October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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How do we get our discharge prints softer? There are many ways to soften up discharge prints. Here are a few: 1.Liquefy your agent or activator prior to mixing in with your ink. Simply take warm water and mix down your agent. Once in a liquid state, mix with your ink. This will greatly reduce that all-too-common "crusty" feeling at the end of the dryer. 2.Add reducer or penetrant into your ink prior to printing. This will help the ink dive deeper into the fibers and create a softer touch to the print. 3.Use a light mist of water at the end of the dryer. This can knock off some of the hand of the activator. 4.Choke back your activator to the lowest amount without affecting the brightness of the print. Most discharge manufacturers have a window where the discharge will activate accordingly, for example, 3 to 10 percent by volume. Try activating at 3 percent to check the hand and opacity. I want to print caps and I see heat presses out there that offer traditional flat screens and curved screens. Which is better? If you're going to print on hats/caps, always use a curved screen, particularly with textiles. This will simplify the printing process because the screen will be the same shape as the item to be printed. Greg Markus, CAPS Intl. I've heard that the discharge print process is less expensive that traditional plastisol decoration. Is there truth to this statement? The short answer to this loaded question is: it can be. And often by a lot. Let's take a look at a few scenarios and look at the longer answers. Consider a simple order of white ink (text or vector art) on a black shirt for a 36-piece run. Screen and film dollars are cut in half, as there is no under base. Setup should take less than half the time, as there is nothing to line up. You can leave the flash Nick Wood, Ryonet off and save that energy drain as well. At current pricing, your ink cost should be around half, providing that you are activating only what you need. And, bonus, ink manufacturers are scrambling to develop discharge inks that have a shelf life up to a year, so this may become a non-issue. In all, the profit margin in this scenario should be significantly higher. Of course, film, ink, screen and setup dollars have exponentially less impact as the run size increases. So, increased margins on production runs in the thousands are less. While the 3,000 piece, eight-color simulated process print on darks may look and feel better, the production facility may not see a tangible increase in margin. Still, once up and running with a full arsenal of prepress knowledge, color formulation and an organized approach, it's fair to say that most shops will see an increase in efficiency and raw materials over time. This begs the question: Why then, do some shops charge more for it? Many feel that, since it is such a fashionable and desirable process on so many levels, that discharge has a high perceived value. Add that to a learning curve (albeit one that is decreasing rapidly) that many face in the transition, and there are certainly some valid Liquid emulsions and capillary film each have their advantages. Shops need to know points for charging extra. which will do the better job in a particular circumstance. (Image courtesy Lon Winters, Tony Pepitone, Gagwear 2013 October Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 89 | 89 9/18/13 12:31 PM

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