Inka, a textile design studio and export house, which prints fabrics through the traditional block printing technique, has installed ColorJet’s Vastrajet Direct-to-Fabric digital textile printer to integrate modern printing methods with the traditional form of printing, while also helping overcoming a few challenges.
“There was a need for certain different designs, which was not practical to print on block or screen. If we needed to print 12 colour print designs, we have to make twelve blocks and also employ 12 people, to print that particular design, Mr Balram Jindal, Director at Inka says.
“Digital printing has given us flexibility to print customised designs with minimum efforts and at the same time is not labour intensive, but also offers higher productivity. With digital printing, we can produce a print in five minutes, and if customer is not satisfied, we can again print another design in five more minutes,” Mr Jindal adds.
“Colour fastness is one of the main features of our prints, which is vouched for by all our customers and so we required the same colour fastness and at the same time, also wanted the digital print to complement our hand block printing technique. I am pleased that the Vastrajet digital printer was able to meet these expectations,” Ms Indu Kapahi, founder at Inka informs.
Inka was born out of Ms Kapahi’s passion for hand block printing, who along with uplifting the centuries’ old craft, also exports to several countries in Europe and also Russia.
“The addition of ColorJet’s Direct-to-Fabric printer to our existing set-up of hand block printing has enabled us to scale our production to an industrial level, while providing high standards of quality, as well as reliability to our customers,” Ms Kapahi too adds.
Hand block printing is a centuries-old art form popular in India, China, and many other East Asian countries and is done so, by which carved wooden blocks covered with dye are repeatedly pressed along a length of fabric to create patterns. The tiny variations in the block printing, the vibrant and meaningful motifs, and the handmade technique of Indian block print on fabric, is what gives it such a unique charm.
Printing new designs with hand block technique is a long process and requires a lot of time and effort. First, the block for the design must be created. These new designs are carved on wood by hand. Then, the artisan mixes together four or five basic natural colours to create a multitude of dyes. The block is then dipped in dye and stamped firmly by hand onto the fabric creating a design.
The Vastrajet is a 1.8 metre direct to fabric workhorse with over 200+ installations across the globe. It is a compact machine with outstanding performance, increased productivity, superior printing accuracy with minimal maintenance needs and can print fabric at a top speed of 161 sq. metre per hour.
In addition, VastraJet gives flexibility to print on any type of fabric like Cotton, Viscose, Polyester, Polyamide, Silk, Wool, etc. with various types of inks like Reactive, Pigment, Acid or Disperse.