The newest printing method for textiles is digital ink-jet printing. This is process in which a special inkjet printer with special ink is used to print directly on fabric from the computer directly. The artwork and the dye is heat set with a heat press or tunnel dryer From a technical standpoint, this process is identical to the ink-jet printer used with nearly every desktop computer. However, for fabrics, these machines are 60-84 inches wide. Digital printing offers tremendous design capabilities. Designs of photographic image quality are possible with this technique. Of course, the method uses a CAD system with digitized image data. It presents the opportunity to change from one design to another immediately without any printed fabric waste. This method has been used in conjunction with body-scan data to produce printed fabrics that are custom fitted for the individual. It has also been used to rapidly produce trial prints for sale or evaluation. Many individuals foresee this method as a technique for the future.
Introduction to Inkjet Digital Printing