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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.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-01-01

More about this publication?
  • For more than 30 years, IS&T's series of digital printing conferences have been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in 2D and 3D printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference that brings together industry and academia, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems?particularly those involved with additive manufacturing and fabrication?including bio-printing, printed electronics, page-wide, drop-on-demand, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based systems, and production digital printing, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields. In 2016, the conference changed its name formally to Printing for Fabrication to better reflect the content of the meeting and the evolving technology of printing.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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