Delaware Patent of the Month – April 2022

When printing ink on different textiles and fabrics, the color strength and ease of application is increased by adding more polymeric binders to the ink. Unfortunately, too much binder will change how soft the fabric is. You might notice that some sweaters with a printed logo are either soft with a light logo, or rougher and more plastic feeling with a bright, sharp logo. This conundrum has caused complications in the textile industry for a while, as people are forced to choose between ink durability and fabric softness. 

Farbenpunkt, Inc. has developed an ink that maintains the original fabric characteristics while having greater color strength. Beyond this accomplishment, the ink is easily applied, cures at room temperature, and holds up against typical fabric cleaners. 

Their ink is water-based and made with nanopigment micelles. Each micelle is made of a pigment particle and polymeric dispersing agent. This dispersing agent has both a hydrophilic and hydrophobic segment. This combination ensures the color can be stably dispersed. The hydrophobic segment interacts with the water-insoluble coloring agent while the hydrophilic segment has a strong force that causes it to dissolve in the hydrophilic, liquid medium. The pigment can be natural or synthetic, allowing for a broad range of colors to work effectively with this ink.

This ink can be printed directly on a fabric without any pre-treatment needed and without rinsing afterwards. This simplifies the traditional dying process, removing undue steps while still achieving a pleasing look. Farbenpunkt has years of experience with sustainable and specialty ink solutions. They utilize this expertise to create inks and dye processes which reduce the costs associated with dying and reduce the environmental impact. Removing these pre and post treatment steps significantly reduces the volume of water needed to produce a single garment.

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