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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Sectors covered
Technology innovation in textile & clothing
Innovation priority
Advanced digitised manufacturing, value chains and business models
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Introduction

'PRIMULA – print me unique labels', wants to establish a new on-demand production method of digital printing on apparels and clothes. The partnership is composed of the technology provider, PROFACTOR (an Austrian non-university research institution), and the SME, ENHANCED INKJET (from Slovakia).

Inkjet printing is one of the promising techniques in the digitisation of textile printing. Additionally, an automated process with robots can help to bring production from Asia back to Europe due to a reduction in labour costs. Robot-based inkjet printing is a novel method combining both techniques and creating more possibilities with more freedom of design and shape.

The project aims to develop and implement the automated integrated system for online production of tailor-made apparel, shifting the complete value chain.
The PRIMULA project's concept is to duplicate a robot-based inkjet printing system (an industrial inkjet print head on a 6-axis robot) at PROFACTOR and improve it for printing T-shirts on fixed mannequins. The process of inkjet printing on 3D curved surfaces has different challenges, which will be solved throughout the project (process, materials, quality control).

We want to confirm the digital ink printing approach for textiles and then transfer the system to an ENHANCED INKJET site in Slovakia to implement it in the planned industrial environment.

Objectives

  • Inkjet robot replica: an inkjet printing robotic system will be replicated at PROFACTOR. In robot-based inkjet printing, an industrial inkjet print head is operated by a 6-axis robot. With the robot, there is freedom of design with the possibility to print colour on curved or more complex objects, in this case, a mannequin wearing a T-shirt, blouse or shirt.
  • Printing process: The printing process is validated at PROFACTOR and commercial inks for printing on textiles are tested and selected together with ENHANCED INKJET. The issue of appropriate materials, as well as precise knowledge of the process, must be integrated into a suitable system. Each component of the system needs to be tuned to the process.
  • Final transfer to ENHANCED INKJET and set-up: The whole system is transferred to ENHANCED INKJET and built-up there together. ENHANCED INKJET can help with their expertise in integrating an automatic ink supply for industrial use.
  • Establishing Start-up 'Made2mybody': The industrial realisation takes place through start-up company 'Made2mybody' (which already exists, but without VAT number and sales). Made2mybody will provide the system and equipment to 'high street' brands, retailer chains and even independent stores based on a franchise concept for the regional production of an on-demand label and pattern printing on clothes and apparel.

Outcome of ELIIT project support

Impact (to date): The financial support from ELIIT enables us to further develop the first phase of our project and validate the idea of an implementation of the mass customisation process within the global apparel industry.

Partners

SME: ENHANCED INKJET s.r.o.

Country: Slovakia
Year of creation: 2007
Background: ENHANCED INKJET's expertise includes unique technologies such as printing liquid crystals (LC) at high temperatures or printing human cells and tissue.
More information: company website

Technical provider: Profactor GmbH

Country: Austria
Year of creation: 1995
Background: PROFACTOR is a non-university research institution owned by Upper Austrian Research (UAR, 49%) and the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT, 51%). The range of research topics includes robotic assistive systems, image processing, and additive manufacturing using functional surfaces and nanostructures.
More information: company website