Choosing the right textile ink for the right application

Chris Bailey, managing director of QPS, distributor of DuPont Artistri inks, discusses which inks are ideal to use for which application.

QPS always responds to market demand. In April 2019, following numerous requests for textile inks – other than dye sublimation – for more specific applications, we expanded our product portfolio with the full range of DuPont Artistri digital inks for textiles.

The digital printing of textiles is in the ascendance – of that there is no doubt. However, as with all emerging technologies there is a period of learning. Textile printing applications span apparel, accessories, indoor and outdoor soft signage, home décor, active wear, T shirts and much more. For print professionals new to this market, there is an abundance of new terminology covering printing technology, materials and inks.

Digital printing inks are available in both pigment and dye-based formulations and deliver brilliant colours, excellent fastness properties and robust print reliability. However, it is crucial that print businesses use the right ink for the right textile printing application. Below I’ve listed the different types of inks and the applications they can be used for.

Acid dye ink

Acid dye inks are used primarily for printing on nylon, wool, silk and nylon/elastane. Typical applications for these inks might include activewear, swimwear, underwear, and accessories such as ties and scarves.

They are specially formulated for industrial aqueous-compatible, medium viscosity piezo-electric printheads and offer excellent end-use properties over a very wide range of colour offerings.

They have properties tailored to fit the appropriate application, from sea water and chlorine fastness to light-fastness.

Disperse dye ink

Disperse dye inks are used primarily for digital printing on polyester; typical applications would include apparel, flags, banners and home furnishings. The inks are formulated for industrial aqueous-compatible, low, medium and high viscosity piezo-electric printheads and have excellent water-fastness properties.

Reactive dye ink

These inks are one of the major classes of dyes for printing on cotton and other cellulosic materials.

Typical applications include home furnishings and apparel. They are specially formulated for industrial aqueous-compatible medium viscosity, piezo-electric printheads and provide high crock levels (colour-fastness when washed or rubbed), wash-fastness and perspiration tolerance. Reactive dye inks also provide excellent colours.

Pigment ink

Pigment ink is designed for printing on a variety of fabrics, but is most commonly used on cotton and cotton/poly blends and give significantly improved light fastness than reactive dyes. Typical applications include apparel and home furnishings where expanded UV resistance is important.

Specially formulated for industrial aqueous-compatible, low, medium and high viscosity piezo-electric printheads, the inks yield full production, high-quality crock-fastness upon drying and excellent wash-fastness after post-treating in an oven or calendar.

Artistri Brite

These inks have been developed primarily for direct to garment digital printing. They have been specially designed for direct-to-garment decorators and fulfilment houses wanting to move to digital printing but needing a faster, more reliable, process that provides high quality and repeatability.

Using these inks significantly improves colour range and everyday direct-to-garment printing production repeatability, to significantly streamline workflow. Artistri Brite inks support the next generation industrial printers that print up to 3x faster.

Artistri Solar Brite

Artistri Solar Brite inks have been developed for digital printing onto SolarMax UV-resistant fabrics. They provide excellent colour saturation and penetration, and superior light- and water-fastness, making them ideal for outdoor applications.

Artistri inks, printable on a full range of fabrics, offer brilliant colours, sharp image quality and reliable jetting performance. All of DuPont’s Artistri inks are backed by a comprehensive printhead warranty when used with the verified range of printheads and DuPont provide technical and colour support for clients making the move across to the Artistri range. On top of this, QPS is a trusted name in inks and digital printing technology, giving peace of mind to the end user.

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