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Digital textile printing

 Digital textile printing is described as any ink jet based method of printing colorants onto fabric. Most notably, digital textile printing is referred to when identifying either printing smaller designs onto garments (t-shirts, dresses, promotional wear; abbreviated as DTG, which stands for Direct to Garment) and printing larger designs onto large format rolls of textile. The latter is a growing trend in visual communication, where advertisement and corporate branding is printed onto polyester media. Examples are:flags, banners, signs, retail graphics.

Types of printing can be divided into:

  • Direct Print
  • Discharge Print
  • Resist Print
  • Pigment Print
  • Specialty Print

Digital textile printing started in the late 1980s as a possible replacement for analog screen printing. With the development of a dye-sublimation printer in the early 1990s, it became possible to print with low energy sublimation inks and high energy disperse direct inks directly onto textile media, as opposed to print dye-sublimation inks on a transfer paper and, in a separate process using a heat press, transfer it to the fabric.

Within the digital textile printing for visual communication a division has to be made in:

  • low-volume dye-sub printers (e.g. ATPColor,Roland, D-Gen, Mimaki, Mutoh)
  • mid-volume wide format printers (e.g. Atexco, ATPColor,Roland, Durst, Hollanders Printing Systems, Vutek)
  • high-volume industrial printers (e.g. Atexco, Reggiani, MS, Osiris, Stork, Konica-Minolta, Zimmer)