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Old January 14th, 2020 -   #1 (permalink)
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Question Help with Discharge Red on black Bella Canvas 3001

Hello, brave brothers and sisters of the print realm. I have a problem. It is driving me crazy and making me question my 13 years of screen printing experience

In a nutshell - we have been getting totally inconsistent results with our discharge red, printed on black Bella Canvas 3001 (our staple shirt). When printing using Red 032, we have consistently been facing the issue of the red looking dull on around 25% of the run, and vibrant on 75% of the run.

Specs - we use CCI pigments and base. The ink recipe we have been relying on is 15% Red 032, 85% D-Base, and 3% activator. We use 4% on our other colors, but with red specifically we use 3% to avoid the activator eating away the pigment. We just began experimenting with using 20% pigment, 80% D-Base on Red 032, in an attempt to achieve the desired vibrancy, but it doesn't seem to make a drastic difference, or help address this particular problem we are facing.

I have attached a photo - the two swatches here are printed using the same formula, same screen, and on the same shirt. We printed the top swatch last week, then tried recreating it this week (the bottom swatch), and were unable to achieve the same level of vibrancy. We are currently making our own custom stock colors for both discharge and waterbased printing, which requires mixing and printing swatches of many colors, which is what has led onto this whole mess.

In the past, this has been my hypothesis for why the discharge ink is not curing consistently to the same vibrant red across an entire run of shirts - the shirts are sourced from different warehouses, dyed differently, different fabrics, who knows. However, my tests today more or less shattered this theory, because we are getting inconsistent results using the SAME formula on the SAME shirt...

Variables I have eliminated
-Drying time - We were printing tons of Red 032 swatches today, in an attempt to rule out variables. I decided to just run one of the swatches through the drier twice, testing if the ink is being cured for too long or too little of time. The shirt we sent through twice gave us identical results to the shirt that ran through once. Not to mention, we get super vibrant red and other discharge colors using our current dryer settings - our specific problem is consistency, and getting the vibrancy of red to maintain consistency throughout the run.
-Discharge agent - We mixed the ink with both Ryonet Green Galaxy agent and CCI agent and got the same results.
-Amount of discharge agent - We mixed and tested Red 032 with both 3% and 4% activator, and got near identical results (a dull red).
-Number of squeegee strikes - I printed a sample with one hit, no load, and a sample with a load and 5 hits, got the same dull red .

I was considering trying another brand for black shirts in particular to help overcome this problem, but after running all these tests I am more confused than ever. I am now beginning to doubt that the bella canvas 3001 shirt is the culprit to our vibrancy issue, because on a shirt we have already printed a beautiful vibrant red on, we are now getting the familiar dull red. Same shirt, same ink recipe, same dryer settings, totally different results, and not a clue as to why this is happening.

Has anyone else faced these problems? This is driving me crazy and beginning to waste a ton of production time. Thank you for your help and print on, brothers and sisters, print on
Attached Images
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