What is Digital Hybrid Screen Printing and why should I use it?
Part Digital – Part Screen Printing
Many years ago, screen printing on t-shirts became a thing. The original process was pretty basic with a lot of hand drawn gaphics. But over the years the process has improved in many ways.
One of the main improvements was the advent of computers. Over the last 20 years the process of making high detail screens has improved dramatically. A third component over the last quarter century has been the size of screen printing presses reaching as many as 18 print heads and beyond. All three of these factors have combined to allow quality print shops the ability to reproduce photo-realistic screen printed images.
So what about this Digital Hybrid Screen Printing thing?
Similar to all other types of printing, digital has been making it’s way into the apparel decoration industry for some time now. Have you ever heard the term Direct To Garment? This process allows you to print with an ink jet type of printer directly onto a shirt. Well, almost,
For Direct To Garment (DTG) to work you must first pretreat the shirt with a chemical that allows the white ink to sit atop the fabric so the print is vibrant.
And now there is Direct To Film (DTF) that allows decorators to print with the DTG type of printing equipment onto a film. Then the decoration can be applied to the garment.
The creation of the Digital Squeegee
Recently a new technology was created that marries the best of both techniques together. So this is how it works. The equipment is setup with a traditional screen printing press and has the addition of a monstrous, ink jet type of printing machine attached to it. This allows for a screen printed base to create the white bottom layer and full color digital on top. Specialty colors or techniques can also be added for a full custom, unique look.
And the detail is amazing. Magazine quality prints are achievable with this new process. With the Digital Squeegee, you are not limited to the number of colors you can use in your design. Hybrid allows for large runs of beautiful, full-color artwork.
Traditional simulated process printing uses 8-12 different colors printed on top of each other to “simulate” the full-color range. This typically shows larger visible halftone dots and can lead to fine detail loss in high resolution artwork. The Digital Squeegee can print at an amazing 600 x 1200 dpi resolution and reproduce your digital files to perfection.
How does Digital Hybrid feel?
The inks used in Digital Hybrid printing is water based. This type of ink provides a much softer print than traditional plastisol inks. A top clear coat is also printed over the digital inks which locks in the vibrant colors and creates an amazing print that lasts for years.
Variable data is another unique possibility with Digital Hybrid printing. The possibilities include color changes, name drops, or even unique design element changes in parts of the design.
To learn more about this new process contact our customer support team.