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Under the Hood

Mimaki TS55 1800

Brian Sims dips into the world of the Mimaki TS55 1800, aimed at textile professionals looking to upscale their operation without the crippling price tag

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The Mimaki TS55 1800 has a maximum output level of 140sq m/h

Stand out in a crowd

Mimaki has released its newest of ink sublimation inkjet printer for textile printing. It is called the TS55 1800 and it is being marketed as being ground breaking by delivering high quality coupled with high, unattended printing at a maximum of 140sq m/h.

What makes this printer such a valued line up for Mimaki is the fact it has under gone a ground up design but still includes a number of features that other Mimaki printers have benefited from and propelled the manufacturer to be one of the market leaders in their field.

The TS55 1800 comes with a number of new concepts and features, but the key one being the Mini Jumbo Roll system that allows for long unattended print runs. This system can hold a roll of 2,500 metres which is over one and a half miles long, meaning cost per square metre and a 20 percent reduction in downtime due to media replacement.

You do not expect printers at this level to have industrial heavyweight designed equipment as it is not normally required, but when you have the weight of the Mini Jumbo roll at 100kg, it is needed. Mimaki has clearly spent time ensuring unwind and rewind systems needed for such an application do not fail to meet expectations.

To improve the drying capability of the TS55 1800 Mimaki has designed a new and extended heater which improves curing capacity, in turn reducing blocking. Blocking is caused when wet ink is deposited in the printer infeed systems causing both marking and media transfer issues.

The printer has at its’ heart a piezo-electric inkjet print head in a unique staggered set up. The TS55 1800 has a series set of heads with one being offset positionally from the other. The staggering of the heads allows for the inks to be applied more effectively in one pass, increasing productivity yet maintaining quality.

The TS55 1800 can produce at a number of speeds and resolutions. At the maximum output level of 140sq m/h and at a print quality of 480 x 600dpi. Four levels under this is the highest of quality at 600 x 1,200dpi and a production area of 31m3/hr. At the standard level of output the TS55 1800 is 140 percent faster than a conventional printer (TS300P-1800) with a resolution of 600 x 600dpi.

The TS55 1800 can produce at a number of speeds and resolutions. At the maximum output level of 140sq m/h and at a print quality of 480 x 600dpi

Ink deployment is enhanced by a key Mimaki gadget the Mimaki Advanced Pass System (MAPS). MAPS disperses the ink on the sheet in a very specific array to allow the even drying of the product. Obviously the even drying of the sheet means consistency across production and happy clients.

Further to MAPS, the TS55 1800 models come equipped with Mimaki’s variable dot technology (VAR). With this system the print heads are able to switch between three different sizes of ink droplet; small, medium and large. The benefit is to allow the TS55 1800 to produce high quality images with smooth graduations so that the impact of the image is maximised, but ink distribution and use as low as possible.

Investing in equipment like the TS55 can allow printers to diversify into other areas, such as textiles

Finally there is a Nozzle Check Unit (NCU) which checks and cleans each nozzle automatically but if the cleaning process has not been successful, the Nozzle Recovery System (NRS) monitors and swaps nozzles when any become clogged or blocked. Both NCU and NRS allow the Mimaki to keep production stable metre upon metre.

The Mimaki TS55 1800 inks can print on an equally impressive range of media and they come as standard in large two litre containers that can switch when ink levels change. Inks in this model format come in the standard dual CMYK along with light cyan and light magenta.

The Mimaki TS55 1800 inks can print on an equally impressive range of media and they come as standard in large two litre containers that can switch when ink levels change

However, when switched into the Mini Jumbo Roll, the ink supplied is obviously upgraded in volume to ten litres per colour, but the colour choice is whittled down to dual CMYK. As a further option, the TS55 1800 can use fluorescent yellow and pink to make the boldest of printed media.

As for the inks themselves, there is a further new development as Mimaki has introduced a new sublimation ink called the Sb610 ink set. The new ink set is an OEKO-TEX certified ink which means it is suitable and safe for direct skin contact products.

OEKO-TEX is a test and certification system that is used to ensure products which are used when direct skin contact is needed, are safe and will not result in a negative reaction. There are a number of sites worldwide including Japan and Europe with a number of offices throughout the other continents.

OEKO-TEX ink is certified for use in situations where there is contact with skin

In 18 independent and accredited facilities inks are rigorously tested and checked to ensure any ink that selected and passes the testing can be relied on to be safe. Adding this standard to a product can give the end user confidence. 

But, ink alone cannot give the solution. Again the TS55 1800 has more options to ensure the right image is delivered.

The new TxLink4 system is a RIP software package producing images and switching colours easily to ensure replacements can be dropped into the same image. Their colour replacement system can change the output from the device to match corporate colours adding further versatility. Add to this the scope of resolution from 48,600 and 1,200dpi this whole package makes for an impressive bundle of technology. Rendering upgraded from 8bit to 16bit enables a fine gradation within the image.

As with all printers today, the TS55 1800 can plug into most software architecture and work flow systems which make it a very versatile and user friendly printer that selfishly manages to make some of the most difficult fabric printing production extremely achievable.

Brian Sims, principal consultant, Metis Print Consultancy, www.metis-uk.eu

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