The following methods can be applied for textile printing operation:
- Block printing (Hand block or Machine block).
- Stencil printing
- Engraved roller printing
- Screen printing – i) Hand screen ii) Flat screen iii) Rotary screen
- Transfer printing
- Digital printing (e.g. Ink-jet printing), etc.
Block printing is a traditional process dating back to India in the 12th century. It is the simplest and oldest technique and is similar to stamping. It still exists today but the application is very limited. Blocks are made of wood, metal, plastic or hard paper and designs are hand-carved. The print paste is applied on the face of the block and then pressed down firmly by hand on the selected portion of the fabric. The process is repeated with different designs and colors until the pattern is completed. Block printing is a labor-intensive, painstaking process that requires time, teamwork and a tremendous level of skill.
- The stencil is usually a thin sheet of material such as paper, plastic, cardboard, wood or metal with a design cut from it.
- The stencils may have fine delicate designs or large spaces through which color is applied on the stencil is placed on the fabric and color is applied by means of brushing or spraying.
- Its use is limited due to high costs
It is a high-speed machine capable of producing 1000 to 1200 yards of printed fabric per hour. It is also called engraved-roller printing or cylinder printing machine. As many as 16 rollers (colors) can be available per printing machine. The design is engraved on the surface of a metal roller to which dye is applied and the excess is scraped off the roller’s surface, leaving the dye in the engraved sections. When it rolls across the fabric, the dye on the roller transfers to the fabric.
Screen Printing Method
Screen printing is a method whereby an open, but closely meshed screen, mounted in a wooden or metal frame, is placed in contact with the fabric to be printed and the print paste forced through the screen by a squeegee.
In rotary-screen printing, continuous rotation of a cylindrical screen while in contact with the fabric ensures genuinely continuous Print paste is fed into the inside of the screen and during printing is forced out through the design areas with the aid of a stationary squeegee.
Transfer printing is the term used to describe textile and related printing processes in which the design is first printed on to a flexible non-textile substrate and later transferred by a separate process to a textile. Transfer printing is also known as thermo printing, dry printing or sublimation printing.
Ink Jet or Digital Printing
Inkjet printing is a stream of liquid in the form of a dye solution produced by a spray nozzle. Inkjet printing is mainly used to produce patterns on carpets. This printing method is fundamentally different from other printing techniques. This is an innovative method for the application of wonderful patterns to the textile material where small droplets of dye solutions are applied to a precise location.