Direct to Film (DTF)

Direct to Film (DTF)

Over the past ten years, the digital textile printing market has expanded quickly as more and more consumers switch to digital textile printing. Incorporating ease, simplicity, fabric performance, consistency, and most importantly a huge variety of colors in textiles is made possible by the use of digital printers, which makes the entire process dependable and reasonably priced. Digital textile printing encompasses a number of processes. We'll mostly be talking about the DTF printing technique (Direct to Film Printing) in this article.

Common Textile Printing Techniques -

• Printing with Digital Sublimation
• Textile Digital Printing
• Printing Direct to Film

Describe DTF Printing.
The direct transfer method (DTF) involves printing on a film and then applying it directly to cloth. The ability to select practically any fabric is the main element that justifies the adoption of this method by a bigger population. The DTF printing technique will do its magic on them, whether they are made of polyester, cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers like rayon or terrycot.

Printing Direct to Film (Basic Steps)

First Step: Print on Film

Fill the printer trays with PET film rather than ordinary paper. First, print the entire image in white on the PET film. Print the necessary picture on the white image layer next using the printer's correct color settings. The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that the picture that has to appear on the cloth must be a mirror image of the print on the film.

Second Step: Powdering

In this stage, hot-melt powder is applied to the film with the printed image. When the ink is wet, the powder is applied consistently, and any extra powder needs to be carefully removed. Making sure the powder is evenly distributed across the film's printed surface is crucial.

Holding the film at its short edges so that its long edges are parallel to the floor (landscape orientation) and pouring the powder in the middle of the film from top to bottom until it forms a roughly 1-inch-thick mound in the center from top to bottom is one extremely popular approach to make sure this.

Grab the movie together.

Third Step: Melting the Powder

The powder is melted in this step, as suggested by the name. Several methods exist for achieving this. The most popular method is to heat the film inside a curing oven while it has an image printed on it and powder applied. If a curing oven is not available, place the film within a heat press and bring the press's top very nearly but not quite contacting the film.

The space between the film and top plate of the heat press should be between 4 and 7 mm. To fasten the press top so that it does not cover the film and leaves a necessary gap, one can use a metal wire. It is strongly advised for the finest outcomes.

Fourth Step: Pre-pressing

Pre-pressing the fabric before the film transfers the picture is the next step. The fabric is left in the press while it is heated and compressed for 2 to 5 seconds. This ensures dehumidification of the fabric while also flattening it. The accurate transfer of the image from the film onto the fabric is aided by the pre-pressing.

Fifth Step: Transfer

This is where the DTF printing process begins and ends. For a firm bond between the PET film and the fabric, the PET film with the image and the molten powder is applied to the pre-pressed cloth in the heat press. This procedure is also known as "curing." For 15 to 20 seconds, the curing is carried out at a temperature between 160 and 170 degrees Celsius. Now the film is firmly fastened to the material.

Sixth Step: Cold Peel

Before removing the film, the fabric and the now-attached film must cool to room temperature. The hot melt functions as a binder to keep the colored pigment in the inks in tight adhesion with the fibers of the fabric when it cools down because of its nature, which is comparable to amides. The appropriate design must be printed in ink on the fabric after the film has been taken off after cooling.

Seventh Step: Post-pressing

Although this step is optional, it is highly advised for the best outcomes and high-performance criteria like wash and rub fastness. This stage involves pressing the finished cloth with the transferred design in the heat press for 10 to 15 seconds.

In general, it can be said that the DTF method almost removes any limitations that are frequently seen in conventional textile printing procedures, particularly when it comes to selecting the fabric to print on. Pretreatment is frequently not required, which lowers the cost of printing overall and increases profit margin.

It is anticipated that the textile printing industry would experience tremendous growth as more and more fabrics made by DTF enter the market. In conclusion, the DTF printing method can be considered a successful method of producing fabrics at a reasonable cost.

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