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Epson Sure Color SC-F9300

Brian Sims takes a look under the hood of the Epson Sure Color SC-F9300, a versatile dye-sublimation printer that will enable users to create textiles and signage, quickly and efficiently

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The printer has a width or 64” and can accept compatible papers from 0.4 to 1mm thick

A worthy flagship for Epson

What difference does one number in a model number really make? Well, Epson would be extremely keen to explain it makes quite a lot of difference. The Japanese leviathan recently pulled the covers off its brand new flagship sublimation textile printer, the Sure Color SC-F9300.

It replaces the Sure Color SC-F9200 at the top of the model list and the company promises the change in digit brings a generation upgrade in technology that “provides enhanced quality with even greater productivity and reliability”, to quote them directly. This printer has been designed to print on a vast array of materials, clothing, and soft signage, as was the Sure Color SC-F9200; however, the new model does this at a greatly increased speed and with better quality print reproduction.
 
So, the obvious question is, is the company right and does this new textile printer raise the bar?

Firstly, you have to be impressed by the speed at which the Sure Color SC-F9300 can lay down very vibrant colours with equally impressive half tone screens. The combination of new software, inks, and substrates means this printer can produce at up to 108 sq m/h.

The printer has a width of 64" (1,625mm) and can accept compatible papers from 0.4 to 1mm thick. The substrate is nothing without colour and this is supplied by Epson’s Variable Sized Droplet Technology in up to four colours: black, cyan, magenta, and yellow.

An important part of the upgrade process is the use of Ultra Chrome DS inks, which can provide almost any colour your client will need when combined in the correct proportions. Epson also makes a major contribution to improving the environment and build consumer confidence by ensuring the inks are now the recipient of the Oeko-Tex Eco Passport certification.

Consumers are very conscious of the apparel that they purchase and use. There is far heightened concern on the effects to our skin from what we wear and what our children wear. We like vivid yellows, greens, and oranges, but we also have those gremlins that question, ‘how do they make it so bright?’

Epson showcased work from fashion designer Richard Quinn at The Print Show, showing how its printers can be used to produce vibrant designs



Some of us may have old watches from our grandparents that have superbly luminous dial faces that shine brightly in the dark. However, casually pass a Geiger counter over them and you quickly understand just how we made things glow in the 1940s.

In this modern age, to counter our concerns, the Swiss-based organisation Oeko-Tex can provide the safe guards we seek through its certification program. This program has at its heart the control of the raw materials, products, and finishing chemicals used to produce the garments and products we use and have next to our skin. Epson has worked hard to ensure that its flagship printer can easily match the Eco Passport certification requirements set by Oeko-Tex and give its users peace of mind.

Epson has taken these concerns and consumer choices very much to heart when it considered the use of inks for the Sure Color SC-F9300. It has worked extensively to ensure the printer passes the Japanese AZO test for household products.

AZO dyes have been identified as causing 24 aromatic amines that have now been deemed harmful and must be eliminated from textiles and clothing. Epson has ensured the Ultra Chrome DS inks do not contain such chemicals, elevating the eco-standards of the printed materials printed on the Sure Color SC-F9300.

Vibrant prints

However, does this mean the inks used are going to degrade or lose their vibrancy? Well not according to Epson, which states the new Ultra Chrome DS inks are not only eco-safe, but also resistant to abrasion, have excellent light and wash fastness, and will produce long lasting vibrant and sharp colour with smooth graduation.

The new Ultra Chrome DS inks are not only eco-safe, but also resistant to abrasion, have excellent light and wash fastness, and will produce long lasting vibrant and sharp colour with smooth graduation


What else has Epson packed into this new flagship model that sits it on top of the stock list? Well, the machine comes with the latest upgrade to the software that controls the ink being deposited onto the substrate. The new software is the latest version of the Epson Precision Dot technology which will provide a wide colour gamut. The half-tone module, LUT, and micro weave technologies mean that banding and graininess is a thing of the past.

The new model comes with a number of additional features that ensures production is as seamless as possible and the printer runs for as long as possible prior to needing operator intervention.

There is a large diameter friction roller that has been cleverly designed in the printer that will ensure whatever substrate you are using is fed accurately, without creasing or dragging.

To avoid skewing, the Sure Color SC-F9300 is fitted with automatic initial skew devices meaning even the trickiest of substrates is in line prior to printing. With all these devices combined, it is clear to see why Epson make the bold statement on colour reproduction, as it has overcome the key battle of substrate stability.

Epson ensures users that the inks are now the recipient of the Oeko-Tex Eco Passport certification



There is LED lighting in the printer to help with the correct set up of the device and large ink reservoirs that will hold up to 1.5l of ink, meaning stopping to refill is made as infrequently as possible. Standard equipment, such as crash and head collision devices, are all included in the Sure Color SC-F9300, and the automatic dust catcher and wiping system means maintenance is kept to a minimum.

Wrapping the whole package neatly up is the new Epson Edge Print RIP software and Epson Edge Control Dashboard. This ensures that training is kept to a minimum and start-up times are greatly reduced. Finally, the LFP Accounting Tool helps you keep track of your running costs.

One final key point Epson stresses is that everything comes directly from the company. Be it ink, substrates, software, or support, everything coming from the OEM ensures it dovetails neatly together, which reduces the chance of incompatibility.

Be it ink, substrates, software, or support, everything coming from the OEM ensures it dovetails neatly together, which reduces the chance of incompatibility


So, does the Sure Color SC-F9300 deserve the title of flagship? I think it does and it is well worth a look.


Brian Sims, principal consultant, Metis Print Consultancy, www.metis-uk.eu


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