Directa Plus has announced that it has received a grant for a project to develop an environmentally sustainable technology to digitally print its G+ graphene product on fabrics.
The GREEN.TEX project partners are Directa Plus, EFI Reggiani, the Italian subsidiary of global digital printing group Electronics For Imaging, Inc. (EFI), and IBS Consulting Group. The project will last for an initial period of 24 months and has a total value of around €1 million, of which Directa Plus will invest €240,000 and receive a grant of €100,000.
GREEN.TEX is aimed at reducing the environmental impact of printing graphene on fabric through the use of an advanced material. The goal is to develop an innovative digital printing process using water-based graphene ink. Using digital equipment will significantly reduce the environmental impact, particularly with regards to water and energy consumption and chemical waste production. The research will be mainly focused on ecologically friendly fabrics, such as natural fabrics and synthetic fabrics obtained from recycling processes.
The partners will work to develop the components and processes needed to print (using inkjet systems) G+ graphene onto fabrics for the textile market (apparel, upholstery, technical markets), with each partner contributing in their own specialist fields:
- Directa Plus will develop a suitable grade of G+ for this application;
- EFI Reggiani will develop a specific ink and printing equipment to print G+ ink;
- IBS will support the team in identifying and supplying various substrate and fabrics onto which G+ ink will be printed.
Successful development of the printing technology will allow fabrics to be enhanced in a number of different ways - improved thermal and electrical conductivity, and the introduction of a bacteriostatic effect.
Digital printing will represent an important step forward from traditional rotary screen printing. It offers superior flexibility of production, such as the possibility to print small batches of fabrics without significant set-up costs, and similarly, the ability to change the printed pattern very quickly.
In addition, the technology offers the potential to improve the sustainability of the technology as digital printing is likely to require a lower amount of water during the process as well as a much lower waste of materials.