Traditional analog textile printing consumes a large amount of water, especially in the washing and steaming processes, and wastewater pollution due to fabric printing is a long-standing issue around the world. Kyocera has developed a new inkjet textile printer, Forearth that combines patented inkjet, ink, and printing equipment technology to contribute to solving these environmental problems. The printer is expected to eliminate virtually all water usage from fabric printing.
Key features of the new printer are the Water Free Concept which dramatically reduces water usage in textile printing; Creative Free, a proprietary pigment ink that realizes both soft hand-feel prints and high fastness in a wide range of fabrics; and Location Free textile printing which does not rely on water resources, so it supports optimized production volumes and optimized manufacturing location setting and contributes to the reduction of logistic costs, time, and excess inventories.
Kyocera Corp., Kyoto/Japan, will unveil Forearth for the first time outside of Japan at the ITMA 2023 in Milan/Italy, from June 8-14, 2023.
In general, textile printing uses dye ink, dye with fine paint particles dissolved in water, which is printed by impregnating fabric with color. This requires a large amount of water for the pre- and post-treatment processes, such as steaming and washing. Forearth is an All-in-One printing system that uses new proprietary pigment ink. This system eliminates the pre-and post-processes required of conventional dye printing and reduces the water consumption of textile printing by 99% (based on Kyocera research (2022)). Also, this new printing solution contributes to reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions because it does not need large-scale equipment used for the pre- and post-treatment processes of textile printing.
Forearth water use (Source: Kyocera) Creative Free
Conventional dye digital printing generally requires different types of dyes for various fabrics made from different fibers. Forearth solves the typical problems of pigment printing, such as less color development, fastness, and hard hand-feel, by using Kyocera's proprietary ink technology in a new, all-in-one printing system. This enables highly detailed printing on diverse fabrics ranging from cotton, silk, and polyester to nylon and blended fabrics with a single machine. Also, it is adaptable to a wide range of categories too, from ladies' fashion and sportswear to babywear and home textiles
In general, textile dyeing factories are operated in areas with abundant water resources since the printing process uses a large amount of water. In contrast, Forearth needs only a small amount of water for printing, so the production site can be located anywhere, such as on-shore, near-shore, or in more suitable areas, like places close to consumers. Furthermore, the concept’s simple 2-step printing and drying system drastically shortens the number of steps from design to production. As a result of this streamlined processing, it supports optimized production and location setting and therefore can handle small-lot printing and shorten delivery times, helping reduce logistic costs and surplus inventories. Moreover, Forearth can complete print production within a small area footprint compared to conventional textile printing, which requires many more printing processes with separate equipment.