(Image courtesy of Texintel.)

(This week, WhatTheyThink is “reprinting” some key articles from 2023. This article originally appeared on June 1. Look for our regular publishing schedule to resume on Monday.)

Those looking for cutting-edge print product launches at FESPA in Munich last week were not disappointed. From DTG and DTF to screen printing, and from digital inks to consumables, the scope of innovation was evident to all attendees who showed great interest in the 70+ new product launches at FESPA.

With such a wide variety of offers on display, we highlight some of the notable unveilings that took place.

Digital Printing

Epson used the show to launch the new SureColor F2200 direct-to-garment printer, which it says is ideal for start-up companies or medium-volume businesses that need high levels of flexibility and accuracy, with fast turnaround times.

Designed to produce complex designs on a variety of garments, the SureColor F2200 uses Epson’s advanced PrecisionCore MicroTFP printhead technology to provide faster printing and data processing speeds, resulting in a productivity increase of up to 25% over its predecessor, while maintaining print quality.

Brother’s new Latex printer, the WF1, in addition to Brother’s new extended-color model GTX 600 Extra Colours, and its new direct-to-film (DTF), roll-to-roll device, were all officially launched at FESPA.

The 1.6m-wide resin printer—marketed as latex for ease of recognition—uses Brother’s inkjet technology and proprietary inks in a Roland DG frame, as a result of collaboration between the two manufacturers. 

Fujifilm showcased for the first time their Acuity Prime Hybrid printer. This ground-breaking new printer, modeled on the highly successful Acuity Prime, brings additional versatility due to its ability to handle both rigid and flexible media.

Canon launched two new models in the Arizona 1300 flatbed printer series, the GTF and XTF, featuring award-winning FLOW technology, an innovative zone-free vacuum system that makes media handling easy. Extending the comprehensive Arizona flatbed printer family, the Arizona 1300 series with FLOW technology serves the growing mid-volume segment, enabling large-format graphics printers and other print service providers to offer their customers an extensive range of applications for retail, signage, interior décor, packaging, and industrial markets.

Vanguard Europe unveiled its next-generation UV flatbed printer, the VK3220T-HS, at FESPA. The new Vanguard VK3220T-HS is designed and assembled at the European headquarters of Vanguard Europe at 5,000 sq. m. Kraftwerk, in Brixen, South Tyrol, Italy, next to the global HQ of Durst.

EFI continued on its innovative path to create more opportunities for customers to achieve profitable growth with the announcement of the company’s first UV LED inkjet inks for thermoformed 3D sign and display applications, along with another breakthrough in the analog-to-digital transformation—the EFI Nozomi 14000 SD single-pass printer for sign and display graphics that is more than twice as productive as the fastest multi-pass/shuttle-based printer.

Finally, Mimaki Europe, the gold sponsor of the FESPA 2023 Global Print Expo, displayed its flagship printers and cutters for the sign graphic, industrial, and textile markets, including the recently announced TxF150-75 Direct-to-Film (DTF) machine, the high-performing 330 Series, and the entry-level 100 Series. Mimaki’s first foray into DTF technology, the TxF150-75 made its international show debut at FESPA. Providing an easy and affordable process for decorating apparel, most commonly T-shirts, the TxF150-75 responds to the market need for a reliable, stable DTF technology.

Inks and Consumables

Sun Chemical announced the launch of Xennia Amethyst Evo RC high-quality ink. An evolution of the successful Xennia Amethyst series, it has been specially formulated to enhance production and enable customers to achieve their high-volume targets in the fashion and home textile industry without compromising quality. Sun Chemical also announced the launch of a new series of digital pigment inks for textiles, Xennia Sapphire. Initially available for higher viscosity printheads such as Ricoh Gen 5 and Fujifilm Dimatix Starfire, Xennia Sapphire inks provide a step-change in pigment printing with enhanced color and fastness performance, unrivalled print stability, and ease of use.

Kernow Coatings, a producer of printable synthetic substrates, introduced eight new sustainable materials for wide format printers as well as a selection of printable wallpapers from the interiors range. They are appropriate for a variety of uses, including interior decorating and signage.

Specialty paper manufacturer Felix Schoeller unveiled three new transfer films. Developed in conjunction with polymer film manufacturer Bleher Folientechnik, two of the films are designed for direct-to-fabric applications, and the other for screen printing with plastisol and water-based inks.

Berger Textiles introduced new apparel fabrics in Munich, extending its home and fashion portfolio. Designed for a wide range of customized printed garments and accessories, Single Jerseys are textiles available with or without pre-treatment for pigment printing and Oeko-Tex- and GOTS-certified. Also new at the show were two new soft signage materials. Moon is a grey-back polyester textile that Berger said delivers a combination of weight (330gsm) and softness, “together with a good level of opacity, while maintaining excellent image resolution quality.”

Magnetic Solutions launched Green Power, a new flexible magnetic material that it claims is a greener alternative that has been produced with Canon’s Colorado printer range in mind. Green Power was in development and testing for 18 months. The Sheffield, Yorkshire-based manufacturer and supplier said it hopes to meet customer demand for more environmentally focused products with the debut of these PVC-, phthalate-, and halogen-free materials.

Ancillary Equipment

Lüscher launched the Screen Cube, created after John Potter of 3JP Consulting and founder of printing equipment supplier MHM Direct GB, approached Swiss company Lüscher Technologies about developing a laser-to-screen system. Lüscher is known for developing the CTP systems that are used in the production of 85% of the world’s banknotes. Unlike most laser-to-screen units, which have a series of lasers on a bar that travels left and right on an x-axis, this machine uses lasers that are connected by fiber optics into a single lens making it extremely accurate. The lasers have a life span of 20,000 imaging hours.

Swiss manufacturer Zünd launched its first pallet-to-pallet digital cutting table series, the Q-line. The Q-line works pallet-to-pallet and has double the cutting speed of previous models. With an unprecedented level of automation for the brand, the Q-line has taken up prime position in Zünd’s portfolio. Powered by new linear drive technology, the new machine’s beams can accelerate at up to 2.1g, to reach a maximum speed of 2.8 m/s—effectively doubling both the speed and acceleration as compared to the manufacturer’s other models.

FESPA The Showcase for New Technology

With all these innovations, and many more, FESPA continued to enhance its reputation for bringing the latest technology to the global print community—a community that attended in the thousands to take in the vibrant dynamics and technical excellence of the world’s foremost manufacturers, and who were thrilled to see the huge volume of new products unveiled at the show.