Brother’s triple Fespa launch kicks off industrial ambitions

Dominic Bernard
Thursday, May 25, 2023

Brother has come to Fespa 2023 with a trio of new machines, including its first entry into wide-format, the WF1-L640 latex printer.

Brother is showing all three printers at its stall in hall B1-D11
Brother is showing all three printers at its stall in hall B1-D11

The WF1, alongside Brother’s new extended-colour model GTX 600 Extra Colours, and its new direct-to-film, roll-to-roll were all launched officially at Fespa 2023 in Munich.

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, following collaboration between the two manufacturers. 

Initially the 15sqm/hr, 1,200dpi WF1 will use Roland DG’s VersaWorks RIP.

Using refill pouches instead of bottles, Brother has reduced the amount of plastic used in refills by 95%; each 700ml pouch is recommended to retail at €130 (£113). 

The machine’s launch was intended to spearhead Brother’s entry into wide-format industrial printing.

The Japanese manufacturer has published plans to increase its industrial division’s internal revenue share from 30% to 50% of the total business by 2030; Brother must thus double its industrial division revenue within eight years to achieve its target.

Heiner Rupperath, Brother’s director of its industrial printing business, said: “It was a matter of time for us to launch our first wide-format printer based on our own piezo print technology.

“Our industrial printhead technology is already well known and has been established in the DTG printing business for more than 15 years; you can be assured that we will do everything necessary to support the success of our customers like we do for the DTG business.”

Brother will follow up the WF1 with a portfolio of wide-format printers, Rupperath added.

He said: “Brother wants to transform itself into [a presence in] the industrial printing world. This will not be limited to what we have shown here. This is just a starting point: there will be more printers, more applications, and you can expect more from us in the near- and long-term future.”

The GTX 600 Extra Colours, with a 24’’ square, automatically adjusted platen, features CMYK plus orange and green inks and two extra printheads to the standard GTX 600 direct-to-garment press.

The press uses water-based inks, with refill tanks available in 9L containers.

The last of Brother’s launches, an upgraded GTX pro with true roll-to-roll printing, had been shown prior to its official EMEA launch at Fespa, selling out the manufacturer’s initial run of 30 machines in just two days in April. 

Orders made now will be delivered in August, the firm said, although lead times will shorten after Brother’s worldwide launch in January 2024.

The WF1 will list for €19,495 with Italian, German and French distributors; a UK distributor is to be determined by mid-June, Rupperath said. UK customers looking for more information should contact Brother directly. 

GTX Extra Colours will list at €64,995, and DTF Roll-to-roll at €32,985; all three machines are on show at Brother’s stand at hall B1-D11.

Brother acquired UK inkjet and coding specialist Domino eight years ago. 

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