Pioneering a unique market niche with [material development X printing]
Conclusive fact in introducing TS500P-3200 / Monti Mod.901-3600
- 3 meter wide digital dye-based ink printing presents a strong competitive edge within the curtain/table-cloth industry.
- Flexible design, high productivity, stability and high-mix low-volume production capability is highly promising.
Strong conviction that digital printing technology will catch the tide
Natec Co., Ltd. started out in 1942 as the only lace manufacturer in Nara prefecture. The company managed to attain a certain level of presence within the domestic curtain/table-cloth sector through its 78 years of sedulous business efforts.
I am the 5th in line as the president of Natec. I did not want to simply carry on with the established business producing large quantity lots of products using big dyeing machines. While searching for hints to further growth, I came across digital printing. The technology was very promising.
In order to respond to the expanding demand for high-mix low-volume production while achieving brilliant design expressed with miniscule precision at the same time, digital printing is indispensable. Broad-width processing capability is absolutely necessary within the curtain/table-cloth dyeing segment, and the transition to digital technology was clearly inevitable as evident in the propagation of digitally processed clothing textiles.
Natec first introduced digital printers with broad-width compatibility 8 years ago in 2012. Printers capable of processing 3-meter wide textiles were still a rarity within the domestic industry in those days. Although Mimaki products were among the candidates we considered, we eventually decided on a inkjet printer with 3.2-meter printing capability. The product was manufactured by a US company.
Establishing an unwavering standing within the advertisement/signage industry, and proceeding to the next stage with Mimaki products
Hanging embroideries for various events and conventions and advertisement signages decorating building walls output with 3.2-meter wide inkjet printers were sensational to the Japanese signage industry back then. Natec maintains a well-established tradition and reputation in the field of fabric development and processing. Previously, fabric media with 3-meter width were mostly manufactured overseas, and I believe our announcement of 3-meter wide flameproof fabric media manufactured in Japan, and the concurrent offering of the media combined with processing output from 3-meter wide inkjet printers will breathe a new life in the industry.
Although this is a very specific niche segment, I feel Natec has established an unwavering standing within the advertisement and signage industry. However, the printer we first introduced was based on latex ink, which needed to be handled delicately without folding the output. Accordingly, the delivery and actual installation of the printouts were costly. They also took up large storage space, and together with their total lack of tolerance to laundry, they must have been very inconvenient from our customer’s standpoint.
In order to overcome these shortcomings, we decided to introduce new printers to our company in April 2019. This time, we selected the Mimaki sublimation transfer inkjet printer TS500P-3200 using dye-based ink in combination with the sublimation transfer press Mod.901-3600 by Monti. We are now capable of complying not only to the requirements for advertisement hangings and signages, but also the diverse demands from interior-related industries and other sectors.
By developing fabrics for sublimation transfer printing in-house, we can test print the material in the company instead of subcontracting them, which is also a significant merit for us.
First in Japan! 3-Meter width digitally printed fabrics listed on leading manufacturer catalogs
Digital curtain/table-cloth dye printing gaining recognition with the introduction of Mimaki printers. Natec has positioned digital fabric printing as a new business since last year, bolstering its technical staff and actively marketing the new product category.
As a welcome development, a major interior fabric manufacturer listed our digitally printed textiles in their 2020 curtain catalog. For the first time in Japan, fabrics processed with 3-meter width inkjet printers are introduced in curtain textile catalogs. These types of products are strictly mass production-oriented, and this is quite an epoch-making development.
Of course, curtain textiles are no different from clothing or material textiles, but the necessary length and the complex sewing requirements for respective pieces of cloth complicates matters, and inspection/delivery standards tend to differ among wholesale dealers. Building on the track record of specialization within this segment, we are aspiring to take a new step forward, and this has become a nice boost. However, it also means we must be able to print 50 meters of curtain textiles non-stop. We are counting on Mimaki’s reputed “operational stability for achieving high production”.
Pioneering new markets maximizing the technical advantage of specializing in material development and printing
The cost of digital printing is still higher than conventional dye processing. As a professional firm specializing in material development/processing, Natec has its strength in beautifully expressing flexible designs on unique fabrics. I am confident the customers will be fascinated by our additional value.
We intend to pioneer into new markets as a manufacturer capable of supplying uniquely engineered products utilizing our specialization in combination with the printing technology. For example, we are considering products such as “internally illuminated signage textiles” popular in department stores and railway stations, odor-proof/antibacterial textiles in demand among medical and welfare industries, and flameproof processed fabrics essential to hotels and commercial facilities. We are accelerating our material development efforts.
Currently, the material development + digital printing business makes up for only 5% of our entire sales. But I believe we can increase this share to over 10% within a couple of years. As you can see, we have high expectations in the Mimaki printers. We’re looking forward to the reliable support Mimaki provides.
NATEC Co., Ltd.
Established in 1942 as a lace manufacturer. In addition to the extensive dyeing equipment and capabilities, the company achieved prosperity through the cultivation of various fabric processing technologies including flame retarding of polyester textiles.
Currently, Natec is among major Japanese firms engaging in fabric dyeing and textile development primarily dealing in curtains and table-cloths, and regnant within the domestic wide-textile processing segment of the market. The company strives to open new possibilities through material development and dyeing technologies.
< Introduced products >
3.2 m Superwide Format Sublimation transfer inkjet printer: TS500P-3200
Super-wide roll sublimation transfer press machine: Monti Mod.901-3600
- NameNATEC Co., Ltd.
- IndustryDyeing arrangement of polyester knit/woven fabrics; sales of interior textile products (table-cloths, curtains, beddings, shadings); sales of broad-width media cloths for inkjet printer processing and (320cm-width cloth) printing output services.
- AddressSaikujyo-cho 5-4-5, Nara City, Nara, Japan
- Phone number+81-742-62-1181