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The Future of Textile Printing…Will be Digital

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The world of textile printing is rapidly changing. Customers are demanding a greater variety of color and design. Responding to this demand is a necessity in today's marketplace. Printers are forced to find new and innovative ways to provide printed samples while minimizing cost and waste. Digital printing technology allows customers to streamline the entire design, sampling, and production process.

The majority of all textiles are printed using rotary screen print machines. While this technology offers high speed and inexpensive output, there are many drawbacks. The average order size is rapidly decreasing, and textile companies are printing shorter runs. Rotary screen technology offers obvious benefits during long runs, but does not provide economical short run production. Again, the answer lies in digital printing. Unfortunately, production digital printing of textiles was not a possibility…until now.

When it comes to true inkjet production for textiles, there are not many choices. Most of the current inkjet printers were designed for graphic arts printing, not fabric. Several companies have begun addressing these problems, and the future of digital printing of textiles is beginning to take shape. Targeted to hit the market in 2001 are printers with speeds up to 50 m2 / hour for direct textile printing and up to 200 m2 / hour for transfer printing. In addition, most of the machines currently being developed for textiles are based on existing print machines and material handling systems. These printers will be capable of multiple ink chemistries and will print both knitted and woven fabrics.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-01-01

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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