The New Wave of Digital Fabric Printing Technology
Textile printing is a method by which fabrics are printed in various colors, arts and designs. It is a very old art developed and created on fabrics in Egypt during 5000 B.C. Fabrics also found printed in Greek during 4th century. B.C, also it is noted that printing blocks were sourced from India in 5th century. B.C. During that time, France acknowledged as popular center of this type of cloth production and printing. Japan was popular for adding stencil work in wood by making blocks and further by pasting dies and prints it in fabrics.
In the Mid-15th Century, with the invention of printing press by John Gutenberg there was a drastic change seen in printing technology and textile printing. After practicing by William Caxton in England, there was a remarkable widespread seen in relief printing technology in 1476. In sixteen and seventeen century with the export of spices, India became major provider of printing fabrics and products, like calico, pajama, gingham, dungaree, chintz and khaki according to the requirement of European countries. Then by the efforts by Grant, Thomas Bell and many printers, with the invention of wood block (1760), copper block (1770) and copper roller (1797) printing technology in the eighteenth century, especially the trend of cotton printing spread, still it can be seen at the Toile de Jouy Museum China’s silk road economic belt.
The history of fabric printing in Dartford goes away with Augustus Applegath’s acceptance of a silk printing works in the town and it sustained until 1865 when James Keymer established a new fabric printing works on the banks of the River Darent. In 1907 Samuel Simon was used a fabric printing system in which the designs were shaped from stencils through screen printing machines. In 1940’s first photographic stencil was built up by Colin Sharp. After development of computers, the printing process and its developments geared up in their colors.
Development in last two decades
With the improvement in the printing technology, color inkjet printers played an important role in digital fabrics for the consumer market in the late 1980s. That time Canon and Hewlett-Packard became leaders in the printing technology. Canon’s Bubble Jet printers were received so acceptance in the market. Again latest technology geared up in their improvement with the existence of a large format color inkjet printer – the Iris printer in the 1990s, but that technology was not considered as ideal tool for the fabrics due to light sensitive color problem, rather it was accepted for paper printing.
Earlier, direct printing method used for fabric with the computer and the printing is made with the computer inks; it was the time where fabric was printed using only black images or text because of the availability of only laser printers and ribbon printers and there were no color printers. In 1999 Bubble Jet Set printing technology developed, which permits fabric to be treated, amalgamated to freezer paper with an iron and then operate through an ink jet printer.
The meaning of Digital fabric/Textile Printing
The digital fabrics printing technology is existed since last decade, it emerged after 1994. It is a skill that prints the designs on fabric, immediately from your computer, without extra efforts just like printing and designing a paper. Digital textile printing is a flexible tool and a key acceptable to the vision of mass customization. It permits the user to evade the screen making process, offering the chance for quick changes to color or design elements prior to printing.
Advantages of digital fabric printing over traditional printing technology
Generally, textile printing has been operated through transferring media, such as screens and rollers. Each transferring media is designed and allocated for a specific color. A block printing and engraved copper printing are operating through these methods. A number of woodblocks that are designed in block printing give a number of colors in design. Advantage of using this type of method is that you can have three dimensional effects due to its color separation and layers, and still today rotary screen printing method is used in designing of traditional floral patterns and toile designs. Mechanical or traditional fabric printing methods some times manipulate in both way, by design aesthetics and styles, while in the field of printed textile design with the latest digital fabric printing technology it enhanced the style and meaning of printed textile design. It is a fact that the new latest methods of digital printing on fabrics have exposed new horizons to the designers and manufacturers. Digital printing methods have facilitated manufactures to make a digital sampling and have advantages of change in designs before engraving. By adopting digital printing techniques you can re-adjust conventional printing design and can able to give new looks in design.
Today, many customers are demanding fabrics to be printed with various color combinations, styles, designs, traditional designs and looks, but to co-up with these customization demands there has been a limitation to attend the entire mass market with traditional printing technology. Digital printing profits over conventional printing it provide noteworthy benefits like quick turn-around, efficient set-up and speed, economical and great flexibility, takes less time, alteration possible etc. And in today’s customer oriented market the printing technology is not limited to wearing wears; but it bounds to its limits and reaches to the requirements of trade show graphics, picture of huge fabric posters of television and movie stars, advertising purposes, flags and banners and many mores.
Unlike any traditional textile printing technology, the main benefit of digital fabric printing is in its process color application with its latest printers, software applications. Photographic and tonal graphics shaped millions of colors with Photoshop and can be printed on fabric according to the color combination requirement. Wider color scope and finer printing quality are available with the latest development of inks, color management software. In the traditional process colors of CMYK, you can have various color combination with addition of extra preset colors like orange, blue, green, and also there is availability of various type of software with these complex color combination. These preset colors reduce importance of screens or rollers for printing, and there is no need of repeat the size and other combination with no limit with color combinations in designs.
From digital textile printing technology you can have latest innovative and creative deigns like concepts of shadow, shimmering, vibration, reflection, moire, optical, translucent, netting, blurring, layering, superimposing, etc., instead of making special efforts with traditional methods of printing. Today, the printing technology developed so tremendously and became so eco-friendly, user-friendly that, even designers can make its products without taking help from textile designers.