Digital textile printing specialist Ricoh is collaborating with Farbenpunkt to bring its new environmentally responsible textile ink to a wider audience.

Reducing the environmental impact of global textile production caused by using dye-based, such as reactive inks in digital and analogue processes, is the driver for the collaboration.

Farbenpunkt's PeractoJet ink is said to be ideal for apparel applications, and delivers more than 90% savings in fresh and wastewater use, as well as 50% savings in energy use for a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. Also, no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are emitted, the companies add.

The combination allows a simplified digital textile print production process that eliminates the need for high water and energy consuming stages of pre-treatment and post-treatment. It also uses hot air fixation at a relatively low temperature of 140-160°C, delivers a quick fixation time of two to four minutes, and ensures consistent and reliable results on synthetic, natural, and mixed fibres.

In addition, it meets or exceeds "all industry specifications for strict colour fastness tests for washing, wet and dry rubbing, lightfastness, and ageing."

The ink is also compliant with REACH, the European Union regulation for the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. And it has an Oeko-Tex Eco-Passport, an independent certification for chemicals, colourants and accessories used in textile production. 

The collaboration "allows us to support a production sector looking for ways to address growing questions around sustainability," says Graham Kennedy, director, industrial print, Ricoh Europe.

"Digitally producing textiles with vastly reduced water waste and eliminating energy intensive pre and post treatment stages delivers huge environmental benefits. This disruptive ink offering therefore enables more cost effective production and allows manufacturers to consider establishing local production capabilities through reshoring. 

"This is especially important now when we are seeing a growth in on demand digital production spurred on by the impact of the pandemic on consumer habits and business operations."

For Farbenpunkt managing director, Etienne Steveninck, the partnership "allows us to bring this high performing, versatile ink to a wider audience. It will enable textile manufacturers to produce large volumes, quickly, on a range of materials, meet strict accreditation standards, and contribute to the sustainability of our planet."