Ricoh has introduced a direct-to-film (DtF) solution that can be retrofitted onto its existing Ri 1000 and Ri 2000 direct-to-garment (DtG) printers. Ricoh says the new solution, which will be available across the EMEA region from April of this year, will allow users to print onto a wider range of fabrics and broaden their ability to produce custom, short run, on demand, garments.

DtF works by printing on a special PET film which is subsequently transferred onto garments. It prints a CMYK layer first and adds a white layer on top, a reversal of the standard DtG configuration.

Ricoh believes that the new solution will printers to create more value from their DtG investment, with the process allowing for pre-printed designs to be transferred to garments, without the need for pre-heating, using heat transfer technology. Designs can also be pre-produced on PET film and stored as ready to go transfer film for quick application.

The range of materials that can be printed directly as a result of DtF technology include those with water repelling surfaces like leather, nylon, and Gore-Tex. Furthermore, its high fastness at heavy duty washing cycles and highly durable results makes it particularly suitable for polyester-based applications, such as workwear and sportswear. The company adds that DtF is ‘ideal’ for corporate branding items, such as umbrellas and backpacks.

Axel Stuhlreiter, the head of textile solutions at Ricoh Europe, commented, ‘The innovative technology enhances the versatility and flexibility of Ricoh’s leading DTG printers. In just a few simple steps they can be transformed to enable DtF printing on a wide range of materials and deliver a greater variety of applications. The fast and simple process achieves highly creative results quickly and affordably.’