Roller printing, also known as Intaglio, cylinder printing or machine printing, is a printing technique that Thomas Bell of Scotland invented in 1783. Roller printing applies patterns or designs onto textiles, primarily fabric, using engraved rollers. In India, it was a popular and efficient technique in textile printing till the mid-80s, allowing for the mass production of intricate patterns with high precision. Around the world, this process is widely used in the textile industry to create various designs on fabrics for clothing, upholstery, and other textile products.
Here is a detailed explanation of the roller printing process on textiles:
1. Design Creation:
The process begins with creating a design that will be engraved onto the surface of the printing rollers. Designers typically create these patterns digitally or on paper.
2. Engraving Rollers:
The design is then transferred onto the surface of the printing rollers. These rollers are usually made of copper, and the design is engraved onto them using specialized machinery. The etched areas on the roller will hold the ink, while the non-engraved areas will remain clean.
3. Color Preparation:
Different colours are prepared for printing. Each colour requires a separate set of rollers. The ink is often a thick, paste-like substance that adheres well to the fabric.
4. Printing Process:
The fabric, usually a continuous roll, is passed through the printing machine. As the fabric moves through the machine, the engraved rollers rotate and come into contact with the fabric. The rollers are inked, and the engraved design on the roller transfers the ink onto the fabric in the desired pattern. The pressure applied ensures that the ink is transferred effectively.
5. Multiple Colors and Designs:
The process is repeated with different rollers for fabrics with multiple colours or complex designs. The fabric may use several printing stations for the final, multi-coloured design.
|Image courtesy: Textile School.
After printing, the fabric is dried to set the ink. This can involve passing the fabric through heated rollers or other drying methods.
Once the fabric is dry, it may undergo additional finishing processes, such as washing or treating, to enhance its properties or appearance.
|As the engraved rollers of the printing machine embrace the fabric, a nostalgic homage to a bygone era unfolds, leaving behind the essence of time on this vintage fabric canvas—a truly one-of-a-kind textile, woven with history and design.
Advantages of Roller Printing:
Speed and Efficiency: Roller printing is a high-speed process suitable for large-scale production.
Precision: The engraved rollers ensure high precision in transferring the design onto the fabric.
Consistency: The automated nature of roller printing ensures consistency in pattern and colour across the entire fabric length.
Setup Costs: The initial setup costs for engraving rollers can be high.
Limited to Repetitive Designs: Roller printing best suits designs that can be repeated across the fabric length. Intricate and varied designs may be challenging.
In summary, roller printing on textiles is a well-established and efficient method that allows for the mass production of fabrics with intricate and repetitive designs. It plays a significant role in the textile industry, producing a wide range of printed fabrics used in various applications.