Research/ Review Paper | Textile Articles

Digital Printing and it’s process

Published: December 5, 2020


The digital printing involves printing on different media like paper, fabric, acrylic, plastic, etc., directly from a digital image. It professionally does print work and tiny jobs from publishing and other digital sources which are printed via inkjet printers of huge format or high volume. Digital printing is certainly costlier per page than conventional methods; however, the value of constructing printing plates is eliminated, bringing down the general cost. Digital printing may also be done on-demand and in an exceedingly short time; images are easily altered for every impression in addition. With its huge savings aborning and rapidly improving capabilities, digital printing has slowly begun to match the flexibility of offset. it’s now possible to print thousands of sheets at an occasional price with digital printing. Get some details on digital printing vs the printing process. the foremost popular printers that used digital printing processes are inkjet and laser printers that drop pigments or toners on numerous substrates like paper, glass, canvas, metal, fabric, marble, and plastic. Usually, the ink or toner only forms a slim layer on the surface without permeating the substrate – which happens in traditional methods. A fuser fluid with heat process is employed for toner and a UV curing process is employed for ink so it adheres firmly to the substrate. Checkout some print finishing techniques. Now that we’ve got understood digital writing allows us to see the steps involved in printing it. Now obviously the primary step is getting your design ready; some customers may outsource the designing job to the company, and a few might want to form it themselves. If you’d wish to create the look yourself, here is what you wish to try and do.

  1. Introduction

digital printing is the term that defines exactly how ink is printed directly onto a substrate. This method, in an exceeding nutshell, is incredibly like how your home color printer works, but on a far larger format.

Digital printing is the process of making prints from an electronic file. Digital printing doesn’t rely upon a press plate to carry the image and also doesn’t require any setup sheets. because of lower production costs, digital printing has replaced lithography during a giant selection of markets.

Digital printing makes use of a raster image which is distributed to the printer with help of digital files and graphics software applications. The toner actually forms a thin layer on the surface and with the help of a fuser fluid as a component of the heat process or UV curing process is additionally used for adhering to the surface. the foremost advantage is the elimination of the printing plate and thus helps in saving time, effort, and money.

It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers.
Digital printing encompasses the next cost per page than more traditional offset methods, but this price is usually offset by avoiding the worth of all the technical steps required to form printing plates.

2. What other options could be used if Digital Printing isn’t Suitable or Cost-Effective

There is an alternative choice if digital Printing isn’t Suitable/Cost-Effective
Digital printing is mostly restricted to CMYK output and special Pantone colors are seldom used. This might be important to remember if, for instance, we wish to paint match exactly to a company logo color. In some instances, it’s possible to print using Pantone colors but it’s an awfully costly process to try Digitally. So, if Pantone colors are necessary, we will Screen or UV litho print instead as a more cost-effective solution. Digital printing is right for lower quantities and although the machine speeds have gotten faster annually, there’ll be a specific quantity reached where the faster print speeds of the UV litho and Screen machines provide a cheaper solution.

3. Digital printing process

Design selection and conceptualization is that the initial and most vital process before digital printing on textile substrates. Fabric is printed by digital printers with the look prepared on a computer using the inkjet-based method of printing colorants onto fabric. First, the sketch is hand-drawn, software (CAD) sketch of styles are utilized and edited using various tools available in software like CorelDraw and Adobe Photoshop. The files obtained are utilized on digital printing machines to print the look on to fabrics. The printing involves feeding the material through the printer employing a feed roller followed by the appliance of ink on the fabric’s surface within the kind of thousands of little droplets. the material is then had a steam/heat chamber to cure the ink. The steamed fabric is subsequently washed and dried. The advancements introduced in digital printing machines involve the installation of special transport systems that enable printing on knitted and stretch fabrics.

Fabric preparation for digital printing
Smudge-free printing and superior quality that exactly replicate the motifs or designs are the necessities while digitally printing on textiles. Accordingly, the material must be prepared—coated with chemicals—before the method starts. The fixation of ink received by the material during the printing is assured by the curing process that follows printing. Curing is accomplished by passing the material through a steam/heat chamber, followed by washing and drying. Pre-treatment technology is employed to get vivid colors, darker blacks, sharper definition, and excellent wash durability, with known adverse effects on fabric hand.

The technology ensures excellent adhesion of ink to the textile medium. aside from the padding method of pre-treatment, the spray method using the compact Swift jet model is additionally commercially accustomed work in-line or separately from the dot matrix printer, thus eliminating the requirement for pre-treatment by padding. The spray drop size will be varied to enable variable pick-up supported by the substrate. The spray application ensures precise control for woven, knitted, and piled fabrics which will be subjected to crush during the padding process.

Different knit structures like single jersey, rib, and interlock structures composed of a variety of fibers and their blends—namely cotton, viscose, and polyester—are being printed digitally. Fibers with high moisture content ensure increased dye uptake and thus brighter colors and a brilliant reminder of the ultimate processed fabric.

Although digital printing is finished on a variety of woven and knit fabrics, trials on rib-knit fabrics are successful because the rib structure is tight, enabling sound ink penetration, and also the images don’t seem to be disrupted by stretching or curling like in plain knits. Further, attributable to the soft jersey construction on the face and backside, rib knits are comfortable to wear.

Accessories designing

Digital printing is employed as a surface embellishment technique for designing a variety of fashion accessories like scarves, socks, stockings, head accessories, gloves, and footwear. The inspiration of motifs chosen for digital printing will be taken from flora and fauna, human figures, mythological characters, architecture, and geometrical patterns. the color combination and style themes are vivid from subtle, pastel shades to vibrant, exuberant, and lively. Figure 2 shows a number of the motifs chosen for digital printing. The motifs are often strategically chosen to beautifully design and embellish the accessories. The choice of motifs is followed by the creation of a mood board and storyboard.

Fine art inkjet printing

Fine art digital inkjet printing is printing from a computer image file onto an inkjet printer as a final output. It evolved from digital proofing technology from Kodak, 3M, and other major manufacturers, with artists and other printers trying to adapt these dedicated prepress proofing machines to fine-art printing. Initially, these printers were limited to glossy papers, but the IRIS Graphics printer allowed the employment of a range of papers that included traditional and non-traditional media. The IRIS printer was the quality for art digital printmaking for several years, and remains in use today, but has been superseded by large-format printers from other manufacturers like Epson and HP that use fade-resistant, archival inks (pigment-based, still as newer solvent-based inks), and archival substrates specifically designed for fine-art printing.
Substrates in the creation of inkjet printmaking include traditional fine-art papers like Rives BFK, Arches watercolor paper, treated and untreated canvas, experimental substrates (such as metal and plastic), and fabric.

Digital Printing Press

For artists making reproductions of their original work, inkjet printing is dearer on a per-print basis than the normal four-color lithography, but with inkjet printing, the artist doesn’t must purchase the expensive printing plate setup or the marketing and storage needed for big four-color offset print runs. Inkjet reproductions are printed and sold individually in accordance with demand. Inkjet printing has the added advantage of allowing artists to require total control of the assembly of their images, including the ultimate color correction and also the substrates being employed, with some artists owning and operating their own printers. Digital inkjet printing also allows for the output of digital art of all kinds as finished pieces or as a part in a very further art piece. Experimental artists often add texture or other media to the surface of a final print or use it as a part of a mixed-media work. Many terms for the method are used over the years, including “digraph” and “giclée”. Thousands of print shops and digital printmakers now offer services to painters, photographers, and digital artists around the world. Notable digital laser exposure.

Digital images are exposed to true, light-sensitive photographic material with lasers and processed in photographic developers and fixers. These prints are true photographs and have a nonstop tone within the image detail. The archival quality of the print is as high because of the manufacturer’s rating for any given photo paper used. In large format prints, the best advantage is that, since no lens is employed, there’s no vignetting or detail distortion within the corners of the image.
Digital printing technology has grown significantly over the past few years with substantial developments in quality and sheet sizes.

Digital cylinder printing       

Digital cylinder printing is when a machine directly lays ink onto a curved surface that sometimes is that the wall of an object that features a circular cross-section, and a relentless, tapered, or variable diameter. Digital cylinder printing could be a method of reproducing black-and-white or full-color images and text onto cylindrical objects, typically promotional products, through the utilization of digital imaging systems.

The digital process is by definition faster than conventional screen printing because it requires fewer production steps and fewer set-up time for multiple colors and more complex jobs. This successively enables reduced run lengths.
The ability of digital cylinder printing machines to print full color one pass, including primers, varnishes, and specialty inks, enables multiple design techniques, which include:
● Mirror prints: viewable on the within and out of doors of glass or plastic
● Tone on tone: solid matte-finished substrate enhanced with one ink or clear coat
● Stained glass: color opaque enough to determine through
● Contouring
● Etched

Full-wrap cylindrical printing also benefits from seamless borders with no visual overlap. For simple print file preparation, original design artwork should be ready to be imaged on cylinders and tapered items without the necessity for manipulation or distortion; i.e., flat images will print to scale on a curved surface, with software automatically making the adjustment. The more advanced systems available on the market can handle these requirements.

The digital cylindrical writing involves inserting a cylinder-shaped item, or part, into a fixture, which securely holds it in situ. The part then travels under a print head mechanism within which tiny droplets of CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) inks are released in a very specific pattern to create a picture. Typically, one part is printed at a time and might require from 8 to 45 seconds to finish, reckoning on artwork complexity and quality. it’s then finished with a UV coating to feature a glossy finish and protect it from abrasion.

There are three different imaging techniques utilized by digital cylinder printing machines: multi-pass, single pass, and helical printing.
Multi-Pass: Multi-pass printing is when the print heads or printed objects move axially in steps down the part, sort of a flatbed printer. The move time is inefficient and might cause stitching artifacts between moves.
Single Pass: Single-pass involves using an array of print heads to print the total image length with one revolution of the printed object. Different colors are usually printed at different stations, resulting in higher cost, increased complexity, and sensitivity to print nozzle drop-outs.
Helical Printing: Helical printing could be a hybrid method between the single-pass and multi-pass approaches. Image data is mapped to permit continuous imaging during a helical pattern with a limited number of print heads. Users can optimize the print resolution, speed, and curing controls to optimize image quality or choose the next speed if the standard isn’t critical. Tapers is imaged at high speed and curved vessels will be managed through the range of controls offered.
Items that will be printed using digital cylindrical processes include cups, tumblers, thermos bottles, bottles, makeup containers, machine parts, carrier tubes, pens, tubes, jars, and others.

4. Global Digital Printing Market Overview

Digital printing eliminates the requirement for the varied steps that were once required for conventional printing (the various instruments used for the arrival of the top product), the price for the process of printing decreases as a result. Thus, it contributes to driving the worldwide digital printing market. With the emergence of digital printing came the broadening of the scope for several industries. Digital printing allows for the printing of digital-based images, to be directly printed onto various media substrates like paper, photo paper, canvas, fabric, synthetics, cardstock, and other substrates. This increase within the opportunity for a customizable technique that permits for conventional materials like fabric and packaging material cause the many facilitation of the packaging and therefore the textile industry. On the opposite hand, the high cost of investment in digital printing acts as a restraint for the expansion of the general digital printing market. These costs included the acquisition price & installation fees (if applicable), maintenance and support cost likewise because of the cost for ink and other consumables.

5. Conclusion

Digital printing provides a multidisciplinary environment for the event and production of innovative textile and apparel products. the arena is characterized by an oversized number of companies that are exploiting available technologies and lengthening the boundaries of economic application. it’s emerging as a major industry and because of the employer of execs who are competent in their chosen field of technology.
The work of designers is significantly affected. this is often not simply because of the talents they have to form designs for digital printing. The lead times for digitally printed products are often very short because production batches may be as long or as short because the market will take. Consequently, designers exploiting the potential of the technology are working closely in time to the purpose of sale: for garments, this is often the domain of ‘Fast Fashion’.

6. References




d. Spencer P &Schwartzwald D, Automatic Print Quality Measurement Using a Scanner, In:  12thInternational Conference on Digital Printing Technologies, 1996, 1-3.

e.Wang PL, Print Image Quality Evaluation System, In:  10th International Congress on Advances in Non-Impact Printing Technologies, 1994, 5-10.

f.Yoshimura K., Kishimoto M &Suemune T, Inkjet Printing Technology,  Techn Review, 64 (1998) 1-5.



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