scale dictates lower ink prices No fundamental reason for prices being higher Low cost location becomes less important Logistics will be the key component to control
  52. 52. OUTLOOKfrom Inkjet will revolutionise an outdated industry to deliver production reliability & productivity at lower coststo
  54. 54. DIGITAL FINISHING Major benefits of “digital finishing” provided by inkjet Benefits Multi functionality Single sided application possible Two sides can have different functions Patterning Functionality applied efficiently to textile surface only Highly consistent coat weight Environmental and energy savings Not influenced by underlying substrate variations Not influenced by bath concentration and dosing variations
  55. 55. DIGITAL FUNCTIONALITY Functional Patches Functional coatings Devices Encapsulation Surface Modification Skin Smootheners
  56. 56. INKJET FINISHING Inkjet approach to digital finishing Modelling droplet interaction with textile and patterning processes Pragmatic experimentation with new functionalities Monitoring of textile and the jetting process Applications Slow release technology Digital dyeing Hydrophobic coatings UV Antimicrobial
  57. 57. SLOW RELEASE TECHNOLOGY Approach Novel scaffold structure holds molecules for release Release rate can be controlled by an external stimulus e.g. temperature Rechargeable by reapplying molecules to be released Application example Insect repellent Toxic materials, undesirable for skin contact Single sided coating, material held away from skin contact
  58. 58. DIGITAL DYEING Approach Methods developed to use “difficult” aggressive dyes (VAT dyes) Not usually used in “printing” but give higher end user performance Benefits Environmentally friendly, efficient use of natural resources Very high fixation, with low discharge of unfixed dye Low water and energy usage compared to traditional dye baths Consistency of product quality Consistent quantity of dye is laid down Does not rely on pick-up of dye from dye bath Different colour possible on each side of the textile
  59. 59. OTHER OPPORTUNITIES Hydrophobic Comfort of cotton material on skin side Water and dirt repellent function on outside UV/EB cured coatings More rapid, compact in-line processing More energy efficient than thermal curing Antimicrobial New functional materials possible to create effect Selective deposition, efficient usage Single sided, patterned to required areas
  60. 60. CONCLUSIONS Inkjet technology will transform the textile industry Higher productivity/lower cost Higher flexibility Allow economical shorter runs (Mass) Customisation Faster product design introductions Higher quality New functionality Environmental benefits Digital decoration and finishing enables process automation Extensive R&D effort is needed for adoption Will strengthen the competitive power of the Western textile industry