The commercial screen printing industry is finally picking up after the 2008 decline of the economy. New businesses are constantly popping up. Most of these businesses have no storefront, opting to instead sell their wares online. This helps them to have a large customer base. However, those customers are likely to be in the 20 to 40 range, with many preferring eco-friendly products. This goes beyond using organic cotton; now the demand is for PVC-free inks for screen printing.
1. Water-Based Inks. Water-based inks are a good idea, in theory, but the colors are not as vibrant as the PVC inks. The designs are not as durable, and they do not adhere to clothing with the same ease as the traditional types of ink.
2. 100% Solid Inks. The newer solid inks look very similar to the PVC inks once applied to clothing. The solid inks are not as versatile, and applying them to apparel is still more difficult, but ink providers are constantly coming up with better and better formulas.
3. Non-PVC Plastisols. The non-PVC plastisol inks are very similar to PVC screen printing inks. They yield close to the same amount, and the quality is very similar. These inks do not have the issue of drying on the screen, which is common in many non-PVC formulas. Plastisol ink screen printing offers a wide range of colors and special effects, another thing uncommon to non-PVC inks. However, these inks do not offer bleed-blocking nor wet-on-wet printing.
Although ink manufacturers are gaining ground when it comes to making better PVC-free inks, the end products are still not able to fully compete with the quality and versatility of PVC inks. Over time this will change, but, until then, a large shift in the ink market is not likely.