Page 46 - Print 21 Magazine March-April 2019
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Textile Printing
Companies that supply DTT include Impression Technology and its GoTx range; Durst with its new high-quality pigment inks; Mutoh’s ValueJet 1938TX; Mimaki printers such as the TX300P-1800 and TX300P-1800B; EFI’s Reggiani Terra; and Kornit’s Allegro.
EFI launched its Reggiani Terra last year, which uses a special binder and pigment-based ink for DTT printing, says Lindsay.
“It’s used in a lot of the same applications as our other industrial textile solutions, such as apparel and home décor. It is more sustainable
– it saves water by eliminating the washing and steaming processes that usually occur in production,” he says.
According to Jamie Weller, regional manager at Kornit Digital, direct-to- textile opens up opportunities in the home décor market.
“Australians love renovating and decorating their homes. Allowing consumers to design their own pillows, curtains, couch and so on, which then fit perfectly into their homes, is something local brands should be offering,” he says.
Durst has recently introduced a new pigment ink with a wide colour gamut, says Ashman, who claims it is suitable for high-quality applications that need long-lasting colour.
“The big advantage for the pigment ink is that there is no finishing required, which cuts out one step entirely – it is printed onto the fabric, which is ready to use with no steaming or heat treatment. It gives you outstanding colour reproduction with a soft feel, which is important for high- quality applications like fashion and apparel,” he says.
UV: ultra-versatile
A third area is UV printing, which includes Mutoh’s ValueJet 1638UR. While both UV and direct-to- textile fire droplets straight onto the substrate as opposed to dye sublimation, DTT requires fixing afterwards with a heat press, while UV inks are cured right away with ultraviolet light. This makes it a versatile solution, says Cavenagh.
“A UV printer can print onto just about anything – self-adhesive vinyl, clear acrylics, canvas and so on.
The range of substrates is almost limitless,” he says. “With DTT you have to print on fabrics with high cotton content – it’s mainly for the apparel and home décor markets as opposed to soft signage.
46  Print21 MARCH/APRIL 2019
Above: Dye sublimation: Mutoh
“UV is the pick of the bunch if you want an all-rounder. If you want to diversify your business, UV can do a lot of the work you’re already doing, and additionally go into things like soft signage and home décor,” he says.
The technology is an excellent choice for soft signage due to its visual appeal, Cavenagh adds.
“UV backlights beautifully. You can UV print onto fabric, then front-
and natural fibres. For cotton you use reactive dyes and for polyesters you use dye sub, but Latex actually does quite well across both of those media,” he says.“With the same Latex printer that printers use for their wide-format jobs, they can also add
a wide range of fabric.
“With other technologies, you’re
typically just buying that printer to do fabric, which means you need a significant volume to justify it. It opens up a huge array of opportunities.
“Customers are doing things like cushions, bean bags and upholstery for specialist décor applications, but we also have customers producing applications such as pull-up banners, media walls and flags on the same printer they’d use for a banner or a car wrap,” he adds.
Latex has several advantages over UV and dye sublimation for home décor and soft signage, says Brew – but is less suited to apparel.
“UV inks often sit on top of the fabric and change the hand feel, while Latex inks become integrated into the fabric. Also, unlike dye sublimation, Latex is a single stage process, meaning no calendaring is needed, and it can also print on both polyesters and cotton,” he says.
“For things like apparel, where they are frequently washed and
go through a lot of heavy-duty handling, dye sub is still the technology of choice – we’re not pretending we can do everything.”
There’s definitely a dizzying array of solutions out there for printers looking to enter these exciting and rapidly-growing market sectors – but don’t be afraid to look for yourself at each of these technologies and decide which one is right for you. 21
“Local means shorter lead times, as well as control over quality. You can get a sample in a couple of days — it’s not like that when you order from China.”
of what you’re doing and open up new markets. If you want to go exclusively into fabrics, then dye sub or DTT are more suitable,” he says.
Stretching out
with Latex
Latex printing, which uses water- based inks to print textiles largely for the soft signage and home décor markets, is championed by HP, which bills it as a low-waste, low- maintenance solution.
According to Jeremy Brew, wide- format specialist at HP, a key selling point of Latex (similarly to UV) is its versatility.
“The advantage of Latex is that it can print with both polyester
— Michael Davies, GJS
or graphic arts, UV will fill a lot
light it or backlight it. The colour gamut is strong and vibrant, and it’s ready to use straight away – it’s not like dye sublimation where you have to finish it later.”
The choice between UV and other technologies depends on where you’re starting from, says Cavenagh.
“If you’re in signage

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