March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 32 of 118

2 8 | PRINTWEAR M A RC H 20 1 5 • Builders that remove hard-water ions, such as calcium and magnesium ions that have an adverse effect upon wash performance. • Optical brightening agents. • Enzymes used in some detergents that are effective in breaking down large organic mol- ecules and improving cleaning performance. • Soil-release polymers that modify the surface properties of fibers to improve this process. In clothes washing, the mechanical action is performed by an agitator, which rotates back and forth. There are a couple of types of agitators: straight vane and dual action. The straight vane is a one-part agitator while the dual action is a two-part agitator with bottom and top agitators that rotate in opposite directions. The washing process has matured considerably from beating laundry with a stone or vigor- ously rubbing it on a washboard. However, along with detergent, it still takes a fair amount of rough, tough, and tumble to remove ev- eryday grime, and the process doesn't dis- criminate between stains, dirt, and surface decoration. DURABALE DECORATIONS With the exception of sublimation, most heat transfers reside on the fabric's sur- face, owing their long-term washability to a strong attachment to the fiber. Un- like screen-printed plastisol or hot-melt gravure heat transfers, sublimation is not a surface decoration. Rather, sublimation vaporizes and permanently dyes the sub- surface of the polyester. As such, when sublimation is properly produced and applied to polyester, it's minimally affect- ed by the agitation or chemicals of home laundering. For other heat transfers, the degree of du- rability is closely related to chemistry and application. Most other heat transfers are plastisol based, which has become more of a generic term referring to fluid dispersion of a pigmented resin and plasticizer. Other components may also be added to increase opacity, viscosity, or chemistry to reduce the bleed of the heat transfer ink. Graphics Hot Spot | | | | continued on page 111 On dark-fabric inkjet heat transfers, the transfer film begins to crack after multiple washings. This is an example of a sublimation heat transfer, printed on a soft-ink polyester shirt that has been washed over 50 times.

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