The new machine, which is sold in the UK by Mimaki’s distributor Hybrid Services, joins the TX400-1800D direct-to-fabric and the TS500-1800 and TS34-1800A transfer paper printers in Mimaki’s textile printing range.

Like its predecessor, the TX400-1800D, Mimaki’s TX500-1800B can print reactive dye, sublimation dye, acid dye and pigment inks, making it compatible with a range of pre-treated fabrics, including: cotton; silk, nylon and wool; polyester or transfer paper. All inks come in two litre ink bottles.

The machine’s have similar print widths with the TX500 marginally narrower at 1,820mm to the TX400’s 1,850mm. Minimum print width on the TX500 is 210mm and it can handle media weights of up to 60kg and thicknesses up to 5mm.

One of the main differences is in speed, where the TX500 is almost 1.5x as fast as the TX400 in comparable print modes (eight-colour, 600x600dpi, eight pass bi-directional printing) with an output of 60sqm.

In four-colour printing, the TX500 has a maximum print speed of 140sqm/hr (in 300x300dpi draft mode), dropping to a maximum eight-colour print speed of 85sqm/hr at the same resolution.

At its highest 600×1,200dpi resolution, the TX500 has a maximum four-colour print speed of 45sqm/hr and a maximum eight-colour speed of 22sqm/hr.

Features include a conveyor belt that feeds the fabric without tension, enabling high-quality printing on elastic materials, and a variable dot function that is said to deliver “rich gradation without banding” and “accurate printing of fine lines”.

Mimaki Europe general marketing manager, EMEA, Mike Horsten said: “We believe that the TX500-1800B will speed up the gradually growing transition to digital printing in the worlds of textile and apparel.

“Fashion designers and others in the industry will be able to produce vibrant small lot products on unique materials that were not readily available for digital printing in the past. This includes cotton, silk, hemp and rayon.”

He added that the TX500 used less ink and water, resulting in less waste, than other printing methods.

Pricing was unavailable at the time of writing, but is expected to be announced before the end of the year. The TX400-1800D costs from £55,000.