BDC has just released a paper on the available federal and provincial grants and subsidies to assist businesses with projects for climate-related measures.
They are covered in four categories:
- Building management – maximizing HVAC efficiency and retrofitting your building to lower energy costs.
- Process optimization – managing organic waste and optimizing equipment.
- Transportation management – optimizing your vehicle fleet and electrifying it.
- Climate leadership – raising climate awareness, integrating climate into your business strategy, calculating greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s a detailed list of all the grants and subsidies available on a province-by-province basis, including the territories. It’s comprehensive and much more information than I can include here. It’s on the BDC website from where you can download it.
If you’ve been following the entries here over the past year or so, you’ll recall my campaign against the use of glitter in the garment-decorating industry. You’ll also recall that because of raising the issue, I’ve become persona non grata in industry circles where I was once welcome. Well, I’ve been encouraged by recent events in the campaign against glitter as part of the effort to address the microplastic pollution of our waterways and oceans.
In addition to certain large retailers banning glitter about three years ago, the EU has now banned it. Unfortunately, in North America it’s still being promoted in printing applications. For instance, at the Printing United show last month, an equipment manufacturer was demonstrating how its wide-format printer could apply glitter. However, I recently had some good news when a prominent industry journalist agreed to publish an article on the issue of glitter as a harmful microplastic in the same magazine in which another journalist reported on the wide-format glitter-applying machine. It’s going to provide the editor with a dilemma; time will tell if the environment can prevail over vested commercial interests.
The anti-glitter article is apparently scheduled to be published in February. I’ll be updating this story at that time.
This is a topic that may appear almost too obvious to mention again but apparently it’s not—different fabrics need different inks formulated for those specific fabrics.
What has prompted this discussion in the past and has prompted it again now is that inquiries show that printers are still surprised when their regular white ink turns pink on red Polyester or when their regular general-purpose ink cracks on Lycra. These should be rookie problems but even some seasoned printers still seem to have some of these issues; and they can be costly issues.
So, bear with me while I preach the same sermon . . . In the earlier days of textile screen printing we did not have the variety of fabrics that we now have. These days, every time that you turn around somebody has come out with a new fabric and then shortly after that customers start turning up with this never-before-seen fabric and they want you to print their team or corporate logo on it. Before you reach for the ink bucket you had better know exactly what the fabric is; and don’t necessarily assume that you can believe the label. I’ve seen Polyesters labelled as Nylon and Nylon labeled as Polyester; believing labels can definitely make a mess of your print job.
Obvious fabric characteristics like stretch, weave, mesh, and so forth can be determined right away by visual inspection, but there are also simple tests for less obvious characteristics such as whether a fabric is, say, a Nylon or a Polyester. If the nature of the fabric cannot be readily established then you should consider having it analyzed and matched with the right type of ink by Avient’s applications laboratory in Georgia. This can be arranged through any of the Stanley’s branches.
Stanley’s has textile inks for every known fabric including 100% cotton, cotton/Polyester blends, Polyester, smooth Nylon, Nylon Mesh, various athletic fabrics, stretch fabrics and a host of others. They also have inks for special effects such as high density prints, ‘crackle’ prints, suede simulation, and puff prints on various fabrics.
The bottom line here is that for a successful print that will keep customers coming back, you must know what the fabric is and then use the right ink type on it.
If you have any doubts at all about the ink to use on a certain fabric, particularly if it is a fabric that you do not often encounter, give Stanley’s a call.
Rebecca Thomson reports that the University of Toronto’s DREAM laboratory has been enjoying success applying polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) to garments to prevent the shedding of microplastics. Dr. Sudhip Lahiri, a textile engineer by trade and a postdoctoral researcher at the DREAM Laboratory, developed a molecular primer based on his knowledge of fabric dyes. It works by creating a low-friction fabric that reduces how many microfibers are shed.
Apparently it all started with the goal of developing a non-toxic alternative to the toxic waterproof coatings found on 75 percent of water-resistant clothing in a 2022 study. But, like so may other inventions, one thing led to another. The next step in the teams’ microplastic work is to create an application process suitable for industrial use.
So why is all of this important? Because, as Thomson reminds us, “Microplastics are a particularly big problem for the fast fashion companies, which produce a high number of items made of synthetic nylon, polyester, acrylic or rayon. These materials constitute about 60 percent of all new garments made today, according to the UN, and every time they are washed, the friction caused by washing machines causes tiny tears in the fabric and small fibers break away.” And we know by now, these microplastic fibers along with all the other microplastics end up in our waterways and oceans. From there they move along the food chain and eventually show up in our food and drinking water.
If this coating process is scaled up to industrial proportions, it may affect textile screen printers depending upon whether or not it can take a print. Just another development to watch.
Evaluating the quality of ink is a topic that has for a long time puzzled better screen printers who appreciate that there is much more to choosing between inks than checking price tags. The market offers printers a number of brands of ink and ink systems and, like just about any other consumable, they vary in quality and price.
So, how do you choose? Essentially, there are five characteristics to consider in the selection of an ink: aesthetics; regulatory compliance; performance in the bucket; performance in the screen; and performance on the garment.
In considering the five characteristics, you should ask the following questions:
- What is required for the final look and feel on the garment?
- Does the ink meet all regulatory requirements with regard to such things as lead content, Phthalates, PVC and so forth? Nowadays all inks should, but check anyway.
- How will the ink perform in the screen with regard to ease of use and speed?
- How stable is the ink when stored in the bucket and how easily will it mix after a period of storage?
- What are the wash requirements and will the ink meet those requirements?
- What sort of support are you going to receive form the supplier if you need advice or help with a tricky printing issue?
Your risk in all of this lies in the fact that the ink you choose might not meet your quality requirements. For a few pennies (sometimes a fraction of a penny per print) why compromise on quality and put return business at risk? It is best to choose wisely. Selecting on price alone is not smart business.`
This is one of those topics that the Stanley’s’ staff can help you with. Don’t hesitate to ask.
If you’re interested in the fortunes and announcements of the larger players as a way of gauging the health and direction of the industry, then Kornit’s recent quarterly results will interest you. I’m only showing the unaudited results in USD per GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). As we’ve ween in recent news reports from the US, monkeying around with non-GAAP financial reports is not a good idea.
- 3rd quarter (Jul, Aug, Sep) revenues were $59.2 million versus $66.8 million the same quarter last year.
- 3rd quarter loss was 8.2 million versus $19.0 million the same quarter last year.
We know that large-corporation finance and reporting can be complicated, but I don’t think anyone could be faulted for wondering why, if DTG is allegedly enjoying so much success, the primary manufacturer of DTG equipment isn’t massively profitable.
Anyway, it’s another of those things in the industry worth monitoring as a way of seeing which way the wind is blowing.