MILAN, Italy/TOKYO — December 15, 2016 — Seiko Epson Corp. has announced two new hub sites dedicated to the development of new industrial digital textile products. The Innovation Research Lab, focusing on ink technology R&D, has been created by Epson together with For.Tex. The Printing Research Center, in collaboration with F.lli Robustelli, a major player in production engineering for textile printers and recently acquired by Epson, will aid future development of Epson inkjet core technology dedicated to textile printing.
The two new sites join Epson’s established Textile Solution Center in Como, Italy. With the opening of these facilities, Epson, For.Tex and F.lli Robustelli have realized their vision to create a worldwide hub for the digital textile printing industry based in Italy.
“We are delighted to announce the establishment of the Innovation Research Lab and The Printing Research Center in Como,” said Sunao Murata, chief operating officer, of Epson’s Professional Printing Operations Division. “These state-of-the-art R&D facilities symbolize Epson’s strong commitment to accelerating the development of digital textile inkjet printing both in the Como region and the rest of the world.”
The Digital Textile Printing Industry
In 2014 alone, approximately 31 billion square meters of fabric was printed worldwide, of which approximately 2-3 percent was produced using digital technologies*1. 2015 represented a landmark year for the digital textiles market which, according to WtiN Intelligence, print volume is expected to increase by about 17 percent year on year until 2019*2.
The use of digital technologies for printing drawings, patterns and visual effects on textiles and other surfaces is well established and is growing quickly, replacing traditional analogue technologies in several areas. Digital technologies used in industrial volume production create a challenge for inks and auxiliary chemical compound manufacturers. However, thanks to technological innovation, the digital printing market is constantly evolving with customers requesting products capable of supporting the complete manufacturing cycle and that ensure quality, productivity and reliability without compromise.
The Innovation Research Lab
With the aim of researching and developing new inks for industrial digital printing on a wide array of materials, the Innovation Research Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and is staffed with a team of highly-skilled technologists and researchers (chemical engineers, chemical analysts, lab technicians, etc.). The Lab is committed to research that will increase industrial ink performance and sustainability on behalf of Epson.
The Printing Research Center
The Printing Research Center, located in F.lli Robustelli’s head office, will aid product development of inkjet core devices, ensuring the continued development of the highest quality textile printers for Epson.
Commitment to innovation and excellence
Epson, F.lli Robustelli and For.tex have been collaborating since 2003, when they launched the Monna Lisa digital textile printer. In 2014 the Textile Solution Center (TSC) was established as the world’s first hub for the development and promotion of digital fabric printing with the aim of increasing quality, productivity and reliability of digital printing technologies*3. The center, created with an overall investment of 2 million euros, brings the entire industrial production process under one roof and provides invaluable support to textile businesses, young designers, fashion schools and institutes. This 3,000-square-meter facility provides a unique opportunity to reproduce the industrial process of digital fabric printing, from pre-treatment and actual printing to steaming, washing, drying and finishing.
*1 Provost Ink Jet Consulting Ltd., 2015
*2 World Textile Market Outlook, 2016
*3 According to For.Tex research (as of April 2014)
Posted December 21, 2016