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New Printhead Developments Showcased at IMI Conference

Plus, digital textile market shows growth.




At the recent IMI European Ink Jet Conference, which took place in Lisbon, Portugal, a host of companies made announcements and showcased products, including:

— HP: Showed a prototype of five HP SPT printheads on a single substrate, which would provide a print swath of 100mm at 1200 dpi in a single pass. The current SPT printhead is a 20mm head with 4424 nozzles; it's used in the OfficeJet Pro K550 and HP Photosmart series.

— KonicaMinolta IJ Technologies: Previewed its 108mm wide fixed-array of printheads, which provide 720 dpi in a single pass.

— Olympus: Indicated that its next product would be a reel-to-reel digital press capable of printing 24m/min at 300 dpi (grayscale). A working prototype is scheduled for completion in the next 6 mos.

— Xaar: Although not yet commercially available, Xaar's Hybrid Side Shooter (HSS) printhead platform features 1000 nozzles at 360 npi (nozzle per inch) and a print swath of 70mm. Geared toward single-pass printing, the HSS boasts easy fill, wide ink and fluid capability, and a self-aligning mechanism for stitching heads into wide arrays. Commercial production is expected to begin by the end of 2006.

Also at the conference, Stewart Partridge of Web Consulting indicated that the digital textile market is beginning to show growth. The drivers behind this growth, he says, include: a general upward curve in the textile-printing industry following a slump in the mid- to late '90s; and technology solutions such as inkjet printheads, inks, fabric treatments and materials are available for systems building. As a result, he says, the economics of inkjet printing now match screenprinting for runs up to 500 sq meters.





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