Digital Textile Printing (DTP) is the most modern technique of textile printing. By this technique we can print textile material without using any block or engraved roller or screen but with better prominence of images. There is lot of flexibility of working as we can easily change the colors if it not matches with the sample within a few seconds.
The digital textile printing process flow is very short comparing with the rotary screen printing. But printing cost is very high compared to other textile printing methods. So this process is not yet accepted as an option for the mass production. This technique is generally used to produce samples for the new designs and used for designer’s costume. But recent years garment and textile printing facilities preferring to have digital textile printing in-house to reduce the sampling lead time.
To make you understood the Digital Textile Printing processes, a typical process flow has been explained in the following.
Order received from the buyers or clients
Scanning of design and design development
Curing or Dye fixing
First the design or motif is converted into soft file from the paper. Designs can be developed in two ways. Firstly, by digitization process and secondly pictures may be scanned directly if no change is required. Then the created file is saved in printer compatible format. Whatever changes is needed in terms of color combinations, brightness of the images is done in this stage.
Fabric needs to be processed before going for printing. In this stage fabrics are padded with chemicals, generally sizing materials are used. It helps to remove the fabric crushes and makes it stiffer for better feeding during printing. Padding is done on the flat bed with the help of scrapper.
By the help of the printer server images are printed on the substrate by using proper dye classes and printed fabric is then properly dried. First, fabric is set properly without any looseness and creases. Then the head of the printers are set according to the fabric thickness.
In the time of printing dyes only remain on the surface of the fabric, not fixed permanently and if we use this material the dye will be washed out during its use. So, it is necessary to fix the dyes for the good fastness property. For the fixation printed material is kept into the steam chamber. Here dyes molecules enter into the fibres from the fabric surface and they are fixed permanently. This process is called Fixation process.
After completion of the fixation the material is washed and dried properly.
The system workflow of a Digital Textile Printer has been shown in the following picture