Recently, a new product was added to DTF technology. This product is DTF paper.
DTF paper is used in the same way that DTF PET film is used, with DTF ink and adhesive powder (white or black), using the same process.
But what is the difference between DTF paper and DTF PET film and are there any advantages of using it instead of PET film?
Although it is early days with this product type, DTF paper appears to offer some advantages:
1. this paper appears not having oil problems. An oil problem can appear in PET films if they were stored for a long time or the coating quality wasn't good. This means DTF paper should have a longer shelf life compared to PET film.
2. the materials which are used to make the DTF paper are more environmentally friendly (there is no plastic used to make the base for the coating).
There are still some flaws with DTF paper when we tested it out:
1. the coating can transfer along with the paper, which can give the print a dull appearance.
2. currently, the manufacturer experience paper pulp is rising compared to the cost to use plastic to produce PET film.
3. the paper surface is not as smooth as DTF film, so it will rub the printhead and cause problems. The peeling process is not as smooth as when you peel PET film.
4. DTF paper only appears presently as a cold peel product - you can't hot peel it.
5. if DTF paper isn't stored properly, it will absorb a great amount of moisture from the air (significantly more than what DTF PET film does), making it more sensitive to the environment than PET film. Being affected by moisture will cause the paper (which is not as smooth as PET film anyway) to have an even rougher texture, meaning it can quite easily bulge and warp during the printing process and rub (and potentially damage) the printhead.
6. Another effect of humidity on paper (not seen in PET film) is that the coloured ink can easily seep into the white ink print, resulting in mixed colours and undefined prints.
7. The paper weighs significantly more than PET film, meaning for larger sized paper especially (eg 42cm or 60cm), there can be issues in feeding it through the printer that are not experienced by PET film. The problem can be especially acute at the shaker stage, where the paper may not present a smooth surface for powder application. See the video below:
In summary, this product is a work-in-progress. Our suppliers assure us that this product's features (and flaws) will continue to be refined. It is reasonable to expect this to be true. After all, the sublimation process still uses paper. If paper does in the future replace PET film, this will surely be better for the environment. (Presently PET film cannot be recycled easily because of the coating on it).