A Closer Look at the Kyocera FOREARTH
New printer attempts to boost sustainable digital textile printing
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Kyocera Corporation recently held a press conference in Japan to unveil its vision for the future of textile printing—one of being in harmony with nature and reducing the environmental impact of textile printing. The new and innovative printing solution is aptly called FOREARTH.
The printer uses up to 18 Kyocera KJ4B recirculating printheads and its proprietary pigment ink, pre-treatment, and finishing agent—which are constantly discharged from the printheads. This eliminates the pre- and post-processes required when using conventional dyes, reducing water consumption by 99%. I’ve previously mentioned the developing trend of jetting other materials and interlacing them with color/white inks, and FOREARTH is the latest entry using this approach. This technique enables high-quality printing on a variety of textile materials, including cotton, polyester, and silk.
The printer also features a unique ink circulation system that reduces ink waste. The ink tanks on the FOREARTH hold up to 10 liters of ink, and the printer can print up to eight colors (CMYK + special colors) with a maximum print width of 1,800 mm (71"). FOREARTH can print up to 250 m2/hr at 600 dpi.
|Source: Kyocera Corporation.|
The Eco-Side of FOREARTH
One of the key features of the Kyocera FOREARTH textile printer is its eco-friendliness. FOREARTH’s patented pigment ink and printing equipment technology contributes to solving environmental problems associated with traditional textile printing and the enormous amount of wastewater that is produced during the process. The proprietary water-based inks, developed for FOREARTH by Kyocera, are free from hazardous chemicals and do not emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the printing process. According to Kyocera, water use with FOREARTH is 0.02L per 1 kilogram of fabric, which is considerably lower than the traditional dye-based textile printing process. The printer is also energy-efficient, with a low power consumption that reduces its carbon footprint.
|Source: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
(VTT Customer Report Vol. VTT-CR-04462-14).
Another advantage of the Kyocera FOREARTH textile printer is its flexibility for designers. The printer can handle a wide range of textile applications, from fashion and apparel to home textiles and interior design. Its advanced printing technology allows for high-resolution and vivid color printing on a wide range of fabrics—making it much easier to produce detailed and intricate designs on a variety of fabrics while still achieving color consistency.
Using different dyes for different fiber requirements has often been a challenge. FOREARTH improves the typical problems associated with textile pigment inks—such as muted colors, washfastness, and hard hand-feel—to enable highly detailed printing on diverse fabrics ranging from cotton to silk, linen, polyester, nylon, and blended fabrics with a single machine.
Typically, textile dyeing factories are situated in areas with abundant water resources due to the water-intensive printing process. However, FOREARTH's printing method requires only a minimal amount of water, enabling production to take place anywhere.
The streamlined two-step printing and drying system of FOREARTH drastically reduces the number of production steps from design to output. Consequently, the device facilitates efficient production layout and an optimized use of production floor space, enabling small-lot printing and reducing delivery times, logistic expenses, and surplus inventory. Additionally, compared to conventional textile printing, FOREARTH's compact printing system occupies less physical space.
|Comparison of the floorspace requirements of
FOREARTH vs. traditional dye printing
(Source: Kyocera Corporation).
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
Kyocera’s entry into the digital textile printing market reflects the growing demand for digital printing technology in the textile industry. Digital printing offers numerous advantages over traditional printing methods, including greater flexibility, faster turnaround times, as well as the ability to print complex designs and patterns. As a result, many textile manufacturers are investing in digital printing technology to stay competitive in an increasingly crowded market.
Pre-sale is scheduled for fall 2023, and Kyocera will show FOREARTH for the first time outside of Japan at ITMA 2023, the world's largest international textile and garment technology equipment exhibition. The show is open from June 8-14 at the FIERA MILANO RHO, Milan, Italy.
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