Ricoh has launched a new, affordable range of Direct-to-Garment (DTG) printers, following up on its entry level Ri 100 with higher-volume Ri 3000 and 6000 solutions.
The entry-level Ri 100 was announced earlier this year, but was made commercially available on Australian shores yesterday, along with the Ri 3000 and 6000.
Both the Ri 3000 and Ri 6000 can print on a materials from 100 per cent cotton and 100 per cent light polyester, to mixed cotton fabrics with up to 50/50 blends, while the Ri 100 can handle fabrics from 50 per cent cotton and higher.
All three options incorporate Ricoh’s piezo-electric printhead technology. Ricoh says the industrial-grade printheads have a robust stainless-steel architecture, delivering longevity.
The Ri 3000 and 6000 include an automatic ink circulation system for white channels, which Ricoh says improves ink flow and increases performance. Print workflows are managed with an 18cm, touch-enabled operation panel.
The company says up to 600 dpi-resolution prints can be created, making designs on both light and dark garments come to life with CMYK plus two white ink channels.
Simon Lane, country manager, Ricoh Australia, says, “The Ri 100 is an entry level printer, targeting smaller markets. It is designed to allow people to make a mark in four-colour garment printing, and print on pale substrates. It is priced at $10,000 making it an affordable start.
“The two larger machines are $30,000 and $40,000 and are aimed at high productivity t-shirt manufacturers, print shops, graphic shops.
“The higher end printers can handle cotton, nylon based mixed fabrics, so t-shirts, shirts, bags, caps, those sorts of applications.
“All three use the same inksets, while the exact volumes will depend on the amount of ink you are laying down, and the design, with the Ri 3000 and Ri 6000 able to handle significantly higher amounts than the Ri 100.
“As businesses of all sizes grapple with the impact of digital disruption, we continue to invest in the industrial print market and make it easier for our customers to grow, improve, modernise and advance their businesses.
“We have appointed a dedicated business development manager, Paul Thompson, who will develop that market, and engage with commercial printers interested to know their options. So he is the inhouse expert for us in DTG printing. If anyone has questions or seeking advice, Paul is the guy to talk to.”
Paul Thompson, business development manager, DTG and Visual Display Solutions, Ricoh Australia says, "For the 6000, it can produce 30 light coloured garments per hour, including pre treat and curing. Running dark colour garments, adding white inks, you can produce 15 coloured garments per hour.
"Local testing for the Ri 100 gives half a dozen t-shirts per hour, potentially higher in a commercially environment. The pre treat is within the system, and there is no need for a heatpress.
"The Ri 100 has a vivid mode output which can boost the quality to 1200 x 1200 dpi. That can produce a more saturated print.
"I recently spent time at Fespa, looking at how we wil go to market with industrial inkjet techology. That is part of the portfolio of technologies we are bringing to market. For our DTG department, looking at the general print service provider market, the Ri 100 is opening up some nice opportunities to add another string to the bow.
"Particularly because it is a simple process, with a low entry point, and it does not require heat presses like the larger devices. There are a lot of OHS considerations that are spared as well. A lot of the digital players and bureaus are seeing it as an opportunity to cross sell to existing customers, reduce outsourcing, and assist with promotions.
"PSPs are looking at remarketing themselves, and moving to a value-based process with their customers instead of competing on price. That is changing businesses, as they are looking at the total picture, and how their end customers produce all their communications.
"If you look at DTG, it allows our customers to have a conversation with their customers. I am a big believer in storytelling, if you can speak to your customers about a range of products you can grow them, and grow with them."
The three units use Ricoh’s AnaRip software, which processes images in seconds and reduces the time required to prepare print jobs by eliminating colour separation. AnaRip also allows a user to control the ink volume used during production, using multiple quality controls.
At the same time, Ricoh says its AnaRip TrueView can reduce production costs by minimising the risk of production failures, while TrueView automatically adjusts colours on the monitor based on material colour so an operator can be sure that what they see is what they will get.
While the Ri 3000 and Ri 6000 are aimed at commercial print shops and graphic shops, the Ri 100 is marketed towards schools, small businesses, sports clubs and charity or promotional organisations, allowing businesses to produce on-demand promotional and personalised items.
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