By Cassandra Balentine
Part 2 of 2
Textiles represent an important part of the wide format digital print market. The segment is experiencing continued growth as trends move to shorter runs and technologies advance to improve speed and image quality.
In part one of this two part series on inks, we discussed trends and technology advancements affecting direct-to-textile digital printing. Here, we share some of the available products.
Bordeaux Digital PrintInk
Bordeaux is an independent inkjet ink developer and manufacturer offering a number of direct-to-fabric ink products in addition to inks for all types of wide format digital printing technologies. The company offers two types of dye-sublimation (dye-sub) inks, one for indirect dye-sub printing with transfer paper and dye-sub ink for direct printing on fabric.
In addition, the company launched water-based latex ink as part of its EDEN line last year. EDEN is Bordeaux’s water-based ink family for direct printing on textiles. “Latex can be printed directly onto any type of fiber, without pretreatment on the fabric, on any type of fabric, including those with mixed fibers,” says Ruth Zach, marketing communication coordinator, Bordeaux.
Both types of Bordeaux dye-sub inks are compatible with all dye-sub printers on the market, according to Zach. The company’s latex ink is designed for piezo printhead technology only.
Epson offers its UltraChrome DG inks, which leverage a new ink chemistry created by Epson in conjunction with experienced hardware engineers to yield excellent image quality, high printer reliability, and durable output—all with a soft hand, according to Eddie Murphy, professional imaging, Epson. The original, pigment-based ink technology is designed to adhere to cellulose-based fiber garments and is compatible with fabrics ranging from 100 percent cotton to 50/50 cotton synthetic blends. The unique white ink is built on a next-generation high-dispersion particle technology to reduce sedimentation and coagulation while printing a high white ink density with a natural looking white color. “For customers, the result is simplified maintenance for white ink and a long shelf life,” says Murphy.
In addition to ink technology, Epson developed a t-shirt pre-treatment solution that’s formulated to work specifically with the white ink to yield durable garments without a sticky feel, touch, or residue.
Epson UltraChrome DG ink is designed around the SureColor F2000 direct-to-garment (DTG) print engine, which uses the PrecisionCore TFP printhead.
Epson offers both DTG and dye-sub transfer ink solutions. The DTG inks are pigment based, including a specially formulated titanium dioxide white ink, and are designed to adhere to the surface of a cellulose based cotton fiber garment or dark garment, given the dark garment is pretreated with Epson pretreatment solution.
Gans Ink and Supply Company
The digital division of Gans Ink offers its PyroJET ink set, which are available for traditional dye-sub or direct inkjet. The inks are ideal for garments to trade show graphics and even more unique applications such as three-dimensional printing. The direct-to-print line of products is available in CMYK.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) first introduced third generation HP Latex Ink Technology in 2013 with the HP Latex 3000 Printer for industrial print service providers (PSPs). Most recently, the company launched the HP Latex 300 Printer series, bringing third generation HP Latex Ink Technology to a new, low-volume portfolio ideal for small sign shops, quick printers, and small to medium PSPs.
These third generation HP Latex Inks, according to Ester Sala, worldwide product manager, HP Latex 300 printer series, HP, deliver outstanding color saturation and details even on uncoated textiles. Both platforms can print direct to fabric and are ideal for applications such as temporary soft signage applications and interior decoration on substrates like cotton, canvas, polyester, cotton-poly blends, textile wallcoverings, and silk/nylon.
INX provides a variety of inkjet inks for direct-to-fabric digital printing including pigmented aqueous ink sets primarily for cotton, and dispersed dye ink sets for polyester.
Craig Reid, VP – digital, INX International Ink Co., suggests that this is where the one-size-fits-all concept does not work. “INX Digital offers different formulations based on the printhead type, drop volume, and jetting speeds. We can meet the needs of most any configuration from high resolution—but with slower desktop type models—up to the fastest grand format industrial systems.”
The Kiian Digital side of the company offers two ink sets for direct printing onto textiles. Digistar DYS is a water-based disperse ink for printing on polyester, and ideal for outdoor fastness. Digistar EASYTEX is a digital water-based pigment that also offers excellent fastness.
Marabu North America
Among its digital printing inks, Marabu offers TexaJet water-based inkjet inks for textile applications. The TexaJet DX-SHE sublimation ink system is suitable for transfer as well as direct digital printing. The solution is developed for wide format printers that employ Epson DX4 and DX5 printhead technologies.
Mimaki USA, Inc.
Mimaki uses the same ink formulations for both paper transfer or direct-to-fabric printing. “The reactive acid dye inks are also a water-based formulation but need special post processing or steaming to set the inks for permanent saturation and fixation. Printed fabrics need to withstand repeated washing and cleaning processes,” explains Paul McGovern, marketing and promotions manager, Mimaki. He adds that the apparel industry uses this post processing method for printing bright colors on fine fashion fabrics.
Roland DGA Corporation
Roland ink technology is designed specifically for the company’s line of inkjet printers and printer/cutters and is formulated to optimize the performance of these devices.
Eco-Sol MAX and Eco-Sol MAX 2 inks are featured in Roland eco-solvent inkjet printers and printer/cutters, including SOLJET, VersaCAMM, VersaArt, and VersaStudio models. These devices can be used to print directly on coated fabrics such as its WallFlair Removable Fabric media for décor applications.
Both Eco-Sol MAX and WallFlair Removable Fabric are GREENGUARD Gold certified, which means they have met GREENGUARD’s highest standards for indoor safety. Eco-Sol MAX inks can also be printed on third-party coated fabrics for a variety of applications, including décor, soft signage, and textiles.
ECO-UV inks are featured in the company’s VersaUV line of inkjet printers and printer/cutters. These flexible UV inks adhere to virtually any surface, including a range of fabric options.
Roland also offers transfer sublimation printers featuring the company’s HeatWave SBL2 inks, including the Hi-Fi Express FP-740, and sublimation versions of the SOFJET Pro 4 XF-640 and VersaArt RE-640. SOLJET and VersaArt printers can also be configured with Eco-Sol MAX inks.
Sawgrass Industrial offers SubliM Direct dye-sub Ink for printing polyester fabrics and M-XTR Digital Textile Ink for printing to a range of textiles. The ink is compatible with Epson printheads on presses by Epson, Mimaki, Mutoh, and Roland; Ricoh Industrial printheads on printers such as the d.gen; Seiko Industrial printhead printers, including d.gen Artrix, Ftex, Ichinose, and the Zimmer Colaris; and Kyocera printhead printers including La Meccania QualiJet, the MS line of printers, and the Reggiani ReNOIR.
Direct-to-fabric printing continues to gain popularity as new products emerge and technologies advance to compete on par with traditional dye-sub methods. Look for extensive coverage of textile printing in the July issue of Digital Output.
Aug2014, Digital Output DOFI1407