Comparison of Various Printing Techniques
There are various printing techniques available. All have their unique points as well as shortcomings. It would be worthwhile to compare them in order to appreciate and use them for a particular end use.
Handblock Printing: It yields very low production, there is more downtime of ‘machine’. The cost of set up is very less. Very skilled personnel is required to do such printing. The cost of making a design is very less, however durability of design is very low, being defined by durability of block, usually made of wood. The variety of designs is dictated by the skill of the woodworker who carves those designs. The size of design pattern repeat can be larger. There is a limitation of width of the fabric- which is dictated by the width of the table. The printing can be very bold or subdued. In fact, in India there are numerous techniques based on a twin combination of natural dyes and block printing.
Roller Printing: Yields more production , machine downtown is very less, however cost of setup is high- as investment is needed for the maching. The space required is less. Again very skillful operators are required. The cost of making a design is more, as roller has to be carved. The durability of the design is more than a handblock print. Very elaborate and fine designs can be carved on a roller printing. The repeat size is limited to upto 42 cm. Again it has a limitation of fabric width. Very bold and lustrous prints cannot be done on a roller printing.
Flat Bed Screen Printing: Yields more production but less than roller printing as the process is not continuous. There is very less downtime of the machine. The cost of machine and installation is very high. The space requirement is also very high. Very less skilled workers are needed for this printing method. The cost of making a design is less as compared to a roller printing. The durability of the design however is very less, as new screen has to be made after few uses. The quality of designs can be very fine. The repeat of pattern can be very high. Also even a higher width cloth can be printed. The colors can be very bright and bold.
Rotary Printing: It has the maximum production among all printing techniques. The machine downtime is very less. The cost of machine and space requirement is again very high. Less skilled workers can be employed to operate this machine. Cost of making a design is very high. Compared to this the durability of the design is very less. The variety of design it offers and the quality of reproduction is the best among all techniques. Also fabric width can be high for it to be printed. It can yield bright colors.
Transfer Printing: It can do printing only on synthetic fibers such as polyester. One cannot get a ‘tone effect’ in this printing. Even unskilled workers can be used for this technique. However 100% color is not transferred so reproducibility is affected. Paper can’t be used again after one printing therefore its durability is the minimum of all techniques. The cost of making a design is very high. The production is about equal to that of flat bed. There is very less downtime of the machine. Space requirement is very less, infact, less than any other printing technique.
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