PRINTING ON FABRIC – Why Print on Fabric
The question why print on fabric is perhaps better expressed as why print on fabric as opposed to other media such as paper, vinyl, glass or other solid substrates?
The established media described above have been traditionally used, when digital printing because the technical knowledge and experience required has only been, significantly, developed over the last 12 years. So much so that it is now clear that textiles are becoming one of the most dominant substrates when printers are offering solutions for digital printing as applied to the flag, banner, interior and exterior advertising, exhibition and theatrical markets.
The most important reason for this change to Printing on Fabric instead of vinyl is that the textiles can be re cycled, they do not need to be printed with solvent inks which are bad for the environment and they can also be bad for one’s health if very careful precautions are not taken.
Printing on Fabric has also the great advantage in that fabrics can be produced in a massive variety of different forms from light weight knitted fabrics to heavy weight woven ones. This gives the marketing world a huge variety of textile substrates to print on in order to give a different affect depending on the type of product being advertised or from the type of stand or display that it is being used for.
Printing on Fabric may use water based disperse inks for direct to textile printing or they may use paper transfer printing. They may also consider UV curable inks and latex inks.
When Printing on Fabric the type of machine you buy and the inks that are used with the machine is a major consideration. Widths of textiles tends to be typically 153cms to 203cms so the options of fabrics within these widths is generally the greatest but in the last few years machines have got wider and so the demand for wider textiles has grown to so that now we can offer some fabrics up to 500 centimetres metres wide and some as low as 100 centimetres.
Printing on Fabric with a pre-treatment can considerably improve the definition and the colour intensity. Disperse inks show a particularly stunning result when the right pre-treatment is used on certain fabrics.
Excellent light fastness, wet fastness and strength are features of most polyester fabrics which have helped to make them so popular as the first choice substrate for digital Printing on Fabric.
Article by Chris Drury