Contributing to the industrialization of athletics, and the development of sports-oriented cultures through regular business activities.
Conclusive fact in introducing TS300P-1800
- Enhancement of production speed
- Expansion of design capability through the introduction of fluorescent ink
To Tokyo to work in the sports industry, and the eventual start-up
I was born in eastern Nagano, the birthplace of Mimaki. After graduating from school, I began working in the automotive industry, but always felt the sports sector offered big opportunities and came to Tokyo. After building a career in the field, I started up this company.
The company was first established in 1985. Those days, the business of printing on T-shirts and sports wears was just starting to gather attention. Backed by the then president of “Echo Sports”, my former workplace, I started receiving orders for what-ever works I can get through the connections I made with sports-related manufacturers during my previous career. I actively pursued difficult prints my competitors wouldn’t do to heighten the visibility of my company.
The “Echo” portion included in the corporate name NSK ECHOMARK Co., Ltd. Is derived from “Echo Co., Ltd.” (better known as Echo-Sports). I owe a lot to my former workplace. By the way, the “NS” portion comes from my wife’s initials. The company was named as a homage to my benefactor and my wife and collaborator.
Exploring new possibilities taking opportunity of the Rugby World Cup
During the early days, majority of the works consisted of silk-screen prints and rubber pressure bonding or embroidery. One time, I noticed the vivid and colorful uniforms of foreign teams while watching the Rugby World Cup games. In those days, most of the Japanese sports uniforms were made of natural fabrics like cotton and mixed fiber. I was astounded by the difference. I began to dig in, and finally stumbled upon sublimation transfer printing. Back in those days, sublimation transfer print was still an unstable technology, so we developed a vacuum transfer printer in-house. We expanded our business by outputting in silk-screens and transferring the results onto the uniforms.
Some time later, we found that a manufacturer called Mimaki introduced an ink-jet based sublimation transfer printer, the JV4.
We went to an exhibition and saw the product. It didn’t need plates, the print quality was good, and the aqueous ink could improve our work-environment. We saw nothing but merits in adopting the product. In the meantime, the polyester fabrics were getting better, and we decided the timing was good. We built a new factory in Gunma, my wife’s hometown in 1991 and started production with 20 JV4 printers from Mimaki.
Working with JV4 to create a system for team uniform printing by sublimation transfer
Upon introduction of the JV4, a big opportunity came in as a contract with a major manufacturer. They selected us as partners for bulk printing of team uniforms during the start-up phase of the J-league. They thought the trend was shifting to team-based uniform orders, and wanted us to help design the scheme.
I believe we owe this business to JV4, with its stable production capacity, capability to customize uniforms to suit team orders, ability to comply with diverse designs without needing plates. Our available technology suitably matched our clients’ needs.
From what I hear, they had all the professional teams camping at Sugadaira try on the Rugby uniforms we prototyped. What happened was, virtually all the teams entered in the tournaments at Hanazono were wearing new uniforms next year. The vivid color and design, light-weight and fast drying polyester fabric was well accepted, and team-ordered sublimation transfer uniforms really caught on.
We still get orders from various rugby teams, highschool and university teams as well.
Aspiring to become a firm specializing in sports wear
Since our flagship workforce, the JV4 has neared its retirement with the end of production/maintenance/support, we introduced a new generation printer, the TS300P-1800. Three of them are at work since 2017. This model is capable of handling fluorescent ink, and has greatly widened the choice we can offer our customers. Improvements in print quality and output speed has opened new horizons for us.
Our company runs dozens of Mimaki machines new and old on a full time basis, and maintenance is a considerable burden. But Mimaki supports us thoroughly. We rely on them to resolve any problem we come by. Thanks to Mimaki backup, we can operate according to plans without any concern. We are grateful that they extend help to distant Gunma, from their head office in Nagano.
We believe the future of sports wears lies in proposal for value added to the technology we can offer today. It may be the performance of the fabric itself, or maybe the ink. Or perhaps, innovations in the sublimation transfer technology. Anyways, we are confident there are business opportunities to be exploited by responding to unseen demands of the customers. We hope to continue collaborating with Mimaki in the sports wear domain in the years to come.
NSK ECHOMARK Co., Ltd.
Established in 1985. Started out by printing marks on sports wears; currently produces team uniforms for professional, corporate, school and organization sports teams.
Creation of integrated production structure from design through manufacturing enables the achievement of high quality and short lead time.
Sublimation transfer inkjet printer: TS300P-1800
Sublimation transfer inkjet printer: Tx400-1800D
Sublimation transfer inkjet printer: JV4-180
Sublimation transfer inkjet printer: JV33-130
Roll-type cutting plotter: CG-75FXII
- NameNSK ECHOMARK Co., Ltd.
- IndustryCreation of sports wear and apparel marking designs, sublimation transfer, silk-screen printing, rubber thermal transfer processing, marking, embroidery processing and sewing. Production of elasticized apparel marking products under the corporate brand NOBINOBIMARK.
- AddressAgatsuma factory: Higashiagatsuma-machi Ohaza Hakojima 1690-1, Agatsuma-Gun, Gunma, Japan
Head office: Nishi-Waseda 1-18-9, Imas-Office Waseda Bldg. 6/7F, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo, Japan
- Phone numberAgatsuma factory: +81-279-30-9550 Head office: +81-3-3207-4004