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Textile inkjet inks for digital printers

Textiles are one of the fastest growing sectors of digital printing.
Textiles are one of the fastest growing sectors of digital printing.

Textiles are one of the fastest growing sectors of digital printing. The applications are numerous, with the most common including apparel, home furnishings (curtains, bedspreads, upholstery, etc.) soft signage and flags.

In the past, the predominant technology was combined flat and rotary screen-printing, which required three to four months and was harsh on the environment, due to water polluted with dye chemicals. Digital textile printing elininates screens and reduces production time to one to two weeks.

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The applications are numerous, with the most common including apparel, home furnishings (curtains, bedspreads, upholstery, etc.) soft signage and flags. Efi textile printed samples at FESPA Hamburg, 2017.

What is the difference between Dyes and Pigments?

The inks used for printing on textiles are divided into two types: dye or pigmented.

Dyes are soluble in water and used for colored clothes, basket reed and other porous materials. Pigments are generally found in powder, which is insoluble in water. For this insoluble nature, pigments are mixed with oil, water, etc. to make paint.

Dye-sublimation is a digital process using full color artwork that works with polyester and polymer-coated substrates. In sublimation printing process sublimation dyes are transferred to sheets of “transfer” paper. After the digital design is printed onto sublimation transfer sheets, it is placed on a heat press along with the substrate to be sublimated. In order to transfer the image from the paper to the substrate, it requires a heat press process that is a combination of time, temperature and pressure.

Acid dye is suited to natural fibers such as such as silk, and wool, as well as synthetics including nylon, nylon/elastane blends and modified acrylics. They are medium to low viscosity inks suited to piezo electric and thermal printheads.

Reactive dye can be used on textile of fabric, cotton, silk, wool, nylon and chemical fibers. They have a different chemical binding mechanism than acid to colour the fibers. They are used with piezo printheads that are suited to medium viscosity inks.

Disperse Dye is able to generate shinny colors in polyester fibers. Post processing is required for these disperse-inks to produce vibrant and color fast results.

Pigment ink was originally developed for direct-to-garment printing, especially t-shirts, but can also be used to print to rolls for later manufacturing.

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FLAAR Reports textile printed samples printed with DigiFab StampaJet 190.

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Comparative chart between ink types.

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Jetbest fluorescent ink sample.

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Textile printed sample.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Balram

    September 5, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    But still, Textile printing for long time durability is till now and still done conventionally.

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