TenCate introduces first digital inkjet machine
Monday 1 July, the day had arrived: the official introduction of the first machine on the basis of digital inkjet technology. Theo Rietkerk, member of the Provincial Executive of Overijssel for Economy, Energy and Innovation, activated the machine at TenCate Protective & Outdoor Fabrics in Nijverdal. The introduction of this machine marks the transition from analogue to digital finishing of technical textile.
Digital finishing on the basis of inkjet technology is a new process technology that applies high-grade functionalities (characteristics) to textile surfaces using picolitre drops and the drop-on-demand method. This means that coatings and finishes can be applied to technical textile with the utmost precision. This development heralds a revolution in the field of process technology.
The invited guests crowded round to see the first digital inkjet machine in operation
The industrial application of this inkjet technology offers the technical textile industry many advantages. A wide variety of patterns and characteristics can be applied to different kinds of fabric at great speed. In comparison with existing technologies, it offers complete design freedom at relatively low cost. New functionalities can be quickly introduced during the production process and finishing materials are accurately deposited in measured qualities. All in all the technology results in higher quality, reduced production costs and new opportunities for marketing and sales. The technology therefore enables TenCate to offer on-demand delivery and mass customization on the basis of a flexible, sustainable and cost-efficient production process.
Digital inkjet technology also means (depending on the application) savings in the use of energy (up to 60%), water (up to 80%) and dyes and pigments (up to 90%). This was partly the reason behind European and regional support for this important development. The new machine is the first in a series. By 2015 TenCate Protective & Outdoor Fabrics is expected to have a number of such machines, always with new or improved techniques. Before long the first machine will be producing between 200 and 300 square metres of (technical) textile an hour, using inks developed by Xennia Technology especially for outdoor fabrics.