DTG VS. SUBLIMATION
Most of the print-on-demand product use sublimation printing,What is sublimation? Let’s start with the broad strokes. What exactly is sublimation?In simple terms, it’s a method of printing that transfers a design into a material or fabric using ink and heat.
The sublimation printing process
So how does sublimation work? Well, sublimation printing uses heat to essentially bring ink and fabric together as one.
First, a design is printed onto special paper. The inks that are used turn into gas when brought under heat, then combine with the fabric and permanently print onto the fabric. The effects are permanent and less prone to fading, as the ink is embedded in the fabric or substrate rather than simply laying on top like a normal print.
The process is almost like a tattoo, but instead of for your skin, it’s for your chosen product. The heat opens up the pores of the fabric, then with the applied pressure the ink cools and returns to a solid form.
The result is a permanent, full colour image that won’t crack, peel or wash away from the substrate. The process allows the ink to go from a solid to a gas without turning to liquid, a bit like dry ice. The conversion is initiated by heat and controlled by pressure.
This quick and effective method is growing in popularity for smaller batch orders and those designs that rely on the details.
However During the overheating process fumes and odors develop.The main pollutants produced in micro-mists aerosols and fumes during the printing process are:
The problem of printing machine fumes if not held
The volatility of polluting particles such as industrial fumes, micro mists and aerosols, solid or liquid, creates various problems for factories, operators and printing machines.
First of all, they negatively affect the health of the air and the health and hygiene conditions of the operators, in particular at the respiratory level, since the particles smaller than 0.3 microns can reach the pulmonary alveoli, compromising the respiratory tract. In contact with the epidermis, they create skin irritations, dermatitis and redness.
From the standpoint of production, micro-dust and oil mists pollution in the workshop considerably reduces the productivity and in particular the efficiency of the sublimation printing machines, since the stratification of pollutants invalidates the precision and tolerance of the measuring instruments, with the onerous consequence of having to increase maintenance on the most delicate components.
Without forgetting any possible fines deriving from current regulations, which impose a concentration limit for oil mists in the workplace.
cause of the full coverage aspect of the design, the pattern of the print is carried on all around the t-shirt, just using the ends of the garment as natural finishing points.
DTG Digital printing process
Eco-friendly benefits of digital printing
The advanced technologies behind digital printing are more sustainable by nature, than any other method of printing. But, why?
Printing direct to garment (DTG) ultimately reduces waste, as only the amount of ink required to print the design will be used. Alternative methods such as screen printing are known to use excessive amounts of ink in order to translate the design on to the fabric, contributing to potentially harmful chemical waste.
Less set-up equipment
Naturally, the digital printing method is straight forward in the way that less set up equipment is needed, i.e. there are no screens or plates that need to be produced to create individual designs. This type of equipment needed for the likes of screen and rotary printing will eventually go to waste once the design has completed production and is no longer usable.
Less water used
Water pollution is the highest environmental risk factor in textiles. In previous years, the environmental impact from the textile industry alone was huge – using unnecessary amounts of water and energy to produce printed fabrics.
As technologies moved forward and digital printing increased in popularity, fespa.com reported that digital textile printing saved over 40 billion litres of water worldwide in 2018. This contributed to a huge reduction in the amount of water that was used, wasted and polluted.
This is due to how the technology eliminates the need for a substantial amount of water and electricity requried for the preparation, processing and clean-ups used in other methods such as screen printing.
As digital printing uses pigments which achieve colour fastness through heat fixation, water isn’t needed for pretreatments or post-processing such as steaming and washing.
Designs are digitally submitted
Screen and rotary printing techniques typically require transfer paper in order to start the printing process. In digital printing, however, designs can be digitally submitted and then printed directly from the machine to the fabric, meaning that no transfer paper is necessary, therefore reducing the amount of waste produced.
All of these factors considered make digital printing perfect choice for environmentally conscious business owners and designers. This is particularly important in the fashion and textile industry of today, which is no stranger to backlash over sustainability ethics.