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What you need to know about coated fabrics

May 1st, 2008 / By: / Graphics

Coatings are very important for direct solvent printed fabrics. Inks and coatings need to be matched to ensure adhesion of the inks to the fabric and to avoid print flaws, like “fish eyes”. Sublimated fabrics can be coated to ensure that the transfer process maximizes the penetration into the fabric. Testing of the fabric and ink combination will highlight any quality issues. Working with your ink supplier and fabric supplier to find the best combination would be the best advice.

Bart Reed, Operations Manager-VP, Moss Inc, and past chair, Fabric Graphics Association, BRead@mossinc.com

Here are steps to follow to help decide which textile media to choose. With this information you can usually narrow it down to one or two textiles that will work for the application.

What printer/ink types does the print shop have? What printer/ink types does the print shop have? Solvent, UV curable, dye sublimation, water based inks, etc. The coatings on the fabrics are typically optimized for one or more of the inksets.

What is the application of the media? What is the message that will be printed and how can we optimize the message by using the color and texture of the media?

How opaque does the media need to be? Will it be backlit, will there be starry light behind the media that can wash out the image? Will it be a double-side image? Does it need to be matte or satin finish?

Where will the printed fabric be displayed? Indoor or outdoor? How long will the graphic be displayed?

This is the short version of the decision process. There are additional factors, such as the “hand” or feel of the fabric. That is usually defined by the end use customer.

Andreas DeGroot, Sr. Product Manager, InkJet Media, Neschen Americas, a.degroot@neschenamericas.com

Pertinent questions

  • What performance criteria are you expected to achieve?
  • What is the end-use application?
  • Is an acrylic, urethane, or blended product required?
  • Is it for indoor or outdoor use?
  • How heavy is the base substrate, and what will be the total weight required when coated?

Ben Galpen, Director of Industrial/Specialty Military Sales, Duro Textiles LLC., galpen_ben@durolink.com

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