Reggiani Macchine, a manufacturer of equipment for textile printing and enhancement of textiles and Ciba Specialty Chemicals, a supplier of chemical-based solutions, have announced a new alliance with Aprion Digital Ltd.

The alliance continues Aprion's strategy of introducing its inkjet printing technology into specialty markets by forming partnerships with expert organisations in each sector. Market research conducted by Aprion Digital has identified considerable potential for inkjet printing from high-end fashion houses and 'haute couturiers'. The alliance is in line with Reggiani's aim to satisfy the expectations and evolving needs of the textile market, which are: greater flexibility, reduction of cycle times through high speed printing, widening of the product range, shortening of pre-sample collection fulfillment times, customer tailor-made production and elimination of unsold stock.

The product which has been developed by Reggiani, but is based on Aprion Digital's MAGIC digital printing technology and special inks from Ciba Specialty Chemicals, will allow fashion houses and haute couturiers to test fabrics in runs of up to 1,000 meters at a time, rather than typically ten times that quantity. Market research has similarly indicated strong interest in the mass customisation capabilities of digital printing for creating unique and personalized clothing.

Reggiani will use its special printing blanket technology in conjunction with Aprion's existing printing technology and special inks from Ciba Specialty Chemicals to design, integrate and market a new generation of productive, short run textile digital printing machines.

Aprion's core technology, known as "MAGIC" (Multiple Array Graphic Inkjet Color), is based on inkjet heads with a multilayer construction. Reggiani's expertise in textile handling and its reputation in the textile marketplace offers the opportunity to develop systems for fast and inexpensive mass customisation of fabrics. Ciba Specialty Chemicals will be responsible for the development and production of the special Ciba textile inks for this product.

Dr Marco Fontana, project manager of Reggiani Macchine, said: "Fast fulfillment of short-run items has always been an aim for those in the textile industry, and particularly those in the fashion business. We have been watching digital developments in the printing industry with great interest for a number of years. I feel confident that Aprion has the technology, which coupled with our specialised systems and special inks from Ciba, will unlock new business and applications."