December '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 D E C E M B E R P R I N T W E A R 5 5 wear and uniforms made of poly- ester, Lycra, Spandex, and nylon, more factors play into the success formula. One ongoing challenge is the coatings and treatments commonly used on performance fabrics. Unless you have tested a specific brand of garment, you may find that a finish will affect the DTG inks' ability to bond with the fabric. This can result in dye migration during the cur- ing process and even in the wash/dry cycle when laundering. High heat from either source can cause the inks to bleed into unwanted areas. However, advancements in this area are making polyester printing much easier than in years past. POLY PERFECT Because most businesses need to print on more than cotton in a production-friendly environment, having the ability to offer an alternative in the form of a printer/cutter allows you to meet a broader product de- mand from clients. Moisture wicking, Lycra/Spandex blends, coated polyesters, nylons, and even vinyls are common substrates in today's promo- tional landscape with items like backpacks, umbrellas, cinch bags, leather padfolios, and vinyl beach bags available through full- line dealers. And with a vinyl cutter/printer, you can produce full-color logos on these items. In the past, if you wanted to add a sol- vent- or eco-solvent-based digital printer/ cutter (also referred to as wide-format and large-format printers) to expand your ca- pabilities, you were at the mercy of the availability of printable heat transfer ma- terials. Traditional materials were stiff as cardboard, which was evident when a digital transfer was applied on a shirt. But thanks to today's printable materials, print-and-cut transfers are lightweight with outstanding stretch and rebound. When these printed, heat-applied logos are put through the standard American Association of Textile Chemists and Col- orists (AATCC) tests of 50 washes, they measure up equally well to screen printing and DTG. And many have application temperatures below 300 degrees F. Polyester fabrics have dye migration is- sues, especially when temperatures get above 295 degrees F. Printable heat-ap- plied materials are available with a char- coal-backed adhesive that helps inhibit dye migration on polyester fabrics. Today's active population purchases ny- lon and water-resistant polyester equip- ment bags and backpacks, nylon pullovers, umbrellas, etc. With adhesives designed for almost any fabric, there's a heat transfer ma- terial to decorate these items. Plus, there are special-effect products, such as glitter and gloss for different finishes. DTG is ideal for apparel made of 100% cotton, a high cotton blend, other natural fibers, or light-colored polyesters. DTG SPECIAL SECTION

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