Sign & Digital Graphics

October '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • October 2019 • 59 Cooling contracts the fiber, effectively trapping the gas inside before it changes back to a solid. Brilliant color can be achieved, which is long-lasting but lim- ited only to polyester substrates. Pigments can be used for any fiber substrate since, rather than undergoing any reaction with the fiber in the sub- strate, a binder acts as a glue to bond the color to the fabric. They are less wash- fast than reactive or acids for natural fibers, yet are more light-fast. Advances in pigment ink develop- ment for digital printing have resulted in two different types: with binder or with just a small amount of binder. Pigment inks with the small amount of binder require a pretreatment application on the substrate. Pigment inks that carry the binder in the formulation can be printed onto untreated fabrics, but significant improvements in color results have been achieved by also using pretreated fabrics. Dry heat fixation is necessary as post- processing for either method. Pigment printing also delivers sig- nificant values in the digital process. It takes less time and is more flexible than the conventional screen process. It also allows you to print on blended fabric such as cotton polyester, and it either reduces or requires zero water consump- tion. All the different technologies have merit, and as a digital manufacturer, the volume and the growth in this mar- ket segment will ensure that it can't be ignored by equipment or ink manufac- turers. It is truly one of the more excit- ing digital segments because digital has answered most of the objections and has moved past those. If you have any doubt, you should have attended the recent ITMA trade show in Barcelona. The digital vendors there were showing massive machines printing at very high speeds. The digi- tal ink manufacturers are excited about the volume of ink being consumed with every square meter of printed fabric. It presented a glimpse into the future and the realization that 2023 is not that far away. SDG

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