Textile

Robintex’s bold installment of 3.2 million Euro MS LaRio digital printing machine: a revolution brought to the arena of textile printing in Bangladesh

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Robintex Group, a Germany-Bangladesh joint venture, demonstrated their prowess and farsightedness by recently installing the state of the art MS LaRio, the first and fastest ever single-pass digital printing machine in the world to rule the arena of AOP printing.

Where the speed of rotary screen printing is 30-60 meter per minute, Robintex’s newly installed machine beats it with an impressive top speed of 75 meters per minute with an added value of consistent quality and sustainability, challenging all previous technologies.

Robintex’s challenge taken to install the expensive 3.2 million Euro machine is the backbone of making history in the arena of digital printing in Bangladesh.

Sakhawat-Abu-Khair-Mohammed-Nasrin-Jahan-Moon-Robintex-Group- MS-LaRio
Figure 1: Sakhawat Abu Khair Mohammed, MD, Robintex Group, his wife Nasrin Jahan Moon, Director, Sourcing, Robintex Group and their daughter are having a walk beside MS LaRio.

Today we will look closely into their ingenious decision and courageous step to take Bangladesh one step ahead in producing value-added products and promoting environmental sustainability with the continuation of their pioneering efforts in the textile and apparel industry.

The digital revolution begins

Since 1996, Robintex Group, situated at Vulta, Narayanganj, has been operating in the export-oriented composite knit garment industry of Bangladesh.

Since its origin, it has been phenomenal in paving the way to adopt new technologies and ensuring environmental sustainability.

In ITMA 2019, the group’s Managing Director  Sakhawat Abu Khair Mohammed bought the MS LaRio machine. With his bold decision in this huge investment, a new era of digital printing in Bangladesh begins.

Table: MS Lario’s technical specifications at a glance. Information source: MS Printing Solutions.
Technical specifications
Printing technology Single-pass
Printing width 1800×3200
Max NR° of colors Up to 12. With these colors, unlimited new colors can be produced.
NR° of printheads According to configuration.

(Robintex’s MS LaRio has 204 printheads.)

Max speed 75 m/min
Printing resolution (DPI) 600×600
Print head native resolution (DPI) 600
Gray levels 16
Drop size From 4 to 72pi
Ink system Open
Software system Open

Why choosing MS LaRio?

If we boil it down, it will end up in three main reasons: super-fast production speed, superior quality & accuracy and impact towards environmental sustainability. We will look into all the key features that make LaRio stand out from all the previous technologies along with the reasons that gleamed at the visionary Managing Director of Robintex’s eyes to present MS LaRio to the country’s AOP world.

LaRio shook the world with single-pass magic

Multi-pass printing unlike the single-pass has slow production speed for its printhead’s to and fro movement and reduced overall sharpness which is a complete compromise in the print quality.

To overcome the limitations of multi-pass printing, Luigi Milini, the founder of MS Printing Solutions introduced the world with a whole new concept.

For his endeavor, LaRio came into the show with its magic as the first single-pass digital machine in 2010, shaking the world of textile printing.

MS-LaRio-printing-machine
Figure 2: A superior quality printed fabric is coming out from MS LaRio machine.

Why single-pass technology is special?

The LaRio single-pass textile printing enables faster printing at a superior quality due to the incorporation of many printheads instead of having a few moving to and fro over the substrate. In Robintex’s newly installed MS LaRio, there are 6 bars, each having 34 robust Kyocera printheads, resulting in an array of 204 heads, all ready to work according to the need of the design.

That is why, where a multi-pass printer can print around 6-7 meter per minute, MS LaRio, the monster printer, prints an astonishing 75 meter per minute, allowing flexibility, quick response and short production timing.

Challenging the world of rotary printing

Rotary printing machines had the fastest production speed till LaRio came to the market. Now LaRio challenges the world of rotary-printing machines with its super speed and quality.

Robintex’s challenge taken to install the expensive 3.2 million Euro machine is the backbone of making history in the arena of digital printing in Bangladesh.

When asked about the comparison between MS LaRio and rotary printing machine,  Sakhawat Abu Khair said, “Where, my rotary machine is costing me 6, 50, 000 Euro, MS LaRio cost 3.2 million euro, which is almost 5 times more.

But at the same time, LaRio has cost-saving factors too. For example, I don’t need any screen in LaRio. This is a machine that can produce unlimited colors. But in the rotary, I can produce a maximum of 12 colors. And for them, I need the screens.”

Cost-benefit-analysis-rotary-screen-printing-MS-LaRio
Figure 3: Cost-benefit analysis between rotary screen printing machine and MS LaRio. Courtesy: author

Moreover, in rotary, there is a requirement for the engraving department.   Sakhawat said, “For the screens, I have to set up the engraving department where engraving machine costs a lot of money. Engraving is time-consuming and needs the involvement of people.”

Two in one: sample and bulk production in the same machine

Generally, we need a separate sampling machine for sampling purposes along with the bulk production machine which creates extra cost and occupies extra space. But using MS LaRio, any size of the sample can be created at any time as there is no need for any screen preparation.

Non-stop winding technology to reduce downtime

LaRio minimizes the downtimes for roll changing by using their non-stop jumbo-roll winder which collects the folded-fabric.

Efficient belt control system to keep the printing media stable and ensure maximum productivity

According to MS Printing Solutions, LaRIO’s high-precision transportation belt control that moves the fabric guarantees the stability of the fabric and supports the very high speeds reached by LaRio.

Can be controlled in real-time

The so-called ‘Operational Wi-Fi remote control’ allows the users to reduce set-up times and downtimes. It also helps to check the printing progress, detect any process’ irregularities or warning signals in real-time.

Anti-crash head system to protect the heads

According to the company, LaRio is equipped with an advanced detection system (OLA) of the thickness and flatness of the fabric. OLA system measures the thickness variations, progressively changing the bars’ height during the transportation belt progression; stopping it in case of non-standard parameters.

Sakhawat-Abu-Khair-Mohammed-explaining-function-MS-LaRio
Figure 4: Sakhawat Abu Khair Mohammed explaining the function of MS LaRio to the author.

A one-stop solution, so no headache

Sakhawat Abu Khair said, “If something goes wrong with the inked, it becomes great havoc to fix. Moreover, it costs 5000 euro per piece, which is very expensive. It can become even worse if each party from machine, ink and inkhead keeps claiming it’s other’s fault.”

Explaining how Robintex took a step to prevent such a problem, Sakhawat said, “That’s why I’ve taken all the three- ink, head and machine-from one end. So, there’s no scope of blaming others. They’ll find the mistakes themselves and take the responsibility to solve them.”

It is pertinent to include that, more than 11 Italian experts from MS Printing Solutions came here from time to time and are helping hand in hand with Robintex-Group for a successful setup of MS LaRio.

Robintex-Italian-MS-LaRio-Service-Providers
Figure 5: Robintex with the Italian MS LaRio Service Providers.

Does the ink cost?

MS LaRio is an inkjet printer that has water-based inks.  Sakhawat said, “I’ve visited a lot of ink manufacturing companies in Spain during the ITMA 2019. I could get a similar price from other suppliers but could not get cheaper.”

To debunk the misconception about the ink price of digital printing,  Sakhawat said, “People once thought that rotary is cheaper, consumption is much less than the digital ink. But in textile, we cannot go for the price of the ink, we can go what percentage we use and what is the end cost per square meter fabric, as per my calculation which is cheaper than the conventional printing.”

Only eight people to run the show

Automation is enabling us to run huge operations with less manpower. MS LaRio is a great example of automation.  Sakhawat said, “For this huge sophisticated 3.2 million euro machine, I need a maximum of 7-8 people to run the whole show. Maybe I can also run with six.”

With MS LaRio, Robintex is playing its part in promoting environmental sustainability

To compare the previous printing technologies with MS LaRio’s stand on environmental sustainability,  Sakhawat gave the example of rotary printing. He said, “For rotary screen printing, after use, we have to wash the screen with water. So, we have a lot of wastewater. For LaRio, washing is not needed. So, we don’t need any ETP for that.”

MS-LaRio-remarkable-sustainability-achivement
Figure 6: MS LaRio’s remarkable sustainability information. Information source: MS LaRio Printing Solutions. Infographic courtesy: author.

“If we re-use the rotary screen, we’ve to perform the stripping process. This can be done with water or electricity and this is also not good for the environment and cost-effectiveness,” He added.

According to MS Printing Solutions, using LaRio, water-consumption can be reduced by 70% and the electric one by 30%, if compared to the traditional rotary printing.

Sakhawat further said, “In every rotary screen, we have to use nickel. But in LaRio, there isn’t any nickel issue. In the market, there is a slogan that the kid’s items should be nickel-free. But this is impossible with rotary screen.”

“Moreover, if you go to the factory, it’ll look very clean. There is no pollution, no environmental issue and I have the advantage of ensuring sustainability,” Sakhawat proudly added.

Level of environmental friendliness

For the inks, MS Printing Solutions complies with OEKOTEX-ECO PASSPORT, NIKE RSL, ADIDAS A01, ZDHC, OEKOTEX STD, GOTS, REACH and GHS. For the printing machine, they comply with ACIMIT Green Label, ACIMIT “Sustainable Technologies” Project, EU Labelling/Marking Requirements. This is the level of environmental friendliness Robintex is going to achieve with MS LaRio.

For processing large volumes with high speed and superior quality, there was always a need for an eco-friendly high-tech machine in the country. Robintex Group paved the way and filled the gap as a continuation of their efforts towards adopting the right technology and ensuring sustainability.

Their bold step of running this machine to take Bangladesh one step ahead in producing value-added products and promoting environmental sustainability will always be an inspiration for those who want to lead the future.

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