Living The Digital Dream
Cassina Rizzardi uses next-generation textile-printing
technology from MS Printing Solutions to grow its business and
optimize operating costs.
We all remember the days when film cameras were at the
cutting edge of photographic technology. They ascended to those
heights because the film was easy to load, use and develop,
especially when compared to the old days when cumbersome
photographic plates and darkrooms were required to produce a
photographic image. Photographic technology took another
gigantic leap forward when the digital camera was invented,
which eliminated the need for film, the trip to the store to get
the film developed and even the uncertainty of how the pictures
would turn out.
But as with anything new, users who have grown
accustomed to the old ways can be leery of the new. Some textile
printers in the fashion industry fell into this camp when new
digital textile printing came onto the market some 15 years ago.
Though they could see the benefits of digital printing, they
were still married to the old screen or rotogravure (rotary)
printing technologies. This means that they may be consciously
forsaking the advantages in terms of optimized printing times,
costs and, most significantly, quality that converting to next
generation digital ink-jet printing machines can provide.
Federico Curti, President of Stamperia Di Cassina Rizzardi
(SCR), right, and his son, Lino, Vice President of
Operations, have fully embraced digital textile printing,
and took that commitment to the next level with the recent
purchase of a first-of-its-kind MS LaRio Single-Pass
Ink-Jet Printer from MS Printing Solutions.
“It’s a very conservative industry and they are not
really open to the change; some people still don’t consider
digital as an industrial solution,” said Paolo Milini, Vice
President, Sales & Business Development for MS Printing
Solutions S.r.l., Caronno Petrusella, Italy, a developer of
digital ink-jet printing systems. “Implementing new technology
takes time, but eventually digital printing will become accepted
like seat belts in a car,” says Paolo Milini, MS Printing
To illustrate that reluctance, though digital textile
printing has been a viable technology for nearly 10 years the
latest usage figures indicate that it accounted for just 3% of
the textile-printing market in 2015. Despite that, some industry
insiders are confident that rate will grow to 20% of the market
by the end of 2020.
“We think it’s crazy to do traditional printing today.”
Federico Curti, President, Stamperia di Cassina Rizzardi (SCR).
To elaborate on his point, Curti noted that in 2007 not a
single meter of textile printing done by SCR was digital,but by
2011, 50% of the company’s printing was of the digital variety,
and he estimates that as much as 80% of the printing will be
done digitally in 2016.
In addition to higher print quality, there are several other
significant benefits to digital printing – most notably, savings
in time and space, faster print speeds and the ability to print
with both reactive inks, which are used with fabrics like wool,
cotton and silk, and disperse inks, which must be used with
polyester. The most notable benefit of the LaRio’s ability to
dispense both types of inks from the same machine is that the
changeover time between inks is only 10 minutes, compared to 120
minutes associated with traditional printing.
Additional benefits of digital
- The time and resources needed to prepare and clean the
components (screens, cylinders, etc.) on traditional machines
are eliminated. “There is a big difference with water usage.
When you print with digital, you need nothing, just put the
fabric on the machine,” said Curti. “With traditional
printing, you have to put an order into the color kitchen, you
have to mix the ink, have to prepare the cylinders, have to
clean the screens. Then the color kitchen may be closed, or a
cylinder may break, which will delay the print run at least 24
- Changeover time between production runs is greatly
reduced. “You only need time to change fabrics, around 10
minutes, and if you don’t need to change fabrics, it takes one
minute to change the digital files versus 120 minutes for
traditional printing,” marveled Lino Curti, Federico’s son and
SCR’s Vice President of Operations.
- Digital printing allows for faster printing speeds, but
with no loss in printing quality. “The quality is the same no
matter what speed you print at and the speed is capped only by
the rate that the ink can be injected,” said Lino Curti.
- SCR used to need 3,000 square meters (10,000 square feet)
of space to store its printing screens and cylinders, but
without the need for those traditional printing components,
that space can now be used to store more fabrics.
“The cost of the ink can still be prohibitive,”
acknowledged Luigi Milini, Founder and President of MS Printing
Solutions, “but that cost can be offset by the fact that you
don’t need to buy screens or cylinders, and you have lower
cleaning, fabric preparation, maintenance and downtime costs,
you just change the digital file. With traditional printing,
changeovers would take 40 to 60 minutes because you would have
to clean the screens and cylinders. You would also have to use
500 liters (130 gallons) of water to clean the screens, which is
a large amount, and then you’d have to dispose of the
wastewater. Plus, digital offers a bigger range of designs than
rotary, and you can offer designs that are so beautiful!”
The MS LaRio not only revolutionizes the textile-printing
process, but it can be controlled from anywhere in the
world via iPad, iPhone or any other handheld device.
A perfect partnership
SCR’s conversion to digital printing was aided by having a
partner that was committed to the cause in MS Printing
Solutions. After being in business for nearly two decades as a
designer, developer and distributor of screen and rotary
technologies for use in high-end, roll-to-roll textile printing,
Luigi Milini made the critical, forward-thinking decision in
2002 to replace the old technologies and go all in on the
digital-printing revolution. MS Printing Solutions, which was
acquired by Dover Corporation, Downers Grove, IL, USA, in 2014,
produced its last conventional machine in 2007 after building
around 2,000 of the machines between 1983 and 2007.
SCR firmly entered the digital-printing universe in 2007 with
the purchase of 10 MS JP5 Ink Jet Digital Printers from MS
Printing Solutions, which at the time could print at a maximum
speed of 20 linear meters an hour. Today, the same machines can
print at 100 linear meters per hour max. The company later added
a pair of larger MS JP7 models with a maximum printing speed of
335 linear meters an hour.
Those purchases, though, were just the appetizer before the
main course. Luigi Milini began developing what he would
eventually call the MS LaRio in 1996 (LaRio is the name of the
northernmost of the three branches of nearby Lake Como; in fact,
the stylistic “A” in the graphic representation of the LaRio
name is an outline of the famous lake). Nearly a
decade-and-a-half later, in 2010, the LaRio was launched as the
world’s first “single pass” digital printer.
Other digital printers operate in a similar fashion
to inkjet paper printers with a scanner gliding back and forth
laterally to dispense the ink onto the fabric as it moves
through the machine.
Since the printing heads on the MS LaRio are fixed, there
can be no loss of alignment as the ink is dispensed, which
helps eliminate printing errors.
Alternatively, the fabric is sent straight through
the LaRio, which is roughly the size of a subway car, with the
digitally controlled printing heads – which can be programmed
and operated through the use of an iPad from anywhere in the
world with no measurable degradation in print quality –
dispensing the ink as the fabric passes beneath them.
“Customers have said to us that I came to you because you
have a LaRio.” Federico Curti, President Stamperia di Cassina
One look at the capabilities that the LaRio, which is the
only single-pass digital printer in the world that works with
both reactive and disperse inks, would bring to his printing
operation and Federico Curti was sold.
“In 2015, we started thinking about the single pass
because the market was changing and we needed to break out of
the market,” he said. “It was emotional to go with the LaRio, we
thought it was crazy, but here we are. We saw that single pass
could be a new way for us to improve digital printing. The LaRio
is incredible. We can do 40 to 50 meters (131 to 164 feet) per
minute, double the speed of rotary, with none of the problems of
Though SCR still does a great deal of its textile printing
with traditional rotary machines (foreground), the
addition of the MS LaRio will help put the company at the
forefront of the digital-printing revolution.
“The LaRio is like two machines in one,” added Lino
Curti. “The quality is the same no matter what speed you print
at, and we’re currently printing at 35 meters (114 feet) per
minute, while the LaRio has a maximum of 75 meters (246 feet).
And with the LaRio the heads are stable, the alignment is fixed;
with other types of printing it can be hard to print in the same
Coupled with an equally large MS Maxi-D Fabric Dryer from MS
Printing Solutions, the LaRio setup takes up an entire wall in
SCR’s printing shop, but with the space saved through the
elimination of the need for screen storage, it looks like a
natural fit in the facility.
Confronting change can always be a scary proposition, but
when it can be accomplished with a trusted partner at your side,
the task is made easier. Federico and Lino Curti knew digital
textile printing was the future and they also knew that MS
Printing Solutions was a trendsetter in the transition to the
new technology, with the LaRio setting a new standard within
that realm. This year alone, SCR anticipates it will print two
million meters (6.6 million feet) of fabric on the LaRio machine
out of the more than seven million meters (23 million feet) it
will produce this year.
Luigi Milini, Founder and President of MS Printing
Solutions, left, committed his company fully to digital
textile printing in 2007, and Federico and Lino Curti have
also embraced his digital
vision at SCR.
“We feel the market is very interested in SCR now because we
have a LaRio,” said Federico Curti. “Customers have said to us
that I came to you because you have a LaRio. The market is happy
we have a LaRio; it has helped us change our approach to the
Sargodah Cloth Processing Mills acquires first MS LaRio in
Sargodah Cloth Processing Mills Ltd based
in Faisalabad has placed the order for the first LaRio to be
installed in Pakistan. This state of the art single pass machine
is with 210 heads for an initial production of 40,000 to 60,000
metres per day. The machine has already been shipped and is in
the process of erection and commissioning with the production
expected to start end of November 2017.
According to Mr. Khalid Aleem, Director
Business Systems International (BSI), this is indeed a milestone
for Pakistan’s textile printing industry. The teams of BSI and
MS Italy shall be present at DPS World Exhibition at Lahore Expo
Centre from 20th to 22nd Oct 2017 to meet and greet their