Friday, 12 December 2014

Digital Textile Printing Vs. Screen Textile Printing

The art of textile printing dates back to centuries ago, ever since mankind discovered the aesthetic difference that could be brought about to fabrics through printing. Over the years, many diverse methods of textile printing have been introduced, and broadly speaking today, the choice is between digital textile printing and the relatively more traditional screen printing. Let’s have a look at the factors that can help make a decision between the two methods, depending upon the needs of the business:

Quality: Generally speaking, it is felt that the quality of imaging offered by screen printing is superior to that given by digital printing. This is due to the method applied, which necessitates the ink to be absorbed deeply and therefore more long-lasting. Images tend to be sharper due to the stencils used, and do not fade soon.

Variety of colors to be used: In this aspect, digital screen printing has a definite edge over screen printing. This is because it allows the use of several colors in a single image, unlike screen printing, which requires separate screens for separate colors. So if the order calls for vibrant, colorful imagery to be printed, digital printing is the way to go.

Time & tools: Screen printing is a far more time-consuming process than digital textile printing. This is again due to the fact that it needs separate screens to be prepared and then used. The procedure requires the usage of stencils that are made with the help of an image or photograph, then placing these over the surface where the printing is to be carried out and then spreading the ink. Digital printing, on the other hand, requires just a computer, printer and ink cartridges for getting the job done, thereby significantly reducing the time period involved in this.

Volume of print quantity: Screen printing is typically very well-suited for large print volumes and has a minimum order quantity. That’s why it continues to be extremely popular whenever consistent, high-quality imagery is required in bulk. Digital printing, on the other hand, is perfect for smaller print orders, which can even be a single item at a time.

Customization: Simply put, screen printing does not have any provision for customization. This is where digital printing offers a big advantage, since it can actually enable tailor-made printing according to one’s design requirements. The colors that can be used are practically unlimited. Photographs and high-resolution imagery also show up beautifully in digital prints.

Cost-effectiveness: Screen printing involves more capital cost than digital printing due to the machinery needed. However, this is thought to offer great return on investment because of the fact that large print orders are enabled by screen printing, and the cost of maintaining the equipment is not too high. Digital printing requires more expensive inks, and while there isn’t much initial setup cost involved, it does not allow economies of scale to be derived. Smaller print quantities, often with a higher degree of customization, require higher running expenses. So it really is about considering what combination of the above factors is important for a particular printing assignment, before reaching a decision.

15 comments:

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