Keypoint Intelligence has announced the commercial availability of a series of in-depth reports based on its independent tests of a range of DtF (direct-to-film) printers, ranging from desktop to 1.6m models, from a range of well-known manufacturers.

The company, which manages the annual BLI Awards, launched its DtF test programme in 2023, and claims that ‘many of the biggest names [were] keen to seize the unique opportunity to showcase their product performance and be seen as open to independent scrutiny’.

Test are conducted at the manufacturer’s site over two days and involve supplied artwork and garments. Both ‘production’ and highest quality modes are tested to get around promotional claims that may present mutually incompatible settings, and consistently applied across four key criteria – productivity, image quality, ink consumption and washability.

Each device tested receives a detailed 12-page report, which contains all the data gathered over the course of testing. At the end of the year the performance of all the devices tested to date, was analysed for each area and Keypoint chose its ‘picks’ in various device categories.

Lab director David Sweetnam told Digital Textile Printer that ‘The number of DtF/DtG devices that we have tested up to now is 12, ranging from desktop to 1.6m roll to roll. We have already worked with Polyprint, Mimaki, Ricoh, Roland, STS and another vendor, under NDA for a pre-launch product.

‘We have tests booked in the coming months with Ricoh (Pro 10 and the new D1600), Polyprint (FilmJet), Mimaki (TxF300-75), SD EnjoyPrint multiple DtG/DtF devices (via a test visit to China) and commitments from Resolute and InkTec to have test visits as soon as our schedules allow for it, plus more in conversation at the moment in EU, US and Asia.’

Over the course of 2024 Mr Sweetnam says Keypoint will be running a series of group tests to provide more insight. Each group test will investigate a different factor that can affect successful DtF production. The first test, which began in Q1 looks at washing factors and how they can impact garment durability, investigating how washing temperature and spin cycle interact.