News Release

Industrial Digital Textile Printing: Epson Announces Two New Innovation Hubs in Como, Italy

- The Innovation Research Lab and The Printing Research Center, in collaboration with For.tex and F.lli Robustelli, aim to develop and promote the digital textile printing industry worldwide -

- MILAN, Italy, and TOKYO, Japan, 14 December 2016 -

Seiko Epson Corporation (TSE: 6724, "Epson") a pioneer of digital textile printing, announces two new hub sites dedicated to the development of new industrial digital textile products. The Innovation Research Lab, focusing on ink technology R&D, has been created by Epson together with For.Tex. The Printing Research Center, in collaboration with F.lli Robustelli, a major player in production engineering for textile printers and recently acquired by Epson, will aid future development of Epson inkjet core technology dedicated to textile printing.

The two new sites join Epson's established Textile Solution Center in Como, Italy. With the opening of these facilities, Epson, For.Tex and F.lli Robustelli have realized their vision to create a worldwide hub for the digital textile printing industry based in Italy.

"We are delighted to announce the establishment of the Innovation Research Lab and The Printing Research Center in Como," said Sunao Murata, chief operating officer, of Epson's Professional Printing Operations Division. "These state-of-the-art R&D facilities symbolise Epson's strong commitment to accelerating the development of digital textile inkjet printing both in the Como region and the rest of the world."

The Digital Textile Printing Industry

In 2014 alone, approximately 31 billion sqm of fabric was printed worldwide, of which approximately 2-3% was produced using digital technologies*1. 2015 represented a landmark year for the digital textiles market which, according to WtiN Intelligence, print volume is expected to increase by about 17% year on year until 2019*2.

The use of digital technologies for printing drawings, patterns and visual effects on textiles and other surfaces is well established and is growing quickly, replacing traditional analogue technologies in several areas. Digital technologies used in industrial volume production create a challenge for inks and auxiliary chemical compound manufacturers. However, thanks to technological innovation, the digital printing market is constantly evolving with customers requesting products capable of supporting the complete manufacturing cycle and that ensure quality, productivity and reliability without compromise.

The Innovation Research Lab

With the aim of researching and developing new inks for industrial digital printing on a wide array of materials, the Innovation Research Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and is staffed with a team of highly-skilled technologists and researchers (chemical engineers, chemical analysts, lab technicians, etc.). The Lab is committed to research that will increase industrial ink performance and sustainability on behalf of Epson.

The Printing Research Center

The Printing Research Center, located in F.lli Robustelli' head office, will aid product development of inkjet core devices, ensuring the continued development of the highest quality textile printers for Epson.

Commitment to innovation and excellence

Epson, F.lli Robustelli and For.tex have been collaborating since 2003, when they launched the Monna Lisa digital textile printer. In 2014 the Textile Solution Center (TSC) was established as the world's first hub for the development and promotion of digital fabric printing with the aim of increasing quality, productivity and reliability of digital printing technologies*3. The center, created with an overall investment of 2 million euros, brings the entire industrial production process under one roof and provides invaluable support to textile businesses, young designers, fashion schools and institutes. This 3,000 sqm facility provides a unique opportunity to reproduce the industrial process of digital fabric printing, from pre-treatment and actual printing to steaming, washing, drying and finishing.

*1 Provost Ink Jet Consulting Ltd, 2015
*2 World Textile Market Outlook, 2016
*3 According to For.Tex research (as of April 2014)

About Epson
Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to connecting people, things and information with its original efficient, compact and precision technologies. With a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers and digital printing systems to 3LCD projectors, smart glasses, sensing systems and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovations and exceeding customer expectations in inkjet, visual communications, wearables and robotics.
Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 73,000 employees in 91 companies around the world, and is proud of its contributions to the communities in which it operates and its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impacts.

About For.Tex
For.Tex, located in Fino Mornasco (Como, Italy), is a company 100% owned by Epson Italia. Established in the Italian market as a trusted provider for dyes, thickeners and specialty for printing, For.Tex has established and consolidated its expansion to overseas markets with a particular focus on the Asian market with which it has established over the years a fruitful collaboration in particular with the most qualified Japanese companies producing dyes, specialty for printing and specialty for the essential treatments agents of high innovative content. In 2000 For.Tex has been chosen by SEIKO EPSON CORPORATION, as official partner in regards of the ink developments, of the MONNA LISA® project and for the GENESTA® ink.

About F.lli Robustelli
F.lli Robustelli s.r.l, located in Villa Guardia (Como, Italy), is a company 100% owned by Epson Italia. Operating since the 1950s, F.lli Robustelli has always designed and produced photogravure and textile printing machinery and systems. Thanks to an ongoing relationship with its clients and the ability to blend textile and mechanical knowhow with new digital technologies, F.lli. Robustelli has developed partnerships across the world. Over 15 years ago, F.lli Robustelli developed an important partnership with SEIKO EPSON CORPORATION that resulted in the MONNA LISA® project. For this project, the company product engineered the first digital textile printing machine on Epson print technology resulting in a product that is known in the textile industry as the best digital textile printer in the world and making of F.lli Robustelli one of the major players in the digital textile printing revolution.

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