Digital Textile Printing and Why Preflighting Is Important

Preflighting and Digital Textile Printing

I recently joined a new printing community for wide format printers called This community also has a nice networking section on their site. There I met a contact new to me, but not new to prepress, Markzware FlightCheck and printing. It was Mr. Roland Biemans from Hollanders Printing Systems. After talk about his days in repro and using FlightCheck, we got onto the subject of textile printing. Hollanders manufacturers high quality textile color printers. Here is Roland’s detailed answer on why the process of preflight is so important in the textile print workflow:

Why is preflighting important for digital textile printing?
Markzware FlightCheck User, Roland Biemans, Hollander Printing Systems
“In essence, because of the same reasons as
with regular inkjet and offset printing.
Checking for overprint and transparency issues;
catching font and outline problems;
preventing misprints due to missing profiles or bad
color conversions: it all is… important with textile printing.

All the same rules apply: PS / EPS / PDF differences;
inclusion of named colors (spots/Pantones);
effects, shadows and blending modes;
gradients: all the things that can influence
the final reproduction come into play.
Digital Textile Printing Checks with Markzware FlightCheck
But there’s an extra thing to mind when it comes to
printing on textile: ink volume*. Woven or knitted media
is a 3D structure that reacts… [in a different way] than a
flat, closed surface. Bleeding, print-through and angles
are different. Ink volume control is essential to get the
right amount of ink for a specific kind of media and
application. A 1% change in ink volume, may result to a
5-8% change in color perception. And since ink volume
[relates] to the coating…  and the media structure itself,
color management is more difficult. And when you mix in…
colors…, it becomes a matter of exactly knowing what you’re doing.

… I haven’t seen [effective] color management solution
for multi-color inkjet printing on textile. 4 colors are easy,
especially on paper. But managing 8 colors (real colors,
not light tones) in disperse direct ink isn’t. If you want
to span the full Pantone swatchbook, standard CMYK
will not be enough. And if you need to ‘nail a color’…, you
need to know which color channels you are going to address.
Moreover, ink volume… relates to the post-treatment…
to a certain fabric. Color pop-up comes after steaming or
fixation by infra-red or heat press. Requirements of the process
often dictate what needs to be [handled] at the pre-press stage.

There are still plenty of people that would try
to print a 3x20mtr matte… textile banner,
using an Illustrator based SWOP CMYK vector,
converted in Photoshop to a low resolution bitmap EPS,
without embedded profile, using a RIP that doesn’t
offer good rendering, has a generic ISO offset profile
attached and is driving a printer without any further
output control and, to make it even funnier, try to
match it with the original RGB based color proof made
with InDesign on an Epson with photo glossy media
in A4 size. Try explaining to some that a Pantone
otherwise… fit to print on an 8-color system, using an
ink recipe that takes care of ink volume, doesn’t come
out right when [converting] from spot to RGB to CMYK
during pre-press and then taken to [an incorrect]
liniarized and ill profiled printer CMYKLcLm space.
[An]… off gradient will be the least of your problems.

Point is, that when I would be the end-user, I wouldn’t even
want to know all about it. I would like to have a green button,
that, when pressed, produces my reproductions on the fly.
I don’t want to know that one version of CS will produce
different output than the next… I wouldn’t want to check
whether the coating of a fabric is… still the same. I would want
to accept the customer file as is and print it. Period. As a print
producer, I want to make money, not spend hours on academic
discussions which PDF/x standard is best. I would… want an
industry manufacturer to deliver a solution that works.”

Roland Biemans
Sales & Marketing Manager
Hollanders Printing Systems
Meerenakkerplein 31
De Hurk 8630
5652 BJ Eindhoven
The Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)40 7110711
Fax: +31 (0)40 7110717

Now you see just how important preflighting is for graphic designers, print buyers, and printers to avoid printing problems. Remember, use FlightCheck to preflight color and more, before document output for digital textile printing! Ink volume, ink coverage, and image resolution are important preflight checks. FlightCheck can preflight your digital files for digital printing.

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