Durst used Fespa Digital as the launchpad for the world’s first 5m-wide dye-sublimation printer for the seamless production of soft-signage and fabrics.

The 9x3.5m, 7.5-tonne Rhotex 500 is taking centre stage on the Italian manufacturer’s stand at the show, where it will be running a wide-variety of live applications.

The 500 has a maximum speed of 310m2/hr in high speed mode, which reduces to 125m2/hr in two-pass production mode and 100m2/hr in high quality mode. It uses Durst’s Quadro S printheads with a 7pl, 14pl and 21pl variable drop size offering 400x600dpi. It has a standard CMYK colour channel configuration, with the option of additional light cyan, light magenta and light black and orange and violet colours. “The quality of the print is no longer an issue – it’s a given. What has always been the demand is seamless: the Rhotex 500 is about the feel, the touch, the look, our customers don’t want to have a seam in the middle and that is why they want 5m,” said Fabian Sottsas, Durst product manager, roll-to-roll printing.

“For us the key technical challenge was the guide and transport system for textiles 5m wide,” said Sottsas. “So what we did was build an entirely new patented transport system.”

The first beta machine was installed at Van Straaten in Amsterdam last month, with a second beta due to be installed at Bonn, Germany-based company Thamm shortly. Figarol in Saint Pierre des Corps, France has also signed up to be an early adopter and will take delivery of its machine later this month.