Output road test: the Mutoh ValueJet 2628TD
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By Sophie Matthews-Paul
8 March 2012
There’s a choice of ink types with the Mutoh ValueJet 2628TD
At FESPA’s Print Shop Live event in Barcelona the textile printer we were demonstrating on the stand was a machine from Mutoh’s current portfolio of solutions. The ValueJet 2628TD is the larger of a duo of systems which are designed to print direct to polyester fabrics or via dye-sublimation paper. As its name suggests, this is a 2.6m printer with a decent throughput speed, and one that offers workhorse capabilities for this market sector.
This machine uses piezo drop-on-demand print-head technology with its two heads featuring 180 nozzles and eight channels. It is able to be used with three dye types, these being transfer dye-sublimation ink, a direct option or an aqueous-based modified pigment formulation. The ValueJet 2628TD is designed to accommodate the production of all sorts of soft signs, flags, banners and other display options which can be printed on textile. It’s also suitable for sports apparel, fine art prints and interior furnishings.
We ran this machine non-stop for the four days of Print Shop Live and it never faltered, producing good quality prints generated using an Onyx RIP and finished on a Setema calender. Although in this instance it was used to demonstrate an integrated inline print-and-fix solution, the ValueJet 2628TD can also be run (as can the calender) as a stand-alone unit so configuration can be arranged according to workflow preferences.
Productivity includes print speeds of up to a maximum of 41.5 sq m/hr, with connectivity via ethernet. There are two options for running the ink, either as dual CMYK or as eight colours. Although there is a maximum resolution of 1440 dpi, the output option of 720 x 720 dpi is more than adequate for the majority of soft sign applications, including back-lits which tend to be more demanding in terms of opacity and image sharpness.
The ValueJet 2628TD is happy working with open and closed structure non-stretch polyester fabrics, so that makes it good for all types of displays where textile is now becoming a viable alternative. Typical applications include show and event graphics as well as banners, flags and general signs. But this machine can also turn its hand to other products where sublimation scores. Using it in its two-step mode, and printing onto carrier paper, the machine can also be used in the promotional goods market as its output can be transferred to mouse mats, mugs and other items with a polyester-based surface suitable for the process. The width of this printer means that it’s easy to produce multiples and nested jobs for longer runs or mixed finished items, which adds a versatile element to its capabilities.
In common with other products in the Mutoh stable, this printer benefits from the company’s i2 intelligent interweaving which is designed to eliminate banding. Head strikes aren’t likely to happen, as adjustments can be made to accommodate even the most sensitive of materials, and there’s a tensioning system to assist with optimal media feed.
Again, to protect the heads and prevent any splash-backs, there is an ink gutter which collects any ink that’s not absorbed by the material. The machine also comes with a tension bar and take-up unit, with optional heavy-duty versions if required.
This is a good option that offers a respectable performance to sign-makers and display producers who want to enter the soft sign and display markets. Because it can sit inline with a calender it’s good for unattended operation.
The ValueJet 2628TD is suitable for displays and apparel printed onto polyester-based fabrics. In transfer mode the machine can also be used to generate graphics for rigid polyester materials.
Pros and cons
This machine is ideal for those familiar with textile printing and who want a well-priced unit which sits above an entry-level unit but is still pretty keenly priced. Purchasers will need to factor in additional cost and floor space for a matched-width calender for fixation of printed jobs. Newcomers to dye sublimation need to make sure that training is included to account for the idiosyncrasies of the process.
Mutoh’s ink-jet pedigree includes a history of printers in the digital textile market-place, and the ValueJet 2628TD is typical of a mid-range production unit that does what it says on the tin.
Ease of use: 3/5
Comments in chronological order (Total 1 comments)
08 March 2012 4:02PM
The ValueJet 2628TD will also be on show at the forthcoming Sign & Digital UK on the Mutoh stand (H32) along with it's little brother the ValueJet 1628TD.