Optimum Digital Planet continues its activities in the field of large format digital printers as a global brand offering printing solutions in many branches including advertising, textile, glass and furniture. Preparing to introduce its newly developed sublimation transfer printer at ITM 2020, the company is among the pioneers and leaders in the international market.
Founded in 1994, Optimum Digital Planet used to import digital printing technologies in its early years. Later on, they worked with the Far East companies. Optimum Digital Planet management, who intend to translate their production experience into digital printing technology, decided to start manufacturing in Turkey in 2010.
Being the first and only manufacturer of digital printers in Turkey, Optimum Digital Planet continues to produce and develop functional, fast and durable machines with its patented technologies that offer superior performance.
In this month’s issue, we have covered Optimum Digital Planet in the feauture story on digital printing technologies. We had a productive interview with Taner Can Güven, International Sales Manager of Optimum Digital Planet, who answered our questions sincerely and talked about the company’s activities and future targets.
As a manufacturer of digital printers, what kind of activities do you carry out for the textile industry?
We offer different models for the textile industry. We pay due diligence to divide them into two categories—home textiles and apparels. Our Picasso models are used in home textiles for large-scale fabrics, woven fabrics and non-lycra fabrics. These machines are usually purchased by companies that need printing on large-diameter fabrics (2.4 m and larger) such as curtains, sheets, etc. In addition, we have machines with belt system which can be said to be more classic in the digital printing market. These products are mostly preferred by the apparel manufacturers.
Do you have any new projects for the digital printing industry? Can you talk about these?
We are currently working on our sublimation machine for paper transfer printing. We completed the R&D for this model and started mass production. We are also planning to launch this model for the first time at ITM 2020. This machine, which we will introduce at the exhibition, will be a machine that offers different features than its counterparts in the world. In every sense, we planned the R&D activities for this model with kyocera printheads. With eight kyocera print heads, this machine can print on fabrics with a width of 1.80 cm and 3.20 cm. This machine will be the fastest among its counterparts in this segment.
Your company started to print on carpets with another innovation for the textile industry. Can you tell us about your decision-making process?
As a matter of fact, our quest did not start with an R&D activity wishing to print on carpets. A Bangladeshi customer, who had previously used Zimmer, contacted us. He wanted to print mops for Ikea. He saw our Picasso Tex model that has a print width of 3.20 cm. Then he wanted to perform tests for carpet printing on our machine. We had very good results with the tests on a very thin rug. Afterwards, the test products were sent to Ikea and the project were approved. Currently, our machines are used in mass-production for Ikea in Bangladesh. To give you a more direct answer to your question, we don’t have a machine dedicated to carpet printing. However, our Picasso Tex printer can print on certain types of carpets. And we have been the first to do it in this format. Of course, after starting this process with Ikea and our Bangladeshi customer, our R&D activities in this field increased. We have made our machine more suitable with a number of modifications. With our existing technology and modifications, we can print only on very fine carpets.
Unlike other machine manufacturers, you use PLC technology on your machines. Can you talk about this technology?
We use PLC technology in all textile printers and other printers. PLC technology offers an superior technology electronically. The technology used generally by the Far East and even some Western companies in the market is a technology that we call PCB (Printed Circuit Board). The computers you use at home have motherboards and motion cards. They communicate with each other and form an electronic system. Just like this, we also use a more industrial PLC technology. There are also other companies that use this technology in our industry. Generally, the PLC technology is used in products of western origin. We want to be a pioneer and remain at the forefront of the industry in terms of technology. Our choise for the PLC technology is an indicator of this.
What kind of activities do you carry out for Industry 4.0?
One of the most important things we do, especially on artificial intelligence technology is the PLC technology, I would say. The industrial advantages offered by the PLC system that I mentioned can also help you transition into the Industry 4.0. And one of our biggest achievements has been to improve our interface. We are trying to create a self-learning organism. For example, we have developed a model that remembers the previous prints and can provide samples of these or remember and serves notice for them. In addition, this model connects to the internet over ethernet and optical cables to retrieve data from the center. This data helps us continuously improve our machines. This is our biggest achievement in the field of Industry 4.0.
What kind of processes do you have in your production for the test stages?
When we develop a machine, we attach great importance to the continuous improvement and self-improvement of that machine. In this context, we have R&D machines for several different models. When we want to add a new feature to the function of these R&D machines, we first conduct these experiments in our factory. Our software engineers, electricians and R&D team try to find answers to questions like “Are the heads firing correctly?”, “Does it disrupt other features when we do something?” etc. Then, this work goes to a customer, open to innovation, whom we call the “beta customer”, with whom we have previously agreed upon for tests. After our product tests have been checked by our customer in the real environment, we ransfer them to our PLCs very easily.
What steps does your machines go through during production?
Some companies in Turkey do not know that we are in production or even if they do, they don’t know in what way we do it. Of course this will take time. As Optimum Digital Planet, we prepare our production phase with great care. Our production process starts with a design we dream of. First of all, as dealers and experts who have market knowledge, we identify in our meetings which machines the industry needs. Then the machine is designed. Our team of technical designers do the mechanical design for the machine. After the technical design, the electronic phase enters into play. After discussing various features and questions about the features of the machine and after the design is finished, we develop a prototype machine. Tests are made on the prototype, notes are taken, improvements are made, and then a production process is started by our industrial engineers. After passing the quality control, our products are packaged and shipped to both for exports and the domestic market.
What services do you offer your customers in terms of support and installation?
Our service network operates both through distributors and with our own support teams. We are one of the companies that provide the longest and most comprehensive training in the field of machine installation. Usually, trainings do not take more three days, but we are able to provide trainings for five days and even more after installation at the customer’s facility. In addition, we provide complete training to distributors. After trainings in our headquarters and factories, we help them return to the sales networks. We also use the WhatsApp group system for technical service department. There is a technical service manager assigned to each distributor. They quickly respond to a technical service request within 24 hours via WhatsApp. This enables us to take very fast action in terms of technical service.
What position do you have for market dominance in Turkey and abroad? Can you tell us about your overseas sales network?
Turkey has a very large market in the textile industry and is the largest market also for us, I would say. Now we are actively exporting to 28 countries. In addition, we have a sales network that spans the whole of Croatia and Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from the former Yugoslav countries and Russia. North African countries such as Egypt and Libya are also among our important markets. More importantly, our market share in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have grown enormously over the last four to five years. We have offices in Azerbaijan and Korea. We are also controlling different markets such as Vietnam from our office in Korea. Currently, our largest markets outside of Turkey are Russia, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
Which trend do you think dominates the digital printing market? Which sector are you focusing more on?
Although we have more intensive activities in the textile industry, we do not only manufacture textile printers. We produce large-format digital printers. This includes printers for advertisers, glass manufacturers and furniture makers. Their working principles, chemicals and dyes are slightly different. There are also too many sub-sectors in the textile machinery industry. They need different combinations to print on home textiles, apparels and cotton fabrics. As Optimum Digital Planet, we want to be in every sector of the digital printing market. The textile market preceeds them. Currently we are working with our big customers on the field of imitation leather printing. This is a new field for us, however this kind of production is not so common in the world. In addition to textiles, we follow these sectors and try to offer them digital printing solutions.
What are your expectations from the digital printing industry?
We want to play a leading role in the digital printing industry in terms of technology and become competitive in the international markets. So we want to establish a system that is not only successful in Russia, Libya, Egypt or other Middle Eastern countries but also in Italy, Western European countries, South America and the Far East.
You mentioned that you will promote a new product at ITM 2020. What are your expectations from the exhibition?
As we will present our new technologies, we see the ITM next year as a step forward. From this exhibition, we expect to reach markets that we have not reached before. We aim to open up to the markets that we have reached before but want to create a better impression. We would like to reach Bulgaria, especially Dubai, which has a polyester-based textile industry, as it is a market where we can be geografically very close and have a strong presence. But more importantly, we want to introduce our new products to the whole market and to the whole spectrum of ITM 2020 where we will have interactions.
Interview: Kübra Karaca