Mimaki News

Advertising Giant, IZOSTUDIA, Builds Successful Digital Production Facility with Mimaki Technology as its Foundation

Sergey Kobylin

IZOSTUDIA’s capabilities, its advanced approach to production, and professional responsibility have won the attention of the most reputable customers

Krasnodar, Russia-based, IZOSTUDIA, is a perfect example of a powerful, diverse, end-to-end advertising production company with twenty years of business history. Its portfolio covers the entire sphere of the advertising market — outdoor and interior advertising, shop and gas station design, decorative lighting of buildings, printing, souvenirs, as well as branding and promotional support for various events, including everything from holidays to state forums. Today, the geography of IZOSTUDIA’s orders embrace almost the entire European part of Russia, due to its broad offering, smart marketing policy and well-thought-out logistics.

The company began its history in a difficult period of the late ’90s, when, in Russia, outdoor advertising was in its infancy. Sergey Kobylin, the founder of the company, and his two associates took the bold decision to explore the opportunities in this new field. At first, almost everything they did was by hand: they cut self-adhesive film, cut patterns of volume letters out of the substrate, and painted signboards. Then, they bought a roll cutter, the first one in the city. The emergence of new technologies and the development of their production facility became the driver of the rapid development the company then experienced and the key incentive for further investment in the most innovative equipment.

Building a comprehensive digital production capability

Today, IZOSTUDIA’s business is predominantly run by digital printing, which has become an integral part of its production process. The company’s production site features an impressive fleet of equipment, including roll and flatbed printers and cutting equipment. The company attributes a major part of its success to its Mimaki solutions, the first of which it installed in 2006 with the purchase of a Mimaki JV3-160 solvent gravure printer. Currently, 14 various Mimaki devices form a part of this innovative production process. Sergey Kobylin, General Director, IZOSTUDIA, comments, “Our preference for the Mimaki brand is due to its products’ unrivalled quality, performance, 24/7 operation and the professional service from Smart-T Company – the official distributor of Mimaki in Russia and our long-term partner. Permanent stock and availability of parts and expendables, regular software updates, and ink certification in accordance with the strictest international standards are also weighty arguments in favour of Mimaki equipment.”

IZOSTUDIA manufactures a large volume of its products using sublimation printing. Colour saturation, image clarity and versatility are crucial features of these high-quality, customised products. The main consumers of sublimation textile products include catering, retail and entertainment businesses. For them, IZOSTUDIA produces branded uniforms, aprons, scarves and kerchiefs, t-shirts, caps, rain ponchos and also provides a range of interior design applications. Flags and textile banners in sublimation technology are also in high demand. Not only is it a creative and impactful way to decorate outdoor spaces, flags are very mobile and instrumental in decorating and zoning a wide variety of spaces in a short time.

One of the most recent IZOSTUDIA installations is the Mimaki Tx300P-1800 printer for direct digital printing on fabric. For the company, this printer is a valuable find. This technology has made it possible to significantly accelerate the dressing of various events. The wide print area allows for the quick and reliable manufacture of large seamless flags and banners, textile partitions, marquises, tents, curtains, theatrical scenes, and draperies.

Branded products are a popular segment of the Russian market now. To meet the high demand for personalisation, IZOSTUDIA installed Mimaki UJF desktop UV printers, which make it possible to print very quickly on a wide variety of souvenir and utilitarian necessities. The Mimaki UV ink series is designed to decorate both hard and flexible surfaces, and the addition of white ink and varnish have brought branding to a whole new quality level.

IZOSTUDIA’s equipment fleet also features 4 Mimaki cutting plotters, including the flatbed Mimaki CF2. This device is used for cutting paper, various types of cardboard, thin plastics, natural and artificial leather, binding and foaming materials up to 20 mm thick.

Cementing a credible reputation and a diverse customer base

IZOSTUDIA’s capabilities, its advanced approach to production, and professional responsibility have won the attention of the most reputable customers. They include the Roscongress Foundation, which holds economic forums and other important international events in Sochi. The prominent MAGNIT store chain with its 21,000 stores, is also a long-time partner of IZOSTUDIA across the entire European region of Russia. Lightboxes, three-dimensional letters, interior signboards, image constructions, navigation elements and a full range of POS materials are manufactured for the stores of this brand. Design and concept development for its retail and production areas are also IZOSTUDIA’s responsibility.

Additionally, IZOSTUDIA implements advertising support for large-scale events like the Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup and Formula 1 Grand Prix in Sochi. The financial and political forums held at the highest level in the Southern region also required the services of IZOSTUDIA. According to Sergey Kobylin, “The implementation of such projects always means a tight schedule and a very strict acceptance of the work completed. The complexity of tasks sometimes requires mastering new technologies literally “on the fly”; it is necessary to overcome difficulties in the shortest possible time and without error. All of our specialists focus on achieving the goals that are set out, understanding the extreme responsibility of completing these jobs to the highest standard. In such projects, IZOSTUDIA achieved its well-deserved association as “an MES in Advertising” (a Ministry of Emergency Situations in its industry).”

With such high standards and a reputation for product and service excellence across its entire customer base, whether that customer be high-profile or a small entrepreneur, it is crucial that IZOSTUDIA can rely on its production facility and the Mimaki technology that powers a significant part of it. Sergey Kobylin also noted that the high status of such international events was the driver for further improvements and refinements of their production process, an all-time objective for the company.

A blueprint for the future

IZOSTUDIA is always monitoring new Mimaki products and plans to keep expanding its fleet of equipment in accordance with current and prospect customer requirements. To get acquainted with the new Mimaki equipment, specialists visit the Smart-T showroom – one of the largest and most technological showrooms in Europe.

IZOSTUDIA plans to continue to develop its production facility, mastering the latest technologies and expanding its portfolio of advertising services and the geography of its orders. The company is confident that now is the time for new opportunities, self-improvement and winning new regional markets. The main thing is self-reliance, constant searching for and introducing of innovations, monitoring the latest equipment, and aspiring to buy it.

“Over the years, we have been working together with Smart-T, one of the most reputable vendors of equipment for advertising production and textile printing. We are very happy that we have such a reliable partner who, like us, makes every effort to develop the advertising industry, is interested in introducing the most advanced technologies at Russian production sites and provides its customers with comprehensive information and technical support. We hope, that thanks to Smart-T, we will always stay up to date with Mimaki’s innovations and will successfully continue the expansion of our Mimaki digital equipment fleet,” concludes Sergey Kobylin.

Lil People Fctry switches from sandstone to Mimaki 3D printing technology

Noel van Poel

“All my customers are currently going for a Mimaki print” – Noël van Pol, Lil People Fctry

Lil People Fctry started out as a passion project for Noël van Pol. Looking for a new career path with more human interaction and creativity, he stumbled upon the opportunity to produce 3D figurines of people. This sparked the idea of starting a company in the field. After working with his own sandstone printer for a number of years, Noël expanded his range with Mimaki 3D printing technology. Now his customers no longer want anything else.

Since its launch in 2017, Noël van Pol’s company has quite literally grown into a factory where little people are made. In his studio with his own 3D scanner and sandstone printer, he receives customers who want a lifelike 3D figurine of themselves or their loved ones for all kinds of reasons. Since it is located in Roermond in Limburg (a region famous for its Carnival festivities), quite a few ‘Prince Carnivals’ roll off the proverbial assembly line each year, as a unique gift for the princes. But many children, pets, couples and special professions are also immortalised as 3D figurines.

“I produce large images of very high quality,” says Van Pol. “Hardly anyone else on the market is offering that. Many customers are looking for a suitable gift, for example for a new Prince Carnival, but I also get a lot of parents looking for a nice way to remember their children when they are still small.”

Van Pol considers the entire process of advising, guiding and scanning the customer to be very important, in order to ultimately create the best possible 3D image based on their particular wishes.

“I like to create statues that deviate from the norm. That are a bit looser and more expressive than the standard 3D statuettes you have probably seen before. Recently, for example, I made a figurine of a chicken farmer with a chicken in his hand. Or a truck driver with parts from a gearbox. That’s different and fun. And it poses an extra challenge for me to perfect.”

The statues are also sometimes very personal and intended as a commemoration of special people or events: “For example, I’ve made a statue of a man with a muscle disease in a wheelchair, but also statues of pets, children playing and people in their work or sports clothing. I like that the most. Not posed and all dressed up, but very personal and expressive images.”

The limitations of sandstone
According to Van Pol, you have to get three ingredients right to produce a good statue: the 3D scanner, the process and the printing technique. Previously, he did all three himself, in order to guarantee the very best quality. In this way, with his own sandstone printer he was already able to deliver a much better quality than competitors, in particular due to the careful finishing, and the time and attention he devoted to his products. Yet he felt something was missing from his sandstone statues.

“Sandstone has a lot of limitations in terms of quality,” he explains. “It is vulnerable to damage and moisture, and the colour fades over time. It also doesn’t have great colour depth, sharpness or level of detail. It requires a lot more attention and in the long run, sandstone does not offer the quality you would expect for the price.”

In 2019, Van Pol came into contact with Marketiger, the company of Dutch 3D printing entrepreneur, Maikel de Wit. He had recently purchased a Mimaki 3DUJ-553 3D printer, which allows him to print figurines in full-colour resin.

“The first prints convinced me instantly,” says Van Pol. “I can add much more detail and natural shapes to the resin figurines that come out of the Mimaki 3D printer, without the risk of breakage during finishing. What’s more, the details are sharper and the colours brighter, and the material is much more durable. With sandstone, the product was never fully “finished”. I have that with Mimaki.”

Since then, he has outsourced most of his 3D printing work to Marketiger. Lil People Fctry now offers both sandstone and resin figurines. However, almost all customers opt for the resin version: “All my customers are currently choosing a Mimaki print,” says Van Pol. “Sandstone statues are only chosen as a complement to other statues or as a replacement. Since I started selling Mimaki prints, I haven’t had a single customer choose sandstone on the basis of its qualities alone. After all, the customer wants to get the best product. “

Check out some great examples of the little people that Lil People Fctry produces here.

Mimaki Live Event Series Launched to Connect with Customers and Drive New Opportunities After COVID-19

mimaki live

Mimaki’s upcoming virtual event series has been initiated to support the print industry with new pathways to reactivation

Mimaki Europe, a leading manufacturer of inkjet printers and cutting systems, has announced it will host a three-part virtual event series – Mimaki Live – to support customers looking for inspiration and advice on how to maintain or revive business after the COVID-19 crisis.

Building on the success of Mimaki’s Virtual Print Festival in March and April this year, Mimaki has created an exciting and insightful 3-day programme for three market-focused virtual events:

  • Event I – Sign Graphics – 30th June 2020
  • Event II – Textiles – 14th July 2020
  • Event III – Industrial Printing – 27th August 2020

Each event will provide a platform for Mimaki representatives, customers, and suppliers to discuss the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on their business and the wider industry, as well as share their experiences, challenges, and success stories.

“COVID-19 is undoubtedly having a negative impact on many businesses, but lots of our customers and industry peers have been able to find ways to remain in business and even support their local communities during this challenging time. Their stories are incredibly inspiring,” Danna Drion, Senior Marketing Manager at Mimaki explains. “Our goal is to demonstrate how creative and resourceful businesses across the print industry have been in the face of a global crisis. Through these stories and the wider event programmes, we hope to play our part in helping to re-energise this incredibly tenacious and resilient industry and support printers as they navigate a new business landscape.”

The Mimaki Live events will feature a host of engaging panel discussions, opinion polls, live chats and Q&As, all designed to prompt important, topical discussions and share information and advice across the print community.

Drion concludes, “This unprecedented time has changed the way we do business, possibly for the long-term. One of the most important things we need to do now is to find new ways to connect and communicate as an industry. Virtual events, such as the Mimaki Live series, provide an opportunity to do that and we’re looking forward to being able to, once again, engage with our entire customer and partner network and initiate some crucial discussions about how the industry moves forward from here.”

To register for the Mimaki Live Series events, please visit the below information page:

Fancy Armor has Suitcase Printing Covered with Mimaki Technology

fancy armor

With the help of Mimaki technology, Fancy Armor established itself as a creative, pioneering business of customised luggage wear and has recently shifted its capacity to producing essential travel accessories in today’s changing world.

In Spring 2012, Elena Larina launched a new product into the Russian retail market. Printed, personalised suitcase coverings were not manufactured locally or sold by many retailers and as such, this entrepreneur saw an opportunity to bring something unique and exciting to the market. And so, she founded the company, Fancy Armor, and began its journey as a creative, pioneering business, selling customised travel gear.

Fancy Armor primarily focuses on targeting travellers who had become accustomed to using luggage foils – a not so stylish or environmentally friendly way to secure and preserve suitcases. The company presented these holiday makers and business travellers with a new way to distinguish their luggage with their vibrant and colourful suitcase coverings. And that’s not all, as Larina elaborates: “We make sure our adventurous consumers are prepared for their travels in every aspect – offering memory foam neck pillows, stylish and citified rain-coats, eco shopping bags, travel envelopes, eye masks, beach bags and much more, all with our trademark and any custom-designed print. Whatever the product, our objective remains the same: all our products must be both bright and beautiful and, most critically, functional, ergonomic and environmentally friendly”.

Larina capitalised on her previous experience managing outsourced manufacturing lines by employing the services of three separate companies to produce her products, but she soon began to experience issues. Quality management was out of her control and there were multiple incidents of subcontractors failing to meet order deadlines.

As a result of these shortcomings, she took the decision to establish an in-house production facility at their plant in Moscow. However, as champions of product quality and attractive, on-trend designs, the question arose as to what equipment she would use to print their products. This presented a significant challenge; she knew what qualities she wanted for the merchandise but had little knowledge of printing techniques.

“At the development stage of production five years ago, I could not tell any difference between an overlocker and a coverstitch machine, sublimation and silk-printing, French terry and interlock,” confesses Larina. “I had to read a lot of literature, consult experts, select textiles, garment accessories and printing techniques through trial and error.”

On the case of finding the ideal printing solution
With an unwavering vision for product excellence, Larina strengthened her printing knowledge and identified exactly what she wanted from her printer. “Of critical importance to us was the following criteria,” emphasises Larina. “Printing quality, stable operation and reliability. Therefore, before choosing the first printer, we spent a lot of time reading product reviews and speaking to the experts in the field.”

Her search for the ideal solution culminated in a visit to a Mimaki showroom where the Fancy Armor founder was able to get more familiar with the equipment. This led to her first purchase, a Mimaki JV150-160, and after using it for a short time, she was confident in her choice. Thanks to the continued support and expertise of the local Mimaki dealer, Smart-T, she made the decision to purchase only Mimaki equipment as her business grew.

Before long, a second JV150-160 was added to the production line, in combination with a calendar heat press to create a full sublimation system. Fancy Armor’s faith in Mimaki’s systems continues to this day: “We see Mimaki’s technology as the best choice for our business now and moving forward. In fact, we keep a close eye on all their new products. One that has particulary caught our eye recently is the hybrid model Mimaki Tx300P-1800 MkII, which could be crucial to address the ever-changing demand from the market”. With a full, high-quality and reliable manufacturing process now in place, demand for the colourful and distinctive suitcase coverings, with designs ranging from London telephone boxes, to world flags and suit jackets, began to really take off.

Making the move to masks
In early April 2020, the coronavirus disrupted the well-established Fancy Armor business, effectively putting a stop to the tourism industry. However, the pause lasted only three days, as Larina made an operative decision to reassign its capacities to the production of reusable textile masks, since the demand for the product was at an all-time high.

Never departing from her own motto “Quality above all!”, Larina chose a complex design of a three-layer protective mask made of neoprene with a slot for a removable filter. While not a medical device, the mask has been certified as an effective means to prevent spreading diseases transmitted by airborne droplets. Due to its elasticity, this mask fits tightly to the face, covering the mouth and nose of the infected person, while the dense fabric of the mask detains large splashes and protects the face from the sneezing or coughing of others. The mask comes with a basic set of filters, which can be reused after processing or self-assembled into a new mask.

According to Larina, the capacity of printing and cutting equipment is enough to increase production by 10 times, with the “bottleneck” being in sewing and using manual labor on this stage. Currently, the output of reusable masks is over five hundred per day, but Larina is ready to respond promptly to the needs of the market and significantly increase the volume of production.

A few days ago, the story about the dramatic turnaround of the Fancy Armor business was aired on “Moscow24″, one of Russia’s mainstream channels. Elena Larina’s production capacities are expected to expand even further, as she is determined to make digital production work even more effectively to ensure the health and safety of Moscow residents.

With a fully functional inhouse production line, the entrepreneur now intends to expand further into the international market. “What do we plan for the future?” questions Larina. “We want people to know that this is a company that makes creative products of high quality. Our dream is to have someone in Australia admiringly exclaim – Made in Russia? WOW!” An enterprising and patriotic goal, from an impressive new company.

Addressing the mask crisis with the Mimaki TR300-1850C coater

TR300-1800C

Mimaki technology used to process mask material that is both functional and fashionable to wear

Many manufacturing companies have decided to convert production to contribute to addressing the COVID-19 crisis. In the textile sector in particular, print service providers have started producing masks and other kinds of facial protection, due to the sudden surge in demand and limited supply.

So that masks, both medical and non-medical, can guarantee protection while being suitable for contact with the face, the fabrics used must meet specific technical requirements. Often many layers of different fabrics are used, including polyester, warp knits, standard knits and non-wovens. Two fundamental properties are needed to achieve maximum functional and protective efficiency: impermeability and sterility.

Mimaki technology meets these specific requirements with a highly effective solution for fabric preparation. The TR300-1850C pre-treatment unit, originally designed for inkjet printing applications, can now process mask materials, simply by using it with different chemicals. “Appropriate fabric preparation is essential for producing masks. At the moment this remains one of the trickiest aspects for operators in the textile sector”, explains Marco Vanzini, Sales Director at Mimaki Bompan Textile. “Although it was developed for inkjet printing, the Mimaki TR300-1850C coater has demonstrated its suitability for the specific treatments making mask materials sterile and impermeable.”

Part of the TR Series, an innovative range of pre- and post-treatment systems developed by Mimaki, the TR300-1850C digital coater offers a compact design for installation in any production environment. Easy to use, this roll-to-roll unit makes it simple to apply the coating: once inserted, the fabric passes through a padder, where it is implanted with the selected chemicals, then proceeding to successive phases through squeeze rollers and a dryer, before being rewound into a roll.

Using the coater to meet the mask challenge, fabrics can be treated with water-soluble antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral disinfectants, such as salicylic acid and bleach. As for impermeability, this can be obtained by dissolving silicone-based products in water.

“We are convinced of the potential of this solution, not only in helping to optimise mask production today, but also in opening up a brighter, more optimistic perspective for the steps ahead. It is clear by now that masks and facial PPE will be part of our everyday lives even after the worst of the COVID-19 crisis, in what is called phase 2. It will be important to be prepared, adapting production methods to offer accessories that are both functional and pleasant to wear”, adds Vanzini. “Fabrics pre-treated with the TR300-1850C coater can be decorated and personalised using Mimaki sublimation transfer printing plotters, meeting the demand for trendy accessories that is sure to come from the market.”

Mimaki goes ‘hybrid’ with the innovative TX300P-1800 MkII

Ultimate-Sample-Runner

The Mimaki Tx300P-1800 MkII enables textile printing companies to optimise the entire production workflow

How can you make a difference in today’s world of digital textile printing? Today more than ever, this extremely fast-paced sector requires great versatility in production, along with a wide range of creative and profitable applications for different markets. And that is precisely why Mimaki developed its innovative TX300P-1800 MkII digital textile printer – a truly hybrid solution in terms of the printing process, the inks and the variety of printable fabrics and substrates. With outstanding print quality enabled by Mimaki’s core technologies, the TX300P-1800 MkII is also an ideal solution for producing samples quickly, efficiently and at low cost.

A descendant of the Mimaki TX300P-1800, the TX300P-1800 MkII is an entry-level solution providing both direct-to-fabric and transfer printing functionalities. A single machine supporting different processing requirements, with interchangeable platens and three different ink combinations, the Mimaki TX300P-1800 MkII lets the operator easily switch from one printing process to another, thus offering unprecedented versatility in production. When printing direct to fabric, excess ink passing through the fabric is drained via a special ink channel fitted to the platen. For printing on thermal transfer paper, this platen can be easily replaced with a vacuum table directly by the operator, without requiring a specialist.

Multiple Ink Options
As for inks, the TX300P-1800 MkII can be installed with a single ink set: one of the five ink types traditionally used in textile printing, i.e. dye sublimation, disperse, acid, reactive or pigment-based. Alternatively, various ink combinations can be configured, including pigment-based/direct sublimation, pigmented-based/sublimation transfer and direct sublimation/sublimation transfer. It is precisely this feature that helps ensure optimum results for each individual application, expanding the range of processes and substrates supported by just one system. From cotton, linen, silk, wool and leather to polyester, nylon and other fabrics, the TX300P-1800 MkII is highly versatile also when it comes to fibres and materials.

Mimaki Core Technologies
For optimal performance, in terms of reliability and quality, the Mimaki TX300P-1800 MkII features all of Mimaki’s core technologies, including the MAPS4 system to reduce banding and the Nozzle Check Unit (NCU) for interruption-free printing with minimum downtime. In addition, the TX300P-1800 MkII comes with Mimaki’s innovative ‘high head gap’ technology. By allowing the distance between the print heads and the substrate to be adjusted, this ensures precise positioning of the ink drops on more complex materials, such as thick or knitted fabrics.

A versatile and reliable high-performance solution, the Mimaki Tx300P-1800 MkII enables textile printing companies to optimise the entire production workflow. Easy to combine with industrial printing solutions, the Mimaki Tx300P-1800 MkII can produce samples for any collection, from fashion and sportswear to interior decoration, ensuring highly accurate results while reducing the time and cost of production.

Mimaki goes ‘hybrid’ with the innovative TX300P-1800 MkII

All-in-One-Textile-Solution

The Mimaki Tx300P-1800 MkII is ideal for small to medium print service providers wishing to transform their business

How can you make a difference in today’s world of digital textile printing? Today more than ever, this extremely fast-paced sector requires great versatility in production, along with a wide variety of creative and profitable applications for different markets. And that is precisely why Mimaki developed its innovative TX300P-1800 MkII digital textile printer – a truly hybrid solution in terms of printing processes, the inks and the range of printable fabrics and substrates. With outstanding operational flexibility, it fully meets the needs of small to medium print service providers handling different types of orders in small runs.

A descendent of the Mimaki TX300P-1800, the TX300P-1800 MkII is an entry-level solution providing both direct-to-fabric and transfer printing functionalities. As a single machine supporting different processing requirements, with interchangeable platens and three different ink combinations, the Mimaki TX300P-1800 MkII lets the operator easily switch from one printing process to another, thus offering unprecedented versatility in production. When printing direct to fabric, excess ink passing through the fabric is drained via a special ink channel fitted to the platen. For printing on thermal transfer paper, this platen can be easily replaced with a vacuum table directly by the operator, without requiring a specialist.

Multiple Ink Options
As for inks, the TX300P-1800 MkII can be installed with a single ink set: one of the five ink types traditionally used in textile printing, i.e. dye sublimation, disperse, acid, reactive or pigment-based. Alternatively, various ink combinations can be configured, including pigment-based/direct sublimation, pigmented-based/sublimation transfer and direct sublimation/sublimation transfer. It is precisely this feature that helps ensure optimum results for each individual application, expanding the range of processes and substrates supported by just one system. From cotton, linen, silk, wool and leather to polyester, nylon and other fabrics, the TX300P-1800 MkII is highly versatile also when it comes to fibres and materials.

Mimaki Core Technologies
For optimal performance, in terms of reliability and quality, the Mimaki TX300P-1800 MkII features all of Mimaki’s core technologies, including the MAPS4 system to reduce banding and the Nozzle Check Unit (NCU) for interruption-free printing with minimum downtime. In addition, the TX300P-1800 MkII comes with Mimaki’s innovative ‘high head gap’ technology. By allowing the distance between the print heads and the substrate to be adjusted, this ensures precise positioning of the ink drops on more complex materials, such as thick or knitted fabrics.

A versatile and reliable high-performance solution, the Mimaki Tx300P-1800 MkII is ideal for small to medium print service providers wishing to transform their business – by enhancing print quality across a wide range of applications, from fashion to sportswear and interior decoration to soft signage, it is offering new types of products to reach new markets.

Energiapura – a trailblazer in reusable, customised protective masks, are also fashion accessories

Energiapura

The Italian company, a specialist manufacturer of functional sportswear, conducted research and began producing masks in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Using Mimaki sublimation printers, the masks can be customised, moving away from their connotation with hospitals and transforming them into a fashion accessory

From functional sportswear to combatting the spread of the Coronavirus: Energiapura, an Italian manufacturer of clothing and accessories for ski racing and snowboarding, has leveraged its know-how and technology to conceive and develop – in a very short space of time – a protective mask that meets the Class I medical device requirements. The EP PA 2020 (Energiapura Pure Air) facial device, optimised for air filtering and breathability, provides many hours of protection while working, and can be reused. But Energiapura has gone even further, branding and customising the masks with sublimation printing. “Bold colouring has always distinguished the Energiapura brand, and we didn’t want to abandon this, not even in the midst of the crisis”, explains Alberto Olivetto, founder and CEO of Energiapura. “Sublimation printing allows us to give a brighter face to COVID-19. Our message is to add colour and a bit of optimism, precisely in these difficult times.”

The EP PA 2020 mask, compliant with 93/42 EEC Medical Devices – Class I washable, meets the essential requirements of UNI EN 14683:2019. Having redirected the manufacturing process, Energiapura is now stepping up production levels to meet the rising demand from hospitals, pharmacies, chemists, companies and even consumers.

A winning brand
In its headquarters at Tezze sul Brenta (Vicenza province), Energiapura employs 25 staff members. A further 80 employees work in Tunisia, where part of the production is managed.

Energiapura’s story began in 1990, when Alberto Olivetto set up his business in the heart of the Veneto textiles district at the junction of the provinces of Vicenza, Treviso and Montebelluna. Focusing from the outset on research and innovation, the company homed in on the niche market of functional sportswear. Initially a subcontractor, it moved from cycling to cross-country skiing, establishing itself as a manufacturer and direct exporter of the Norwegian brand Swix in Europe, the USA and Japan.

In 1994, the company registered the Energiapura trademark, a fundamental step signalling the start of sportswear production in its own name. Schools and clubs for alpine and cross-country skiing were now their main target group. “We had clearly chosen the more difficult path in addressing this market. But then again, we knew we had something more to offer than the competition”, says Olivetto. “Thanks to our extensive use of colour, we were able to offer bespoke items for each specific situation, an added value that helped us get noticed.”

Colour and customisation thanks to sublimation printing, using Mimaki technology, have always been at the core of Energiapura’s manufacturing process. “Backed by years of research, development and testing, it was our expert use of sublimation that allowed us to make a difference. Breaking with the monochromatic tradition, we added colour to the alpine environment, which is dominated by white, and this simple idea has opened up incredible possibilities.” Combining this with research into top-performing fabrics, Energiapura quickly gained ground internationally as well. As one of the leading suppliers in Europe, Russia, Japan and the USA, the company boasts partnerships with ski champions from around the globe: Marcel Hirscher (Austria), Tina Maze (Slovenia), from her début to her retirement, Peter Fill (Italy), Henrik Kristoffersen (Norway), Ilka Štuhec (Slovenia) and Alice Robinson (New Zealand), to name just a few. “In our field, they say that ‘Energiapura brings good luck’. Indeed, whoever wears our brand starts winning. But it’s not really a matter of luck. It’s all about the technical features and performance of our fabrics.”

Sublimation printing makes the difference
Every single production phase at Energiapura is given minute attention – from design to fabric preparation and processing (partly outsourced to external partners) and on to printing and packaging. “At the heart of it all is sublimation printing. With virtually unlimited creative freedom, we can offer truly unique designs to our customers.” On this journey, the encounter with Mimaki around 12 years ago and the installation of Mimaki roll-to-roll sublimation printers – currently four machines, including one JV5 and two JV300s – has brought another leap in quality. “Thanks to Mimaki, we have been continuously improving our quality while also expanding our range of applications. At this point, we even customise our accessories, including shin and arm guards. We were the first to offer colourful shin guards, and arm guards for ski racing are actually our invention.”

But Energiapura goes even further. The company continues to experiment with colour transfer methods, with a particular focus on managing the ink quantities deposited on the transfer paper. “We primarily work with composite materials, comprised of two or three layers of fabric. One of the most important factors to keep in mind is air flow, and we conduct many internal tests on this issue. Sublimation printing helps to optimise air flow, giving the fabric – and therefore the piece of clothing – the ideal technical characteristics and aerodynamics for the intended use”, explains Olivetto. “We have managed to create ‘winning formulas’, playing with the pigments used and their impact on the aerodynamic performance of fabrics.”

Pure Air, Energiapura’s mask
This is how Energiapura came to create EP PA 2020, an effective protective mask based on a functional concept. “It all started with the need to protect our own staff from the Coronavirus. Based on our usual modus operandi, we launched a study phase in our laboratories to identify the three main properties to impart to our devices: protection, breathability and reusability.” EP PA 2020 is made up of three layers of fabric: the first, the outer layer, is DWR-treated polyester, the second is TNT polyester, providing a filtering function, and the third, which comes into contact with the face, is polyester containing special fibres, such as coolmax and carbon. In this way, the mask not only guarantees the necessary protection but, being breathable, it can be worn for many hours while working. And it can be reused via normal washing and steam ironing, which also sterilises it.”

Beyond the present crisis, the Energiapura project is also looking to the future. “We wanted to disassociate our masks from the hospital image. How? Through customisation, by decorating them with company branding and designs provided by customers.” This is where the Mimaki JV300 wide-format printer comes in. Highly productive and optimised for rapid job changes, it ensures the fast turnarounds required in times of increasing demand.

“Innovation is part of our DNA. EP PA 2000 is the fruit of a great deal of research conducted in our laboratories. More than ‘just a mask’, it is a fully fledged facial protective device. In conceiving this project, we thought a lot about the future because we believe that the post-Coronavirus world will be different and involve new ways of socialising. Facial protection will play a critical role in the months to come, so we wanted to create an item that is actually fun to wear – adding a personal touch and a little bit of cheerfulness. Much like a fashion accessory.”

“Last but not least, another main focus was the reusability of the mask, avoiding issues with disposal and working towards a culture of zero waste for the benefit of our environment”, Olivetto concludes.

From retail displays to museum interiors: the sky’s the limit for D-POS and its Mimaki print technology

D-POS kitchen interior

Polish printing company D-POS have built a clientele base of interior designers, architects and collectors, with Mimaki playing a crucial role in their expansion

Marcin Krakowiak and Bartłomiej Jakóbowski co-founded D-POS, the small but mighty Polish printing company, in 2000. For over twenty years, they have been operating in Warsaw, initially exclusively creating point of sale (POS) material for their well-established FMCG clientele, which include Nestle, Wedel, Tchibo, Henkel, Johnson&Johnson and Coty. For twelve of those years, D-POS has been utilising Mimaki printing technology, which has helped establish them as a versatile force in the printing marketplace – and not just in the POS sphere.

Today, their clientele includes the likes of interior designers, architects and collectors, for which they create bespoke wallpapers, stickers and a whole range of surface applications. Speaking on their diverse client base, Marcin Krakowiak, comments: “I believe that our unique position in the market results from our outstanding versatility of printing applications that the Mimaki technologies help to provide. This, alongside our full commitment to each project and extensive experience in this market, has helped us to consistently provide our customers with the best possible service.”

“In the beginning, we were designing and producing POS and POP (point of purchase) made from plastic, metal and wooden elements for advertorial stands, racks, feeders (POS that dispense products) and displays.” Marcin explains, “We had always used screen printing machines, thermoformers and plastic benders, but in 2008 we decided to look for a versatile, high-quality UV flatbed plotter and that is when we discovered Teba, our local Polish Mimaki distributor.”

The start of a decade-strong partnership
D-POS began working with Teba that same year and has not looked back. Mere weeks after they bought their first Mimaki printer (JFX-1631) through the reseller, they added the JV33-130 and JV33-160 to their production floor. Today the company owns a total of seven different Mimaki machines, including the UJV500-160, CG-130FXII and JFX Series. The latest investment was made in March 2020, when the company purchased the JV300-160 Plus. Launched in 2019, the Plus series of Mimaki printers boast substantial productivity increases on previous models, in addition to delivering superior print quality at faster printing speeds. The day after installing this latest system, D-POS was up and running, printing the next museum graphics job.

“Teba played a huge part in our initial and continued investment in Mimaki,” Marcin says, full of praise for the Polish distributor. “Their knowledge, professionalism and commitment gave us a sense of security from the very beginning, and we truly value the level of support they continue to offer us.”

When it comes to the printers themselves, Marcin’s faith in the technology has not waivered since installing that first machine. “We continue to invest in Mimaki because we have complete confidence in the brand, and we know we will get a reliable, high-quality solution that will also provide us with the flexibility we need to keep driving our business forward.”

Unlimited POSsibilities
As D-POS’ line-up of Mimaki technologies grew, the business started to expand beyond their initial POS speciality. “The technology enabled us to explore so many new possibilities in the market, that were previously inaccessible to us,” Marcin reflects. “It started with creating wall murals and glass panels for private and commercial interiors, and before we knew it, we were fulfilling orders from all sorts of sectors – from interior designers and architects to our POS clientele.”

Over the past few years, D-POS has produced many complex, high-quality decorations, including photo wallpapers for the POLIN (Museum of the History of Polish Jews), and glass panels for ORLEN petrol stations across Poland. With a variety of Mimaki technologies at their disposal, D-POS certainly does not shy away from tackling the decoration of almost any material; printing on mirrors, concrete, metals, wood, plastic…the list goes on.

“What is really shocking is that customers often tell us how their printing requests are dismissed for being ‘un-achievable’,” Marcin says. “At D-POS, we have made a point to defy that mindset – the fact that it wasn’t done before, does not mean you cannot do it.”

Not only can D-POS implement a wide variety of customer projects with ease, but they have not had to sacrifice efficiency and affordability to do so. “Using Mimaki products has helped us as a business to be time and cost-efficient, while still maintaining that signature high quality, down to the smallest detail,” Marcin adds. He cited, in particular, their glass panel applications in which they could easily achieve photographic quality without the use of any special profiles.

High-fliers
Marcin and Bartłomiej continue to push the company in new and exciting directions. With their Mimaki technology, the two have begun their next venture, combining their passion for paragliding with their print expertise to create personalised paragliding wings.

“We have been experimenting with printing onto textile materials and then cutting them to create the wings. With such a critical safety element involved in producing this kind of product, it’s a precise and calculated development process, but we have already seen some breakthrough results,” explains Marcin. “Successfully adding such unique applications to our offering enables us to stay ahead of the competition. Mimaki’s solutions have a continued and crucial part to play in enabling us to expand our range of applications, and as they continue to innovate and expand their product range, so can we.”

“This industry is fast-moving and competitive, but with Teba and Mimaki as our technology partners, we aim to maintain our reputation as the ‘highflyers’ in the ever-growing number of markets we serve,” Marcin concludes.

Mimaki Expands Portfolio with Large-Scale 3D Printer – Offering Total 2D and 3D Printing Solution for Sign Market

3DGD-1800

New Mimaki 3DGD-1800 3D printer boasts ground-breaking production speeds and transforms production of large-sized objects, opening up a wide range of new possible applications across industries from sign and display to manufacturing.

Mimaki Europe, a leading manufacturer of inkjet printers and cutting systems, today announces the launch of the new Mimaki 3DGD-1800 3D printer, facilitating large-scale production up to three times faster than with conventional Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) type 3D printers. The Mimaki 3DGD-1800 3D printer connects the company’s 2D printing expertise and 3D technology innovations, providing customers with a cost-effective, total solution for 3D sign and display applications.

Capable of producing objects up to 1.8 metres tall in just seven hours – with its assembly-based design allowing for the creation of even larger designs – the innovative 3D printing system boasts a number of clever time- and cost- saving features, including dual-head configuration to enable the simultaneous output of two structures. The Mimaki 3DGD-1800 also facilitates the production of support-free hollowed structures, further streamlining production whilst allowing for increased portability and the possible addition of interior illuminations. The technology will open up a diverse range of potential applications, from signage, events and creative art through to interior design. Customers can utilise Mimaki’s extensive portfolio of 2D print solutions to cost-effectively decorate these applications, opening doors to a range of new products that combine creativity and innovation with Mimaki’s tried and tested vibrant, high-quality results.

“Part of what makes our approach unique here at Mimaki is our dedication to being a Total Solutions Provider, and as such we have ensured that even beyond the 3D printing stage, our Mimaki inkjet printers can then be utilised to add colour and décor, making created objects even more impressive and immensely versatile,” comments Bert Benckhuysen, Senior Product Manager at Mimaki Europe. “With our unique vision, wealth of experience from across the print industry and unwavering commitment to innovation, we intend to lead the sign graphics industry in both two- and three-dimensional signages – and the introduction of the new Mimaki 3DGD-1800 is a fantastic step forward in achieving this goal.”

Commercially available from April 1, 2020, the new Mimaki 3DGD-1800 is set to revolutionise the way in which large-sized objects are created, enabling a switch from costly and time-consuming conventional handcrafting methods which require significant expertise, to effortless, high-speed production utilising 3D data. Whereas large objects have traditionally been produced by manually sculpting foam materials, Mimaki’s new 3D printing system transforms this process right through from concept to manufacture – meaning that designs can be visualised as a finished product just based on the 3D data, and then produced in various sizes from a single data set. Contrary to other 3D printing methods involving hot-melt lamination, the 3DGD-1800 employs Gel Dispensing Printing technology, extruding gel-type UV curable resin lineally and utilising LED UV light to instantly cure the resin, enabling lamination speeds of up to 350mm in height per hour.

The 3DGD-1800 3D printer is expected to present sign makers with new opportunities across a number of diverse sectors, with the potential to easily create life-sized displays, event decorations, movie props, large product mock-ups and more – as well as quickly and efficiently producing industrial production parts such as moulds for vacuum forming, helping manufacturers to reduce their lead times.

“We are very excited to be able to bring such a transformative product to market,” continues Benckhuysen. “With unprecedented modelling speeds and the possibility to create enormous objects even beyond the sizeable formation area, the 3DGD-1800 represents a real transformation in large-sized production. Combined with the superior quality that we have become known for here at Mimaki, the potential impact of this new 3D printer is tremendous – particularly for the sign and display market but also far beyond that. The opportunities are boundless.”