Hollywood Monster has taken delivery of one of the UK's first MTEX 5032 wide-format direct-to-textile printers and immediately used it to produce a huge theatre graphic.
The 3.2m-wide printer, launched at Fespa this year, has an in-built IR fixation unit and is made in Portugal by specialist textile printer manufacturer POD Iberia. It was installed at the Birmingham-based print business two weeks ago.
Hollywood Monster sales director Simon McKenzie said: "When customers ask for a particular kind of print, like dye-sub for example, we have to listen. Demand has increased in the past six months and the MTEX 5032 ticked all the boxes for us."
The kit is an addition to existing equipment such as two 5m-wide HP Expedio roll-to-roll machines, a Vutek GS3200, a Mimaki JV33 and an HP Latex machine. Wide-format work by the company, with around 50 staff, includes jobs for museums and vehicles.
McKenzie said the firm planned to start by "keeping it simple", using the MTEX to print onto backlit, display textile and black-out polyester-based textiles. It will be used for short bespoke work, exhibition and retail displays, mostly indoor but a few outdoor applications as well. Features include a printing speed up to 58sqm/hour and a 1,440dpi maximum resolution.
One of the first jobs, last week, was for the Birmingham REP Theatre for a production called Tartuffe. A 30m x 9m back-wall graphic had to be lightweight and free of creases. The job took round seven hours to print and five hours to sew together.
McKenzie said: "The only way we could do the job was on a 220g fabric and on dye sub so there would be no creasing or UV cracking in the material. Print quality was an important factor and the vibrant colors work really well with the rest of the set."
McKenzie added the wide-format direct-to-textile work perfectly complemented the company's existing wide-format business and he saw it growing as demand for flexible, lightweight and re-usable visual graphics became commonplace.
The MTEX 5032 has four Epson DX5 print heads, a two-litre ink bulk system and four individually controlled temperature sensors, in addition to the IR fixation unit.
DPI managing director Stewart Bell said: "No longer do you have to buy a printer and separate calendar - essentially halving production time compared with traditional digital methods. The inbuilt fixation unit saves time, money and wastage. The 5032 offers good quality for the price."
DPI has also supplied an MTEX 5032 to c3imaging in Liverpool and has an order for two at a large-format printer in the south Midlands. Prices range from £65,000 to £140,000 and models also include a superfast 1.8m version and an MTEX 500 adapted for polyamides and lycras.Tweet