Digital Printing: A Brief Overview

Digital printing is the latest printing technique which involves creating templates with the help of conceptualized designs using computer software. The technique is gaining popularity over other troublesome and time-consuming printing techniques such as roll printing, screen printing and transfer due to cost effectiveness. The designs can also be repeated. The technique finds application in the design of a variety of garments, accessories and home textiles.


Accessories made and designed with knitted fabrics are the latest trend among consumers looking for comfort and aesthetics at the same time in the same product. Knitted accessories are not only comfortable due to their good moisture, air and heat transmission properties, but can also be decorated for an attractive appearance. Various surface beautification techniques, such as hand painting, crochet, appliqué work, adding trims and notions, and digital printing, can be applied to embellish knitted fabrics and accessories.

Digital printing is the process of creating prints using computer designs as a reference versus analogue printing, which requires screen printing. It was introduced in 1950 for printing on paper, but the technique was later implemented for textiles as well. It has emerged as a prototyping tool and vehicle for printing small batches of fabric for niche market products, namely apparel, accessories and home textiles. Reduces lead times from design to production, accelerates sample production, and reduces production batch size and inventory costs.

Digital printing process

Design selection and conceptualization is the preliminary and most crucial process before digital printing on textile substrates. The fabric is printed by digital printers and the design is prepared on a computer using an inkjet method to print the dyes onto the fabric (Figure 1 (ac). The hand drawn sketch, computer-aided design ) of the designs are used and modified with various tools available in software such as CorelDraw and Adobe Photoshop. The files obtained are used in digital printing machines to print the design on fabrics. The printing process involves feeding the fabric through the printer using a feed roller followed by applying the ink to the surface of the fabric in the form of thousands of tiny droplets. The fabric is then passed through the steam / heat chamber to cure the ink. The vaporized fabric is washed and subsequently dried. Advances in digital presses involve installing special transport systems or that allow printing on knitted and elastic fabrics. Figure 1 (a) shows the digital press model generally used to print tariffs on textile materials.
Preparation of fabrics for digital printing

Smudge-free printing and superior quality that exactly reproduce motifs or designs are prerequisites for digital textile printing. Consequently, the fabric must be prepared, coated with chemicals, before the process begins. The fixation of the ink received by the fabric during the printing process is ensured by the curing process that follows the printing. Curing is achieved by passing the fabric through the steam / heat chamber, followed by washing and drying. Pretreatment technology is used for vivid colors, darker blacks, sharper definition and excellent wash durability, with no negative effects on the hand of the fabric. The technology guarantees excellent ink adhesion to the textile support. In addition to the quilt pretreatment method, the spray method using the compact jet Swift pattern is also used commercially to work inline or separately from the inkjet printer, thus eliminating the need for quilt pretreatment. The size of the spray droplet can be varied to allow for variable absorption depending on the substrate. the

Spray application ensures precise control of woven, knitted and stacked fabrics that can be squeezed during the filling process.

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