Clothing printing ink

Charlie Taublieb, a textile printing expert, has accumulated valuable experience in the field of textile printing and his views on the future development of the industry.

new trend
Garment factory seems to attract consumers to buy clothes, especially T-shirts, by adding new elements each year, because the price of such clothes is relatively cheap, and everyone needs several pieces.
Some new trends are not new, but they have not been discovered before. Some things are things that we tried hard to avoid and now want to do. Some things are brand new.
Let me now take a look at those things that are timeless. Discharge inks have been around for a long time and I used them for the first time about 20 years ago. Most discharge inks are water-based inks. Although some of them are thermosetting inks, I still do not understand why people use thermosetting discharge inks, so I still have to focus on water-based inks. Discharge inks need to be printed on cotton materials and reactive dyes are used. The principle of its work is to use reactive dyes to remove and replace the existing dye colors of clothing. This means that when using the discharge ink, the color of the garment will be restored to the cost. Now, we don't have to discharge all printed garments; in the past, this was a very important thing. Since water-based inks generally dry from the outside to the inside, we can use a light and dark tone instead of a monotonous color. We can achieve this effect by carefully controlling the temperature and the dryer's operating speed. It also allows the print to glow for a certain period of time.
Burn Out may be the next product that will set up a new market and flex its muscles in the fashion industry. Burn Out is an ink that can be printed on garments made from blended fabrics and will only affect the cotton fibers contained in the garment. Because it has a destructive effect on cotton fibers, when people wash clothes, the cotton fibers in the clothes will decompose, leaving only polyester fibers. According to the different colors of cotton fibers and polyester fibers, the effect after washing is also different: some are obvious, while others are less obvious. This product is very popular with female customers. In addition to printing patterns, Burn Out ink can also be used to handle shirts. People can use the roller to paint on shirts that are twisted into a ball. Once painted, the shirt is opened and sent to the dryer for installation. Subsequently, people can choose to print with or without Burn Out ink as needed. In the usual case, the pattern on the garment is printed with water-based ink, so it becomes very soft after washing. The washed clothing will lose part of the cotton fiber, so it looks like it has a retro feel. After getting married, I discovered that my wife also bought this kind of clothes, and I can tell you that you don't want to know this!
From my memory, water-based inks have already existed. Most printing plants in the world print on water-based inks because they are cheaper. But in the United States and European markets, the situation will be different. If you are printing water-based inks, you will need to make the correct screen and you cannot leave the press half-step before cleaning the screen. In addition, the transparency of water-based inks is high, so it is easy to have problems printing dark clothing. But now, due to fashion trends and the needs of customers, many printers have turned their sights back to water-based inks. Some people may think that water-based inks are more environmentally friendly, but this is not the case. Water-based inks, like thermosetting inks, cannot be easily discharged. It contains resin, and these resins must be removed before the ink is discharged, otherwise it will be as harmful as the plasticizing solvent contained in the thermosetting ink. The water-based ink is not softer than the thermosetting ink before the laundry, but after washing, it becomes so soft that you do not feel it.
Another trend in clothing printing is to make clothing old and make it look like it is worn out. Over the years, the printing factory has been trying hard to make clothes look a little newer, but now we want to print it like the old one. The biggest difference between the two is that we do not want clothing to continue to be old. The old effect of clothing mainly depends on the design department, not the production department.
Special effects inks are still quite popular. Sports companies sell a lot of high-density inks and inks. The design of special effects inks is ever-changing, but the amount of antimony used is more, and other high-density, soft-density inks, reflective inks, flocking, and mixed inks containing metal foils are also relatively popular. In short, the more complex the design of special effects ink, the greater the market demand for it.
Many years ago, people preferred to print on the entire garment. Some printing plants use belt printers instead of the original rotary printers, while others have purchased printing machines that can print on the front and back of clothing. Now they are back. The overall printing has begun to return to the fashion team, but they do not seem to be used in the past. Currently, 4XL and even 5XL garments are widely available, and their print sizes are surprisingly large. Some shirts are so large that they require two operators to put it in a tray for printing. It won't be long before special effects inks are used in oversized printing and apparel printing. It will launch real challenges for people.
I once said that as a screen printing factory, we can print on anything other than the air, but now that statement has changed. At the SGIA show held last year (hosting place: Las Velas), the shirts that won the “Best Display Award” used ink suspended in the air.
Not all garments are printed using traditional methods. A few years ago, Mimaki launched the world’s first “direct to clothing” digital printer. Although the printing quality of this device is not high, it has a far-reaching impact on the future. And what I call "future" is here, it is now!
Direct-to-clothing digital printers are now widely used around the world, and they have different prices and speeds. Some printers can only print on light-colored garments, while others can print on light-colored garments as well as dark or black garments. Faced with this situation, we cannot help but ask several questions. Are these devices really marketable? If so, what is its market? Who will buy these equipment? What costs do they have to pay for these devices? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these devices? Will these new printers replace traditional screen printers?

Let us answer these questions one by one.
Are these devices really marketable? Yes, they have a very broad market. If so, what is their market? The first and most popular is the Internet. You must have a good website and be able to provide customers with a large number of personalized design solutions. People can deal with their favorite patterns on their own computers, and they can also pay for shirts through the Internet. Shirts ordered by customers can generally be completed and shipped in one to two days.
The next step is to stimulate consumption. You can bring a small "direct-to-clothing" printer to an event site and use it to print digital photos on shirts so that you can certainly make big money.
Everyone involved in this event is your potential customer. For example, you can take the printer to a gymnastic conference. Some people won a match and you can take photos of them, enter their name, place and date under the photo, and let them choose their favorite clothing, such as T-shirts or sweatshirts. In addition, some devices allow customers to customize the color they want, whether black, white, or neutral. The biggest benefit of doing this is that every winner or anyone involved in the game can become your customer! You can charge them a very high fee because this is an exciting time. But wait until the next day, these people may not spend half the price to buy the same clothes as the previous day.
Who will buy these equipment? Almost everyone, from entrepreneurs to embroidery workers, virtually everyone who does not want to send garments to a screen printing factory can become a user of these devices. Even screen printers themselves want to have the ability to serve all types of customers. I think the market for equipment that can print on various colors of clothing is very promising. The first is to use those companies that need to produce sample proofs for customers, followed by those who need to produce catalog samples. The direct-to-clothing digital printer can save the user a lot of time and money, because even if the digital image is not exactly the same as the screen-printed image, it is at least close to the screen-printed image.
How high are their costs? The prices of these devices are as varied as the price of cars. Some equipment costs about 12,000 euros, while some equipment costs close to 200,000 euros. Each device has its own similarities and differences. Speed, the ability to print in different colors of clothing, image quality, and image size are all factors to consider.
What are their advantages and disadvantages? In addition to the above, we must also consider the cost of the ink. The downside of this device is that if one wants to print a 12x12-inch image on a garment, it costs 0.4 to 2 euros. The exact price, of course, depends on the circumstances. The advantage of this is that most printers can pay for the cost of 10 to 20 euros per shirt, and they can personalize the printing of each shirt or a small number of shirts, and they can deliver the goods in a very short time.
Will these printers replace traditional screen printers? In addition to Mimaki printers capable of printing discharge inks, other "direct-to-clothing" digital printers can only produce monotonous colors using standard inks, and the cost of these inks is relatively high. In addition, the production speed of such equipment is relatively low. So, I don't think it is necessary for the traditional screen printing factory to worry about it now, but we can't predict anything in the future.

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