Star Product... EFI Reggiani Terra Silver

Simon Eccles
Wednesday, June 29, 2022

EFI Reggiani has launched an improved version of its original Terra Silver which offers a range of new features and is aimed at companies that do not want the complexity of reactive dye printing

EFI Reggiani’s new direct-to-fabric textile printer for garments and soft furnishings
EFI Reggiani’s new direct-to-fabric textile printer for garments and soft furnishings

What does the printer do?
Terra Silver is a 1.8m-wide eight-colour roll-to-roll inkjet direct-to-fabric textile printer. It uses Reggiani’s Terra heat-fixed pigment inks that do not require elaborate washing and steaming pre- and post-treatment or post-print transfer. An inline heater called a polymerisation unit is used to fix the inks to the fibres.

These inks are suited to natural, synthetic or blended fibres, even leather and cork, and Reggiani says they give good outdoor light resistance for soft signage as well as washability, abrasion resistance and good hand feel for garments and soft furnishings.

When was it introduced and what is the target market?
The Terra Silver machine was announced in October 2021 as an improvement on the
original model launched in 2019. It’s the entry-level in Reggiani’s established line of Terra
pigment ink printers, although the £230,000 price and performance means that users are likely to be producing a lot of textile work ¬ you can get a 1.8m Mimaki pigment printer for under £30,000, for example, but this will run at a third of the Terra’s speed.

Micol Gamba, product and marketing manager for EFI Reggiani in Italy, says that Terra Silver is aimed at companies that don’t want the complexity of reactive dye printing. These users may have experience with dye-sublimation printing (also called dye disperse), which is confined to polyester and polyester blends. Gamba says that Terra inks give longer-lasting indoor and outdoor results than dye-sublimation, as well as the wider choice of materials.

Typical applications include short runs for fashion garments and bags, home furnishings, baby apparel (the inks are fine for the favoured light and pastel shades), outdoor garden
cushions and covers, as well as soft signage.

How does it work?
This is an eight-head piezo inkjet with roll-to-roll feed, transport and take-up designed to handle textiles without stretching or creasing. The ink colours are CMYK plus red, green, blue and orange.
Reggiani introduced ink recirculation in 2018 to keep the pigments evenly mixed and prevent head clogging. Terra Silver is its first “entry level” printer to have it. Temperature control also helps the ink conditioning.

The Terra ink is a water-based pigment with built-in binder for a strong bond to the textile fibres, with the flexibility needed for a good hand feel.

The length of the printer is 7.7m including feed, transport, printer, polymerisation unit and take-up mechanism. “This sounds a lot, but compared with reactive ink processes, it is compact because it does not need the pre- and post-treatment units,” says Gamba.

The feeding unwinder takes 400mm diameter rolls and there’s a choice of either a 400mm rewinder or a folder at the other end. Rewinding is most common for shipping on to other customers, folding is used if the textile is intended for cutting and sewing in-house. An adhesive belt supports the fabric in the printer so materials such as wool don’t stretch.

A primer coating is needed to help ink acceptance, which can be applied by the textile supplier or at the print factory. There’s a choice of several Terra primers variously formulated to improve printing definition, colour intensity and fastness on a wide variety of materials.

The front-end can be any suitable RIP. Gamba says that RIPS from Caldera, ErgoSoft or Inèdit – which EFI Reggiani acquired in June – are suitable.

How productive is it?
The production speed is quoted as 190m2 per hour, with the printer running with a typical quality setting of two passes and a resolution of 300x600dpi. The polymerisation unit can keep up with 190sqm/hr too. There’s a choice of resolution settings up to 2,400dpi, and there can be between one and eight passes. Gamba says that very sharp details are possible thanks to the high resolution in combination with no need for post-treatment.

What is the USP?
According to Gamba, it’s a combination of an entry-level industrial printer with the pigment ink meaning no pre- or post-treatment.

Does it replace anything?
It’s an improved version of the original Terra Silver, launched in 2019. New features include ink recirculation, the previously mentioned real-time image processing, several printing modes and a more efficient polymerisation process. Terra Gold, a 16-head version with almost double the throughput (325sqm/hr), was launched at Fespa in June.

How easy is it to use?
“It’s very easy to use if you already understand dye-sublimation textile printing,” says Gamba. You can see the image as you print and dry, unlike dye-sub transfer, where the image looks pale before the heat transfer stage. “There’s a very easy user interface and good interaction with the operator.”

What does it cost and how is it sold in the UK?
Pricing is “in the ballpark of £230,000. Ink prices are “comparable to dye-sublimation”, says Gamba. The UK agent for Reggiani is i-Sub.

Specifications
Process piezo inkjet with 8x2-channel heads
Inks water-based pigment inks incorporating binder
Colours CMYK, RGBO
Resolution up to 2,400dpi
Max print width 1,800mm
Treatment primer before, built-in heat polymerisation to fix
Head passes 1,2,3,4,6,8
Throughput up to 190sqm/hr (300x600dpi, 2-passes)
Dimensions 7.7x4x1.87m (LxWxH)
Price about £215,000
Contact i-Sub www.i-sub.co.uk / 01536 415511


Alternatives
Epson Monna Lisa 8000
A versatile industrial textile printer that can run a choice of acid, reactive, dye disperse or pigment inks. It uses Epson’s own PrecisionCore heads with a randomised halftone pattern to boost quality, with Genesta series inks developed by Epson-owned For.Tex in Italy. Throughput is roughly the same as the Terra Silver for similar quality settings. There’s an optional drier available for pigment or disperse inks.
Process piezo inkjet with 8 heads
Inks Genesta series water-based, choice of acid, reactive, disperse or pigment
Colours 8 (CMYK, RGO +light black)
Resolution up to 2,400dpi
Max print width 1,844mm
Head passes 1,2 or 3 passes
Max speed 290sqm/hr (300x600dpi, 1-pass)
Production speed 165sqm/hr (600x600dpi, 2-pass)
Dimensions 2.69x4.78x1.83m (LxWxH) including ink rack
Price £181,000 with drier
Contact Epson UK 01442 248248 / www.epson.co.uk

Mimaki Tx300P-1800 MkII
This direct textile printer runs either pigment, acid, reactive or dye disperse (sublimation) inks, and can be loaded with pigment and dye-sub simultaneously. It’s a true entry-level if you want to try textile printing, a sixth of the price of the Terra, if only a third as fast. The 1800B model has an adhesive belt for stretch fabrics. A separately supplied heat unit is needed for fixing pigment or dye disperse inks.
Process piezo inkjet
Inks choice of pigment, acid, reactive or dye disperse
Colours CMYK, RGB +light black
Resolution up to 1,440dpi
Max print width 1,920mm
Max speed 68sqm/hr
Price £24,995
Contact Hybrid Services 01270 501900 / www.hybridservices.co.uk

 

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