Discharge Printing | Resist Printing | What is Discharge Printing | Discharge Printing Process | After-Treatment of Discharge Printing

Discharge Printing
It is possible to speak of discharge printing, if in the fixation process that follows the application of the printing paste there is local destruction of a dye applied previously. If the etched (discharge), previously dyed area becomes white, then the process is called white discharge.
Discharge Printing
If, on the contrary, a coloured pattern has to be obtained in the etched area after the destruction of the previously applied dye, then the process is called coloured discharge. In this case the printing paste must contain a reduction-resistant dye along with the chemicals needed to destroy the previous one. As a result the pre-dyed background is destroyed according to a pattern and the dye, which is resistant to reduction, takes its place.

Resist Printing
In the case of resist printing, a special printing paste (called resist) is printed onto certain areas of the fabric to prevent dye fixation. In the case of physical resist the material is printed with a difficult-to-wet resin that inhibits the penetration of a dye applied in a second stage. On the other hand, with a chemical resist, dye fixation is prevented by a chemical reaction. Depending on the way the process is carried out, one can speak of pre-printing, intermediate or over-printing resists. One common procedure is the wet-on-wet process in which the resist paste is initially printed, then the material is overprinted with full cover screen and finally fixed and washed. Over-printing resists can be applied only if the dye, already present in the previously dyed and dried fabric, is still in its unfixed form, as in the case of developing dyes.
Resist Printing
Dye Fixation
After printing, the fabric is dried. Water evaporation leads to an increase in dye concentration and at the same time prevents the colors from smearing when the fabric is transported over the guide rollers. At this stage the dye is not yet fixed. The aim of the subsequent fixation step is to transport as much as possible of the dye, which is retained by the thickener, into the fibers. This is especially important with dyes, such as vat dyes, for example, that are printed in the insoluble form and are converted into the corresponding soluble state only after reaction with the reducing agents during the fixation process. Fixation is usually carried out with steam. Water vapour condenses on the printed material, swells up the thickener, heats the print and provides the necessary transport medium for the diffusion of the dye. The distribution of the dye between fiber and thickener is an important factor in determining the fixation degree of the dye, which is called the "retaining power" of the thickener. The thickener, in fact, is often composed of polysaccharides and therefore competes with cellulose in retaining the dye. This is the main reason why the fixation rate of a given dye is 10% lower in printing than in dyeing.

The last step of the printing process consists in washing and drying the fabric. When printing with insoluble dyes such as vat dyes this operation also serves as a means to re-convert the dye to the original oxidised state. In this case, after an initial rinsing with cold water, the printed material is treated with hydrogen peroxide. The process is completed with a soap treatment with sodium carbonate at the boiling point. As already explained, washing is not necessary with pigment printing and transfer printing. This holds for any dyeing/ printing system where thickeners are not needed and where the dyestuff is (nearly) completely fixed (e.g. printing carpet tiles with digital jet printing techniques)

Textile Printing Operation
  • At the end of each batch and at each colour change various cleaning operations are carried out 
  • The rubber belt, to which the fabric is glued during printing (see description below), is cleaned in continuous mode with water to remove excess adhesive and printing paste. Some machines are equipped with water re-circulation systems 
  • The printing gears (all systems responsible for feeding and applying the paste to the substrate) are cleaned by first removing as much as possible of the paste residues and then rinsing with water. In some companies the paste residues are directed back to the appropriate printing paste batch containers for re-use 
  • The remaining paste in the containers, in which the paste is prepared (paste vats), are in general previously cleaned up by means of sucking systems before being washed out with water. The residual printing paste collected in this manner is then disposed of. 
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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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