Until the late eighties water based white inks and clear bases were used for the piece printing of garments. However in the nineties, when automatic machine printing came in vogue, there was a need to have trouble- free-non-choking inks which led to the development of PVC based plastisol inks. Since the beginning of the 21st century there has been an increased awareness about the ill effects of PVC / residual VCM in PVC and phthalate plasticizers used in these inks. Leading European garment brands have been intensively campaigning for PVC / phthalate / APEO / formaldehyde / heavy metal free water based inks. This led to the shift back to water based inks. The challenge to day is to offer water based systems meeting the eco-standards but at the same time ability to address the user friendliness especially on high speed automatic machines.
An excellent comparison between water based and plastisol inks is given here.
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