Kyocera steps into fabric printing

The ForEarth will be available commercially from Autumn 2023
The ForEarth will be available commercially from Autumn 2023

Kyocera has unveiled its entry into the direct-to-fabric (DTF) printing market, the ForEarth inkjet textile printer.

Designed as an eco-friendly and compact digital alternative to traditional screen printing processes, the ForEarth digital press will show for the first time at Milan’s ITMA 2023 textile and garment technology expo in June.

Printing with a water-based pigment, rather than dye ink, the ForEarth will print on a range of both organic and artificial fabrics including cotton, silk, polyester and nylon in a single machine. 

With a maximum of eight colours and 18 printheads, the machine will print at 600x600dpi, and have a maximum speed of 250sqm/hr.

The press works by discharging pre-treatment liquid, Kyocera’s new pigment ink, and finishing agent in sequence from the same printhead, combining the pre- and post-processes required in conventional dye printing into a single step.

Kyocera claimed the new combined process has solved the usual pigment printing issues of colour development, fastness, and tough-handfeel, saying the printed products will be suitable for a wide range of applications, including women’s fashion, sportswear, and infants’ clothing.

The new process, Kyocera said, uses 0.02 litres of water per kilo of fabric, compared to screen printing’s 153 litres, making the print process drastically less polluting than traditional methods.

The machine’s compact design – and short, two-step print and cure process – will likewise require far less space and machinery than traditional processes, Kyocera said, making it suitable for printers looking to take up on-shore production for local businesses.

The ForEarth represents Kyocera’s second foray into the production print market, following its 2019 launch of the TaskAlfa Pro 15000c inkjet colour press.

The ForEarth will be available commercially directly from Kyocera from Autumn 2023.