M-LINK™ & M-LINK™ X Direct-to-Garment Digital Printers

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M-LINK™ & M-LINK™ X Direct-to-Garment Digital Printers

  If you're a screen printer, embroiderer, or other garment-decorating professional thinking about entering the world of direct-to-garment printing, there are no better companions than M&R’s M-Link and M-Link X...

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If you're a screen printer, embroiderer, or other garment-decorating professional thinking about entering the world of direct-to-garment printing, there are no better companions than M&R’s M-Link and M-Link X digital textile printers. Both offer exceptional value, and M-Link X’s combination of speed and quality makes it superior to direct-to-garment digital printers costing more than three times as much. M-Link and M-Link X print T-shirts, sweatshirts, cut pieces, and most flat, smooth fabric surfaces. And they’re fast. M-Link prints white shirts in 45 to 60 seconds and dark shirts in two-and-one-half to three minutes. M-Link X is even faster, printing white shirts in an amazing 30 to 45 seconds and dark shirts in less than a minute. The phenomenal image quality is made possible by M&R's exclusive Absolute Position Technology™ (APT), high-speed, long-life industrial printheads (rated at 100 billion actuations per nozzle), DuPont™ Artistri® BRITE digital textile inks, and M&R’s proprietary i-Color™ RIP Software. Artistri® BRITE digital textile inks provide numerous advantages, including up to 40% color improvement compared to previous generation direct-to-garment inks and a pH balance that minimizes printhead issues like clogging. With color profiles designed specifically for Artistri® BRITE inks, i-Color™ RIP quickly converts digital art files into printed images with maximum sharpness, superior shading & tonal gradations, outstanding color accuracy, life-like skin tone representation, and minimal print time, enabling operators to turn out amazingly sharp text and line art with remarkable blending and photographic transitions.

The wide variety of print modes available with M&R’s i-Color™ RIP provide users an exceptional level of versatility for dealing with a wide variety of ink/substrate combinations, providing extraordinary results on 100% cotton fabrics in white, light, dark, and black. (Direct-to-garment printing may work on some non-cotton fabrics, but suitability can only be determined by testing on a case-by-case basis.) And the advanced underbase generator within i-Color™ RIP generates underbase layers that have just the right amount of contrast and coverage to support the overlying CMYK inks. But the main benefits are superior image quality and printed garments that are softer, more breathable, and much closer to water-based screen printing.
The four most popular print options are single-pass modes for printing on white, color, and black, as well as a single-pass highlight mode. White Mode prints C-M-Y-K with no underbase on white or light-color shirts. Color One-Pass Mode prints a gradated white underbase and C-M-Y-K on color shirts. Black One-Pass Mode prints a gradated white underbase and C-M-Y on black shirts, using the shirt’s color for black areas of the image. On light-color shirts with light pretreatment, Highlight Mode prints C-M-Y-K and a white highlight—but without a white underbase. Since two white printheads are positioned ahead of the color printheads, M-Link and M-Link X are capable of printing the white and color layers in the same pass. On applicable artwork, this results in excellent images at maximum print speed. What is perhaps most impressive is the way i-Color™ is able to recognize black and near-black tonal ranges in digital artwork. And in Black One-Pass Mode, i-Color™ uses that information to prevent the printheads from laying down white underbase and black ink on black areas of the shirt. i-Color™ also uses the black areas of the shirt when toning out colors in shadows and gradients, only printing white in gradients where necessary to underbase the colors. Whether in one-pass or two-pass mode, i-Color™ will only print a full white underbase where colors require maximum vibrancy. Black One-Pass Mode and Highlight Mode save ink, reduce cost, and increase print speed.
M-Links also feature a bulk-ink supply system. Each color channel has a one-liter main tank reservoir. To add more ink, all the operator needs to do is unscrew the cap of the main reservoir, pour in the desired ink, and put the cap back on.

And M&R solved the issue of ink-waste and white-ink separation and settling by circulating white ink within the main ink reservoir and throughout the main white ink lines every 30 minutes when the printer is idle. All of this is done within a closed system, so no ink is wasted during the recirculating process—and it ensures that the printheads themselves can be periodically cleaned by purging only the tiniest amount of ink.

M&R’s DigiTone™ halftone filter offers specific situational advantages over the dithering process typically used in DTG printing. That’s especially true for screen printers who want to use their M-Link printers for prepress testing. With the DigiTone halftone filter, prints will be extremely close to those produced by screen printing. That enables the operator and customer to make alterations quickly and easily prior to striking off proofs on a screen printing press. It also gives operators the option of digitally decorating garments with screen-printing effects like simulated processed prints. With a few simple clicks, M-Links can print a traditional amplitude modulated halftone dot. The operator can then choose the dot size and the angle—including the 22.5-degree angle found in standard screen separations—at which these dots will appear.
The combination of ink-saving print modes and the bulk-ink supply system give M-Link and M-Link X the lowest cost per print among direct-to-garment printers. In fact, with some competing printers, the cost per image can be up to four times as much. Some competitors may sell printers below cost knowing that they’ll more than make up for it through the exorbitant cost of their proprietary inks.
Operators can use the built-in ink calculator to estimate the per-print job cost without needing to print a shirt. In fact, operators can generate total job estimates in less than a minute. That vital job-costing feature is missing from most direct-to-garment printers.
M-Link and M-Link X include a 36 x 52 cm (14” x 20.5”) pallet which can be used to print images up to 36 x 51 cm (14” x 20”). An optional 41 x 51 cm (16” x 20”) pallet can be used to print images up to 41 x 51 cm (16” x 20”). A 10 x 41 cm (4” x 16”) sleeve-printing attachment and a 25 x 30 cm (10” x 12”) youth printing pallet are also available.
M&R’s Z-axis laser printhead protection system scans garments for wrinkles, virtually eliminating costly head strikes.
Each M-Link and M-Link X is mounted on a sturdy steel frame set on casters. Once in place, retractable feet can be used to level the machine. This flexibility allows the unit to be repositioned as shops expand their businesses or reconfigure shop layout.
Although most direct-to-garment digital printers are sold without a computer, that’s not the case with M&R. Since trouble-free computer operation is essential to successful direct-to-garment printing, M&R integrates a computer and monitor into every digital printer package. And since each computer comes with all the software necessary for operation, users don’t have to load or configure system software, much less resolve hardware or software conflicts. The inclusion of a PC also enables M&R to extensively test each system prior to shipment. There’s no question that a complete preconfigured system is the surest way to seamless digital printer operation.
Professional garment decorators in search of outstanding quality at an unbelievable price will find it in M&R’s M-Link and M-Link X direct-to-garment digital textile printers. And when it comes to high speed, low price, and minimal cost per image, M-Link X stands alone among digital textile printers.

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