Design “Smart” Fabrics Using Micro-Printing Technology
- March 5, 2018
Image Source: Plasmatreat.com, 2013
The textile industry has been welcoming newer, better and more refined printing technology as it keeps coming. From woodblock printing by rolling stencils onto clay to all the way to digital technology, the world has seen many innovative and ground-breaking printing techniques. These printing techniques are no longer limited to paper or papyrus, but display their creativity on vinyl, wood, plastic, glass, fabric –just about anything is possible.
One of these contemporary printing technologies, having been discovered much after the digital printing technology, is Nanography.
What is Nanography?
Nanography was discovered by the Israeli entrepreneur Benny Landa, after about a decade of research. It is a digital printing method based on nanotechnology established by the Landa Corporation.
Nanography involves utilizing small water-based colored particles- and by small we mean about tens of nanometers in size. The particles adhere themselves to almost any surface, including fabric, without immersing themselves completely into it –that is to say, they remain on the surface level.
How does Nanographic Printing Work?
Emission of Nano-Particles
The process involves an ejection of billions of nano-sized colorants onto an image-receptive sheet or blanket. The printer has a few rows of ink ejectors, each emitted particles of a different color that attach themselves firmly to the surface of the sheet onto which they are ejected.
The technology allows it so that you can customize the precise location of every single droplet of all the colors, enabling you to not only tailor the entire design but also create different shades, hues, saturation and even newer colors with every stroke.
Deposition of Nano-Particles
The particles are water-infused, but they lose moisture as soon as they hit the heated surface of the sheet. Consequently, they become narrower, gain viscosity and turn more adhesive as shown in the pictures above. The surface area of the ink on the sheet is only 500 Nanometers – the lowest surface area of any ink out of all the printing processes up to date.
The Final Image
By the time the whole process is finished with, the precisely-designed ink is dry, thin, and firmly attached to the surface of the sheet. This four-to-eight-colored image is now ready to be stuck on any ordinary coated or uncoated paper, glass or plastic layer –without penetrating it or without leaving a residue.
This essentially means is that a detail-oriented design of any color on just about surface is possible. The resulting picture is precise and outstanding in quality with the minimum amount of invasiveness and maximum offset printing speed.
What’s so good about nano-technology?
Well, because it has been the result of about 10 years of research, it has a couple of commendable advantages that it has managed to gain over the other forms of printing technology.
- It is sharp, highly accurate and extremely uniform
- It is environment-friendly and consumes less energy.
- It provides more detailed colors and images
- It is scratch-resistant
- It can be used on all printing mediums, paper, clothes or wood, batteries, diodes and even cells
- Traditionally, it has been used to fight counterfeiting and enhancing security by coding nano-sized patterns on currency
With Nanography, you can design “Smarter” Clothes
Nano-printing is a clever, innovative, time-saving, energy-saving, economical printing technology that has immense potential, including on fabric. Using Nanography for your next clothing line might just be a bright idea for reasons more than just one.
Durable, Scratch-Resistant and Environment-friendly
Because Nanography uses particles that attach themselves to the surface of the fabric for a long-time, the print will be more durable and less likely to be scratched off. Plus, it is water-resistant, requires less cleaning-hassle. All of this collectively increases its durability makes it environment-friendly.
When nanoparticles of the element Silver are added to clothing, the fabric attains an additional bacteria and fungi resistant quality. Clothes can be particularly welcoming to pathogens that build a home from moisture and emit nasty odors. With nano-printing technology, it can easily be avoided.
Plus, the clothes will still retain their soft quality because the size of the additional particles is minute and negligent.
However, some caution needs to be taken with regard to the wastage disposal of these clothes. If silver is the material being used to make the clothing pathogen-resistant, then excess and residual silver should not be thrown into dams and various other water bodies.
A study conducted by Swiss scientist Rickard Arvidson on wastewater revealed that nano-silver is the biggest waste found in water, often in kilograms. Not only is silver an extremely valuable natural resource that should not be washed down the drain, but it is extremely toxic to marine life.
Some clothing materials like silk, nylon or polyester gather electric charge when worn, or rubbed against hair or skin. Adding nano-particles that have the ability to disperse those charges like zinc or titanium oxide can make for a buzz-free winter clothing line.
Temperature Regulatory Clothing
This comes from the principle of Peltier Effect, which basically states that heat is discharged when an electric current is passed through two connected materials. One of the materials will give off the heat, the other will collect it.
An MIT student has utilized this principle and created an entire brand of temperature regulator shoes, hats, and cardigans, which work in all weather conditions. These jackets can maintain a temperature range of about 17-40 Celsius degrees (that is, 64 -104 Fahrenheit) on a set of batteries over a span of full eight hours. Additionally, the pressure points installed in these coats is specifically put where the least amount of sweat occurs, spots with a large number of blood vessels. These are the regions of the body that are the best for climate-controlling.
Not only are the light-weighted, temperature regulatory clothes good for healthcare and various kinesthetic uses, but also a step forward for military-wear.
Inspired by how the nano-particle-based, water-resistant qualities of lotus leaves, the idea of waterproof clothing is very popular amongst the textile industrialists.
Silica nanoparticles have hydrophobic qualities, and when added to the fabric, they will prevent it from absorbing water and sweat. This will not only prevent clothing odors but also keep them stain-free if you spill a cup of coffee or any other liquid. Additionally, it will make a fascinating idea for swimwear.
A water-proof, sweat-resistant clothing line is a brilliant and innovative idea that a lot of people will be willing to invest in.
People are increasingly aware of how harmful UV-Rays can be for their skin and general health, especially in the increasingly deteriorating climatic conditions all over the world. As opposed to having additional chemicals be absorbed into your skin in the form of creams and sunblocks, invest in UV-protective clothing.
Infusing nanoparticles of ideally 40 – 50 SPF value into a fabric would provide a convenient alternative to those harmful sun rays.
How can all of this help my printing business?
We are glad you asked
The economy has a long history of economic struggles, despite how innovative, inventive, creative and dynamic it may seem to be on the surface. When it comes to technology, there is always, always room for more revenue opportunities.
Nanoprinting has a lot to offer to your business.
Personalization –but with low costs, faster productivity and higher quality
Image source: technologyreview.com
Customization is perhaps the most important thing for contemporary businesses whose targeted audience no longer wants to be told what to put on but be involved and immersed in the process. Many printing processes produce high-quality results but take their time in producing it. Others involve a lot of manual labor and cost production that leaves little profit.
Where your current options are a choice between the high output of offset printing and the pocket-friendly nature of digital printing, nano-printing provides you with both. It is cheap and it gives good-quality, fast results. Moreover, it requires less labor and media support than digital printing.
With Nanography, which is precise, fast, and requires little cost production, there is a much more profit to be had when making that always-in-demand personalized fabric.
- Compared with the Widely-Used Inkjet Printing:
Here is a helpful few illustrations of how Nanography is better when compared to inkjet printing. You will be able to see how, at a lower cost and production rate, Nanography produces a clearer, more concise result than the printers that are currently being used for fabric and paper.
- A Wide Market and Unlimited Business Opportunities.
Your targeted audience is basically unlimited. Nanotechnology can make its usage known to basically any industry, whether textile, manufacturing, product, healthcare and pharmaceutical, skincare or athletic and sports market –as demonstrated by the examples above. You can sell nano-printed textiles to astronauts, athletes, health-conscious people, pharmaceutical companies and environment-conscious companies.
The possibilities for your business endeavors are endless. And most of all, they offer maximum profit at the minimum costs out of all printing technology options.
A technology as innovative and environment-friendly as Nanography, having a multitude of applications in all sorts of fields is at your disposal. It is fast, efficient, and economic. It would be foolish not to make the best of it.