In the past, digital printing was not considered a viable alternative to screen printing due to machine speeds and ink costs. “There was huge price pressure in this sector as manufacturing was done offshore, but it is now our aim to revive the printing technology in the U.S.,” adds Sawchak. Digital textile printing eliminates the cost of screens and enables on-demand printing so that any manufacturer can print limitless colors while producing products on-shore. This eliminates the expense of import duties and taxes from the manufacturers’ budget.
Expand Systems provides a complete offering for all digital textile printing needs. Their expertise helps clients to print any design on their chosen fabric so it will yield the best results. They understand that the fabric dictates the printing process. “We work with clients to determine what machine, software, ink and finishing solution will allow them to bring the optimum printed fabric to market in the textile industry, by providing custom print solutions for our customers, making sure they have the right solution to meet their unique situation or need,” excerpts Sawchak.
Direct digital equipment manufacturer, MS Italy, who works closely with Expand Systems, has made it possible to print with the speed of rotary screen, while keeping the cost equivalent to, or lower than that of screen-printing. Expand Systems and MS Italy are collaborating to improve the future of Digital Textile Printing in the U.S. by offering machines at all levels of print production, from 10 yards per hour up to 70 meters per minute.
We work to determine what machine, software, ink and finishing solution will bring the best printed fabric to market in the textile and apparel industry
“These machines are making it possible for the retailers to take up orders in bulk for big brands and deliver in time for them because of this unique technology mixed with speed,” adds Sawchak.
Expand Systems worked with a particular customer who had a unique fabric which was primarily a cotton- based natural fabric, and wanted to print digitally with their unique designs. Expand Systems worked with the material to decide the optimum ink type and consulted with the client to set design parameters and color compatibility, while keeping in mind the required durability and performance of the product. Expand Systems then determined the software system that was best for printing the fabric in conjunction with a pigment ink which resulted in saving time, reducing costs, and meeting the customer’s performance requirements.
Digital textile production has also captured the imagination of apparel designers. They now have the ability to combine graphic design, photographs and limitless color options to create patterns that previously could not be printed direct-to- fabric. Another benefit of digitally printing in-house is that it keeps the designs secure from competitors.
Expand Systems is currently working with universities who are encouraging projects which are focused on bringing the art of textile printing back onshore to the U.S. “Our goal is that this will culminate in more job opportunities in the country,” concludes Sawchak.