What if I say digital printing on fabrics is spreading a large number of possibilities for new varieties of applications through digital technology?! Yes, the demand is huge. If we observe the future markets and current trends, we undoubtedly notice the shift of fashion from traditional textile printing to digital textile printing. With all that said, before we dive deeper into this new span of digital printing on fabrics, let’s know about fabric printing first.
What is Fabric Printing or Textile Printing?
The art of laying out different colours on the fabric with predetermined designs or patterns through diverse application techniques is called fabric printing or textile printing.
Throughout the fabric printing process, the colours or the pigments are adequately clamped to the fibres of the fabric, to ensure the pigmentation doesn’t get spread while washing the cloth.
How did Digital Printing on Fabrics come to Existence?
The history of textile printing in India traced back thousands of years ago when as per the ancient trends and skills textile design printing served as a significant symbol of cultural and financial power. In the late 1980s, as printing technology got advanced, colour inkjet printers became increasingly essential in the production of digital fabrics for the civilian marketplace.
In 1990, with the advancement in modern technology and the development of large inkjet printers, it all started with an exploratory approach. But such technology wasn’t regarded as the best equipment for fabrics because of the difficulty with light sensitivity to colours. Instead, it was acceptable for paper printing.
Throughout the times, technology kept expanding. Where several large organizations are now producing customized “digital textile printing machines” and in other words “digital printers” which can work with a range of substances involves paper sheets, rubbers, canvases and obviously fabrics.
In this way, digital fabric printing was born. And with that note, let’s take you further to the details.
What is Digital Printing on Fabrics?
Digital fabric printing technology has been around for a decade and it got launched in 1994.
Well, it is a technique that instantly prints fabric patterns straight from the computer through a large-scale digital printing machine, yes you heard it right. You can literally print any of your favourite designs or patterns on your preferred cloth. Digital textile fabric printing is a cool technique and versatile tool for fabric customisation in bulk.
Digital printing allows different types of printing in the textile, among all, here are some of the methods to know about and select the right type of fabric printing:
Types of Digital Printing Techniques:
1. Inkjet Printing
One of the most important and useful types of printing is inkjet printing. In this digital printing method, a picture from a computer or other digital device is copied and replicated on paper or plastic using an inkjet printer. In order to create the appropriate picture, the printer uses a precise process that involves releasing thousands of tiny droplets of ink onto the paper. It is advised to print text and images with vivid colours. These methods fall within the area of contemporary digital printing. Well, inkjet printers can be found in both workplaces and residences.
2. Dye Sublimation
The technique of dye-sublimation enables printing on synthetic, vinyl, and fabric materials. It relies on heat transfers to imprint an image or graphic on the chosen material.
3. Laser Printing
Laser printing was developed to replicate a graphic from a digital device through laser technology. In this process, the laser motion moves forward and backwards on the printer’s table through which a static charge gets generated and releases ink to print the desired image. This textile design printing method comes under modern digital printing.
4. Digital Press Printing
This process is a transformation of fully digitizing the old-school printing press. The significantly higher cost of printers makes this digital printing process a bit expensive and that is why this method is only affordable for really large orders.
What Is The Process Of Digital Textile Printing?
The process of digital print design on fabrics is simple and significantly shorter than other types of printing in textiles. This particular fabric printing method is applied to create mockups or samples and customized clothing. And, as per the increasing demand for digitally printed fabrics & designer clothing, now the textile industries prefer to have the best digital fabric printing machines in-house.
Well, the following explains a common workflow of the digital fabric printing process to help you understand.
1. Scanning & Development of Design:
The designs can be developed through two methods, first through digitization and secondly, the photo can be scanned directly if the changes on it are not necessary. Then, the produced file is stored in printing format. In this step, the colour schemes and image quality are adjusted if necessary.
2. Preparation of the fabric
Fabric preparation is required before any process of fabric printing. Firstly, the fabric is chemically padded, particularly with sizing materials. Such a process stiffens the fabric and removes fabric smashes to allow better printing.
3. Printing Process
The images which are stored in printing format, get printed on the material through the printing machine with the use of appropriate dye types. After the process, the printed cloth gets dried properly. The fabric is adequately positioned first, without any wrinkles and then the printers’ heads are adjusted based on the fabric’s width.
4. Dye Fixation
The dyes are temporarily attached to the surface of the material. With the use of the cloth or material, the dye simply gets rinsed over time. Therefore, fixing the dyes is important for fine durability. And that’s why such printed materials are maintained for fixing in the steam chamber. During the process, the molecules of dyes penetrate into the fibres from the surface of the fabric and become permanently and securely fixed.
5. Washing & Drying
The fabric is adequately cleaned and dried after the fixing process has been completed.
How Does Digital Printing Benefit You?
Know the best of the benefits you get through digital printing services implemented by the textile industries.
- On-demand fabric printing
- You can get digitally printed fabrics as much as you need
- Start business with low cost
- High-quality printing with the best accuracy and vibrant images
- Environment-friendly printing method
- Customization of digitally printed fabrics for clothing and home decor according to your preferences. Be it, designer apparel, cushions, curtains, upholstery, table cloth and many more things.
- A large scope of designs and innumerable hues
Future Prospects of Digital Fabric Printing: what lies ahead?
In spite of the running process of traditional fabric printing, the growth of digital textile printing is immense. Well, Digital Printing on Fabrics is so versatile technology which is not just limited to clothing but offers a plethora of options for house-hold fabric uses. Well, the demand for digitally printed fabrics is huge, and why not? One of the biggest and most diverse printing sectors in the world is the fabric industry as a whole.
Digital print design on the fabric is a major accomplishment, and the reason is the fabrics we see everywhere in the world, in our surroundings. We find more than half of the products are made of fabric in different shapes, types and styles with different utility.
Well, undoubtedly, there is much to explore with the possibilities and the future prospects of fabrics which they bring to us.