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Report | September 2018

Zimmer Colaris: The next-gen digital printer

Colaris inkjet printing for carpets, which represents the next generation of digital printing technology, is based on the know-how gained from its ChromoJET technology, which is a benchmark in the industry.

Zimmer Austria, which has decades of expertise in all kinds of printing, started with flat screen printing in 1962, rotary screen printing in the 70s and the digital ChromoJET printing system for carpets since 1980.

Different digital technologies are available to print carpets and other pile products:
  • ChromoJET – spot colour printing with resolution up to 25 dpi and premixed colours
  • ChromoJET – process colour printing with resolution up to 76 dpi where the shade is mixed on the carpet out of a number of base colours (up to 16 base colours to print many shades).
  • Colaris inkjet printing technology with high resolution is used to print the right shade out of a number of base colours.

    Colaris inkjet printing for carpets represents the next generation of digital printing technology. Based on the know-how gained from its ChromoJET technology, which is a benchmark in the industry, Zimmer has developed Colaris – an improved version of ChromoJET technology that uses industrial piezo print heads. Inkjet printing is a technology which involves precision mechanics, high speed electronics, chemistry and fluid dynamics. ChromoJET uses a combination of many colours, up to 16 feed colours, to print on the carpets. Colaris uses only 4 to 8 feed colours and yet can produce limitless colour combinations. It does not have any limitations in its printing range in terms of designs.

    Comparative features of Colaris as against ChromoJET:
  • High resolution from 400 X 400 up to 400 X 1,600 dpi (as against from 25 to 76)
  • Print multiple shades out of only 4, 6 or 8 base colours (as compared to 16 feed colours in ChromoJET)
  • No washing of system is required between design or colour changes and almost no wastage of ink
  • Best penetration on carpets with pile height up to 12 mm and pile weights from 100 to 800 gsm
  • Newly developed press station enhances penetration dramatically on high pile carpets
  • No colour kitchen needed
  • Ink laydown is limited to 10-200 gsm (as compared to a dye laydown of up to 5000 gsm
  • Chemicals and thickeners are applied separately from ink in case of inkjet printing as against chemicals and thickeners are added in the dye paste in case of ChromoJET printing.

    Zimmer Colaris inkjet printer uses StarFire high performance industrial inkjet print heads with high firing frequency and high drop velocity which are repairable by the customer.

    Zimmer Austria offers three different models of the new high-performance industrial inkjet print heads from FUJI- Dimatix. The StarFire™ SG1024 (SA/MA/LA) is a compact, self-contained unit built to withstand demanding industrial textile and other applications.

    It uses proven materials to deliver consistent output over a long service life with continuous ink recirculation and single colour operation at 400 dpi. It is equipped with a single replaceable metal nozzle plate that is designed to withstand abrasion and resist damage.

    In inkjet printing the ink penetration may be low in case of light colours in comparison to dark shades because there is not enough liquid to distribute and flush down into the pile. Zimmer Austria’s wet-in-wet printing and the use of a liquid penetration booster overcomes this issue and flushes down the inkjet droplets into the pile even for lighter shades.

    The Zimmer Colaris is equipped with software that is provided with carpet specific functions like endless repeat, print resolution can be set/changed to get the required ink amount for better penetration, cutting and status line can be printed at the side of the carpet, etc.

    The print resolution determines the ink amount applied to the carpet and can vary from 200 x 400 dpi up to 400 x 1200 dpi . This covers a pile weight range of about 200 to 1,600 gsm out of polyamide and wool with acid dyes, polyester and modified polyester with disperse dyes and cotton and cellulose with reactive dyes.

    Zimmer generally recommends the use of red, blue, yellow and black for polyamide and magenta, cyan, yellow and black for polyester. These 4 colours can create a very wide shade palette. Depending on fibre and final application of the carpet, Zimmer suggest to select the right ink set to get the best light fastness, crock fastness, wash fastness, and chlorine fastness.

    No wonder, the demand for Colaris inkjet printing is growing very fast which shows the acceptability of the system for carpet printing. Zimmer has installed more than 25 printing system around the world during a short span of time. The Colaris inkjet printers are in operation across the countries such as Belgium, France, India, Germany, Austria, China, UK, Iran, etc. Zimmer Colaris inkjet printing, undoubtedly, is the futuristic solution and is being preferred by the discerning printers all over the world.

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