Moving Towards a Greener Future with Digital Printing

ITMA2023 marked a new beginning for the digital print industry. ITMA was a great opportunity for the Italian MS PRINTING SOLUTIONS, and JK GROUP – brand leaders in the digital printing industry – to showcase their latest innovations. It is important to keep up the high standard of the industry and to grow the market by introducing new technologies.

Since a very long time, sustainability has been the focus of all our projects. That’s why we talk about “sustainable innovation” as the light that has been guiding us in our projects in the past few years; it is what our new products are permeated with, and it is evident in what we showed at ITMA.

Among these products, we displayed our Pigment Solution – a whole system – made up of four different components which together have proven to be exceptionally innovative and useful.

Digistar Pigment 4K – JK GROUP’s newest and patent pending digital pigment ink. It is one of most sustainable and environmentally friendly inks, as it does not require any pre- or post-treatment. This is due to the fact that the steps of the printing process have been reduced by 50%. We can reduce the environmental impact of a similar process by an average of 95%. This is due to a reduction in energy and water consumption as well as chemical waste. For example, the impact on hydric resources has been reduced by 85%. CO2 emission, however, has been reduced 15 times. These data come from a study developed by Next Technology Tecnotessile Society Nazionale di Ricerca. Digistar Pigment 4K is a highly durable pigment. According to EN ISO 20315M (alkaline or acid perspiration), EN ISO 20615M (domestic laundering at 40 degrees), all tests resulted in a 5. As per EN ISO 2035 (dry and wet rubbing) we have a solid 4 – all while maintaining a high printability. Textile Standard certifications provide a tangible and concrete guarantee for the environmentally friendly and sustainable production of Digistar Pigment 4K and its low hazardous profile.

A completely re-engineered version of MS PRINTING SOLUTIONS’ popular digital scanning printing machine – the JP7 – is another fundamental component of our solution. In both electronic and mechanical terms, we have revolutionized our JP7 to achieve the best results possible when used with our new pigment-based water-based ink. Our goal was to achieve process sustainability. That’s why we implemented a zero wastewater recirculation tank that will internal recycle a previously-filtered, fixed amount water. The pigment printing process is already a waterless one, with only the water used to clean the belt being involved. With this system, we can reduce the amount by up to 95%.

The machine has also undergone various other improvements. The Ink Recirculation System and Nozzle Shooting System have been integrated, and both are designed to operate on IDLE as well as while printing. These upgrades allow the customer to maintain the ink constantly flowing, preventing any sedimentation. They also keep the nozzles activated, resulting in improved printing quality. These upgrades also extend the life of the filters and degassers, and they allow for the same print quality and performance to be offered across different printing hobs and printing designs.

Easy-Clean, This is another upgrade. It is designed to improve the cleaning of the carriage plate and prevent damage.

The JP7 has also been redesigned. The new casing has a lighter design, and the interior space layout is more logical than ever before. This allows for the best placement of electronic and mechanical components.

Gradus, The new dryer that was designed specifically to work with the system allows you to dry and cure a white roll in just one step. You can then insert it into a machine and it will be ready to sell. This solution has many collateral effects, including a faster time to market and a flow that is almost print-on-demand. Gradus also has the lowest energy consumption possible, the best emission control, and a modularity which contributes to the reduction of CO2 in the whole process.

New software, which combines both the calibration and printing software, has been developed to make calibration simple and intuitive. The full integration of such software into the system allows to halve the calibration time, increase the colour yield up to 20 per cent and increase the colour’s brightness up to 15 per cent.

Our innovative solution makes pigment printing a simple and waterless process. This allows customers to create a sustainable supply chain while ensuring cost-effective output. Our solution has the advantage of being a fully inline printing system, which allows pigment printing to be done almost instantly. This inline system is available to our customers, and its pieces are designed to work together in order to maximize output. It also reduces costs, emissions, water, and energy consumption. We started the project with sustainability in mind. Every year, 45 billion garments are not sold and thrown away in the fashion industry alone. This is because of overproduction. Companies are producing more and more to satisfy market demands and take advantage scale economy.

It is important to consider the impact of your company on the environment. There are many discussions about greenwashing. All the media, activists, researchers and scholars have expressed their concern about this problem that has become so prevalent in our day. It means that vague claims about the commitment to green of a business are no longer accepted blindly. What is greenwashing, then? Definition is not an easy task. The lack of clarity could mislead those in the textile value-chain who are looking for sustainable partners but find it difficult to identify them. The customers, who increasingly understand the importance of working with companies that operate transparently and buying their products, as well as investing in them are left in a difficult situation. But, there are some key factors to recognise the authenticity of a company’s commitment to sustainability, such as consistency, tradition, actions and certifications. The next steps companies have to take in this industry are clear: no more time to walk, let’s run to a greener future.