Digital fabric printing requires specialist printers and ink chemistry, so if you’re planning to offer this service or need to print large order runs for your business, you will need to consider the type of fabrics you’ll be printing on, the finish you want to achieve and the level of detail in the designs you’re working with.
Digital printed fabric is more likely to reflect your designs accurately than printing by hand and machine because a computer is used alongside an inkjet printer. There are two main types of digital fabric printing called direct-to-fabric and dye sublimation. With that in mind, we’re going to look at the differences between these printing techniques and their costs.
This digital printing technique uses an inkjet printer with water-based inks to print designs directly onto the fabric. Ideal for materials such as cotton, nylon and silk, direct-to-fabric printing requires a pre-treatment process to improve the absorption of ink and then the fabric passes through a machine which sets the ink using heat or steam.
Direct-to-fabric printing is great for producing a wide range of colours, fine details and realistic imagery. It also has a fairly low cost to set up and smaller quantities of fabrics or garments can be printed at a low cost.
This method of printing is used for one of the most popular textiles, polyester, and is also great for printing sports apparel and some home décor products such as shower curtains. Dye sublimation uses an inkjet printer like direct-to-fabric printing, however the design is printed in reverse onto paper before being transferred onto the fabric.
Although this technique is not compatible with non-synthetic fabrics such as cotton, dye sublimation can offer more vibrant colours and clear images than any other type of printing when using suitable fabrics. This technique is also more expensive than direct-to-fabric and the sampling cost is increased.
In the long-run, digital fabric printing has many valuable advantages and can save on costs. With lower labour costs than conventional printers, a shorter turnaround time, a smaller amount of ink usage and a longer lifespan of print heads, making the transition to digital printing for your fabrics can improve profit margins and even generate new income.
Here at Perfect Colours, we have a range of digital fabric printers that will ensure you receive high quality printing no matter what fabric you use. We also have fabric pre-treatment machines and dual technology machines that offer both dye sublimation and direct-to-fabric techniques. If you would like to find out more about our fabric printers, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We're here to help. Whether you're looking to get started with a large format printer or you've been in the industry for years, our team of qualified specialists are always happy to lend a hand. Give us a call on 0845 680 9000.
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