Top performance in digital textile printing

When it comes to digital textile printing for the fashion industry, Joe Tschudi has seen it all. He consults many printing companies worldwide in setting up the perfect print workflow. A major factor is the repeatability and reproduction of the correct colors on textile. Joe, can you explain to us what matters to establish a top performance textile workflow?

Joe Tschudi:

When brands or print service providers hire me to profile their equipment I always ask how they would rate their own process stability.

And of course their answer is always: very good!

But when we do production cycle tests it’s often the very first time that they are confronted with real numbers.

Why is that so important?
It manages color expectations.
You can’t do a DeltaE of 1 if your process delivers a 3.
Well, maybe you can do a 1 between today and tomorrow but what about reproducing the same colors a week, a month or a year later?

Successfully managing colors in digital textile printing depends on a stable process. Colors vary in position of the fabric, different pretreatment batches, printing conditions and post-process cycles. This has a huge and often underestimated impact on the capability of reproducing colors.

Having said that, performing a proper calibration and profile is actually just the cherry on the pie. But you’ll want to know if your characterisation charts are passing the average process deviation. Otherwise you end up with a random, arbitrary ICC profile.

How can you check for process deviation?

You could run multiple prints of the same design in different days or weeks and visually assess the outcome.

Or you could also do it smart by adding a process control chart and measure the results objectively.

You’ll want to chose the proper equipment and to avoid introducing unwanted errors.

Here are a few tips:

  1.  Check if your printed charts do not have any obvious defects before measuring them
  2. Use a system that allows for fast and flat mounting of the charts
  3. Try to automate the measurement procedure as good as you can
  4. Check for dust from fibres in the optics and remove it if necessary
  5. Always take multiple measurements, a measurement device also has its variations.
  6. Process control shouldn’t be a one-time thing. Do it continuously.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Joe. One of the keys to produce and reproduce the right color on textiles is to have the proper measurement equipment, which is capable to handle measurements of textiles chart. Achieve top performance in digital textile printing with the solutions from Barbieri.