Screen Ink recently upgraded its conveyor dryer (big expensive machine that cures ink on shirts) for many reasons, but one being that we wanted to more frequently print water-based inks on shirts.
Water-based printing isn't for every job, but we would like you to give it a try if it suits your job. I'll try to keep this brief.
Most shops use exclusively plastisol ink for all their garment printing. Plastisol ink is basically liquid plastic that stays in liquid form until its heated to 320° and BAM! it turns into a solid. How 'bout it science! For printers, its easy to use, never dries out on the shelves or in our screens and should last the duration of the shirt as long as it was printed and cured properly.
Water-based ink is a more environmentally safe ink that isn't a whole lot different from the inks you used in Mrs. Smith's art class as a kid to paint that horrible rendition of Van Gogh's "Starry Night." It also has to be heated, but what makes it stay on the shirt is heating that ink enough to remove all the moisture (water) from the ink. At the end of the day, if cured properly, the print should also last the duration of the shirt, but some light fading will occur.
So, why choose water-based over plastisol? All the...not feels? The best prints are the ones you can barely feel on the shirt. Its almost as if the color was dyed into the fabric. If you are layering several layers of plastisol (plastic ink) it can start to get a little bulky, especially with a big print area.
By now you're probably bored out of your gourd. If however, you are dying to know more, here's another article to check out from our friends at RYONET.