Plastisol ink is a PVC (polyvinyl chloride) based system that essentially contains no solvent at all. Along with UV ink used in graphic screen printing, it is referred to as a 100% solid ink system. Plastisol is a thermoplastic ink in that it is necessary to heat the printed ink film to a temperature high enough to cause the molecules of PVC resin and plasticizer to cross-link and thereby solidify, or cure. The temperature at which most plastisol for textile printing cures at is in the range of 149 °C to 166 °C (300 °F to 330°F).
Plastisol is the ink of choice for printing of finished goods such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, and tote bags.
Advantages Of Plastisol Ink
Plastisol can best be described as a “user-friendly” ink because it is very easy to manage. Plastisol can be left in the screen for extended periods of time without clogging the mesh. It is ready to use right out of the container more than 90% of the time. In most applications, it can be printed wet-on-wet, which allows for increased production speeds. It comes in formulations that can be printed on light and dark fabrics. And, in most municipalities, the disposal of waste plastisol is a very simple process.
Disadvantages Of Plastisol Ink
Since Plastisol is a thermoplastic, it will remelt if it comes in contact with anything hot enough. For that reason, plastisol prints cannot be ironed. If an iron touches a print, it will smear the ink.
Plastisol ink also creates an ink film that can be felt with the hand. The higher the opacity of the ink, the greater the hand. This heavy hand is considered a disadvantage at the consumer level.