Skip to main content

Integrated jet printing process enabling dynamic & flexible print production textile garments easy use & minimised environmental impact


The European textile printing industry is currently
suffering from a steady decrease of their turnover (20%
decrease over the years 1991 1994). Important shares of
the global production ( 1994 about 47% ) of the printed
textile have already been moved to Far East countries,
where labour and environmental costs are much lower,
leaving only 12% for Western Europe. This trend can only
be stopped by new flexible printing technology, enabling
efficient dynamic production of the steady shortening run
lengths (reducing the time to market). Current processes,
dominantly screen printing, have reached their limits
with respect to reduction of waste, design flexibility,
time to market, harmful working conditions, etc. These
disadvantages become more important, when run lengths
decrease and therefore the number of (manual) changeovers
increases. Specially in Western Europe, where the average
run lengths of rotary and flat bed screen printing are
respectively 1000 and 700 meters, onlv 1/4 of the world
average, the competitive position is eroding. Jobs will
be exported unless new flexible production will become

New digital information technologies provide new
opportunities to develop a technology in which current
limitations will be overcome. Digital continuous jet
printing technology is potentially the best technology to
answer these needs. However, currently its productivity
and dyestuffgamut limits its application to sheet
printing (sampling) on natural textile substrates (wool,
cotton). Therefore, the proposed research targets are:
to increase the productivity of currently I m2/hr ( and
10 m2/hr at labscale) to 100 m2/hr, by strong
miniaturisation, multi level deflection technology and
new image data processing algorithms;
to extend the range of jettable dyes (currently only
reactive dyes) with dispersed and pigment dyes, by new
stable ink chemistry, micro milling techniques and
compound technology;
to achieve high quality prints and inline fixation by
the way of new textile pre and after treatments (plasma
treatments, UV and EB curing, etc.).
These innovations will be integrated into a one single
push button operated system.
The research will be carried out by an European
consortium, bringing together technologies originating
from the textile colour chemistry, the mechatronics of
digital continuous jet printing, the textile fabrics
treatments and the end users practise. This European
consortium will have to compete with the Japanese. It is
known that CANON, producer of of fice bubble jet
printers, have set up a consortium with local textile
industry with the aim of bringing bubble jet printing
(already relatively productive, but with poor image
quality when applied with textile dyes) from paper to
textile substrates.

On the completion of the project, the following main
deliverables can be exploited for the benefit of the EC
Prototype range of inks demonstrating full colour
garmut and superior performance on both synthetic and
natural textiles
Prototype pre treatment technology suitable for
fixation within an in line fixation printing process
Prototype integrated production ink jet printing module
with: reliable multi nozzle technology; new processing
for high speed image data transport and a double sided
printing module

The new technologies enables the printing process to be
brought from the industrial environment to a retailer
atmosphere. Customized designs can be printed on all
textiles within hours (current time to market at least
one week). In this way European industry is gaining a
high quality, flexible and clean printing processes with
rewarded jobs, where competition with Far East countries
is addressable.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Stork Digital Imaging BV
6,Handelstraat 6
5831 AV Boxmeer

Participants (3)

Boras Wäfveri Beredning AB

503 06 Boraas
Institut Textile de France
Avenue Guy De Collongue
69132 Ecully
Zeneca Ltd.
United Kingdom
M9 8ZS Blackley - Manchester