In the textile industry, the majority of textile printing is done in traditional analogue method but there is a growing interest for digital printing on textiles. This demand may have emanated from dye sublimation printing on polyester achieved easily with a simple digital printer usually with the mediation of a transfer paper but the demand may have emanated from the textile industry’s latent acknowledge of digital printing capabilities.
Dye sublimation proved perfect for short runs on polyester and used mainly for banners and flags. However, the mass of textile printing is still in clothing and home textile who are still battling the fabric restrictions limiting the printing onto a single type of fabric, mainly cotton or viscose, but also blended fabrics such as the common poly-cotton or viscose-spandex fabric blends.
Nevertheless, with all the textile diversity the textile industry shares the same barriers. The large variety of fabric types, whether natural such as cotton, wool or silk and man-made fabrics such as polyester and blended fabrics which require different types of inks as well as the need for pre and/or post treatment makes it difficult for the textile industry to turn to sublimation digital printing. Any textile printer manufacturer would tell you that in order for textile printing to digitalize, these processes of numerous inks and fabric treatments must be simplified.
While textile is still about clothing and home-use textiles, the textile industry as a whole is one of the largest printing industries in the world with great diversity. Sublimation textile printing is also used in industrial textiles which include hundreds of types of textiles for many industries such as automotive, upholstery, outdoor gear, protective clothing, agro-textiles used in agriculture and even This extended colour spectrum is right in line with the requirements of textile printing. For soft signage, however, four ink colours are sufficient.
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