Change is a dominant factor in life in every business.
Speaking of the textile printing industry, it has undergone a massive transformation, constantly adapting with the new market changes, reinvigorating the process of printing.
While printing on fabrics has been dating back since the 3rd Century B.C. Let’s have a look at how the printing techniques have evolved, from the traditional analogue methods to the latest digital DTG (Direct To Garment) method:
The earliest type of printing on fabric is block printing, also sometimes referred to as relief printing. This is the process of dye being pressed onto a piece of fabric from a carved material; historically wood, copper but also rubber and now many other materials. As the dye sits on the surface of the fabric, there is often a texture to this style of textile printing.
Then in the 18th Century, the technique of roller or cylinder printing came about. This is the process by which the fabric is carried along a rotating central cylinder and pressed by a series of rollers, each of which is engraved with the design. The roller printing machines were even able to print 6 colours at once, making them much faster than the block printing process.
In the early 20th Century the modern process of screen printing arrived. This process involves the use of a stencil of an image on a screen of porous mesh (this was traditionally made of silk), a roller is used to pull the ink over the stencil which is in turn forced through the mesh and onto the fabric; for each separate colour a different stencil is used.
In the mid 20th-century rotary multicoloured screen printing allowed for large-scale screenprints and at a faster rate, making it more economical.
We now have digital textile printing, this process involves using computer-controlled lasers and high-pressure jets to inject ink directly into the fabric. This allows for very detailed finishing at a fast pace.
It feels like yesterday when analogue printers were the new technology. When artists and craftsmen did the entire printing job themselves and got their hands dirty.
While that is now history, Digital Printing is changing the fashion world.
The designers are now given the creative freedom to go explore new possibilities only limited by imagination.
The battle is no more about what costs more, or what costs less. It’s strictly about quality.
As the print runs are getting smaller and the demand for customization is rapidly growing, manufacturers are opting to go with the latest technologies over the traditional methods. Thus, allowing them to stay competitive and relevant.
Digital printing – The future!
Let’s talk about the merits of digital printing over the challenges faced by manufacturers in analogue printing:
The fact that digital printers are able to coexist with traditional printers, allows further extension of product offerings.
Data shows a huge impact, not only in reducing water consumption and pollution but also in decreasing energy use, carbon dioxide emissions, waste materials and time. Thus making it environment-friendly.
Closer to life print quality:
The prints look absolutely fabulous with more potential to play around with the creative options.
Outstanding image quality further results in an improvement of finished products, and thus indirectly increasing customer demand.
Remains cost-efficient by consuming less electricity and water.
Less work staff:
Lesser manforce required, as compared to the labour intensive Analogue Printing techniques.
Since most of the job is done by the machine, it is more dependable, decreasing the tendencies of error.
It consumes lesser time and provides a much better output.
Lesser dependence on weather conditions.
It is clear to see that textile printing has come a long way over the years and even the oldest methods are still used in fabric printing today.
Whats Down takes sustainability very seriously, and hence digital printing is the standard norm for all our products.