Behind the Scenes: Technical Insights with Mads Christoffersen, DST’s Ink Specialist

In this technical interview, we explore the intricate world of heat transfers and the art of screenprinting inks through the eyes of an expert.

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Welcome to our technical interview with DST Key Account Manager, screenprinting enthusiast and a true alchemist in ink formulations – Mads Christoffersen. Mads brings a unique blend of expertise and engineering passion to the company and the textile printing industry in general. In this interview, we delve into his professional history, product developments and insights on the latest trends shaping the screenprinting industry today. Join us as we explore the intricate world of heat transfers and the art of screenprinting inks through the eyes of an expert.

Interviewer: Tell us about yourself and your background in the printing industry?

Expert: I was born in 1967 and spent the first 8 years of my life living in various places in Denmark and around the world. My journey in the printing industry started in 1996 when I bought into the company Universal Color, where I replaced my father’s former business partner. Universal Color specialized in supplying printing products, particularly in the textile printing sector. My background as an export engineer laid the foundation for my interest in chemistry, driving the evolution of Universal Color into a manufacturing hub. Alongside advancements in direct printing and coating, my focus was on creating products with sustainability and innovation in mind, which led to the development of the eco-friendly solution TransAqua ink for traditional screenprinting, tailored to the heat transfer market. I have since then invented many inks and chemical accessories to fit the different screenprinting needs of my customers.

Interviewer: The DST SP HD ink system for transfers is one of your notable developments. Could you share more about its history, the needs it aimed to fulfill, and its distinguishing features in comparison to other inks?

Expert: DST SP HD is an ink system designed for heavy-duty screenprinted workwear, sportswear and fashion wear heat transfers. Our journey with the DST SP HD ink system reflects the commitment to sustainability and innovation in the screenprinting heat transfer market. It started together with a key partner in Denmark, we set out to create a product that excelled in performance, prioritized knowledgeable sourcing and manufacturing practices, redefined industry standards of textile decoration and paved the way for alternative from direct printing to transfer printing. The SP HD ink system represents a paradigm shift in ink for transfer technology, showing superior wash durability, luxurious finish, and exceptional elasticity, only by using a white or a clear base ink, which could be mixed with color pigments. Today, it combines DST White SP HD and DST Clear SP HD into a waterbased system without organic solvents, which fulfils the ISO 15797 standards for industrial laundering.

Interviewer: Can you share some success stories surrounding the DST SP HD ink system?

Expert: While confidentiality prevents me from disclosing specific customer details, I can attest to numerous success stories across Europe and beyond where the DST SP HD ink system has been selected due to the high-quality transfers it creates. From reducing solvent consumption and dangerous waste generation to mitigating eco-friendly usage, our waterbased ink formulations have been praised for their simplicity to reach excellent performances without compromising on cost. Customers can achieve OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, Note 1, GOTS or other certifications and they can always rely on stable supply, flexible logistics and a solid R&D team to deliver improvements as needed. Adaptations and enhancements are integral to our approach, ensuring that the SP HD ink system remains at the forefront of high productivity and innovation in the heat transfer market.

Interviewer: Could you elaborate on the special effects achievable with your inks, emphasizing any sustainable and innovative features?

Expert: Our DST SP HD ink system not only delivers high elasticity and stunning surface or touch effects, but also allows to easily add color pigments or to work with ready-to-use metallic effect ink, such Gold, Silver, Glitter or Black matt.  We’ve expanded the palette of possibilities, enabling printers to achieve vibrant colors and intricate detailing with minimal environmental impact. Whether it’s replicating natural textures or incorporating bio-based additives for enhanced durability, our inks exemplify the fusion of creativity and sustainability in the heat transfer market.

Interviewer: How do you envision the future of screen printing, particularly in the context of sustainability and innovation, and what challenges do you anticipate customers needing assistance within the heat transfer market?

Expert: As we chart the course for the future of traditional and hybrid screenprinting transfer, sustainability and innovation will remain central to our efforts. The demand for eco-friendly solutions will continue to grow, requiring dedication to develop greener alternatives as a cross-industry solution and streamline sustainable practices in the heat transfer market. Challenges such as optimizing consumables consumption, limiting waste, reducing carbon footprint, and enhancing recyclability will require collaborative solutions and ongoing technological advancements. By leveraging our expertise in sustainable ink formulations and innovative transfer printing technologies, we can be ready to address these challenges and lead the industry towards a more sustainable and prosperous future of the textile printing industry. A good example is the collaborative project “Reuse is good use”, in which my R&D colleagues with a series of industry partners are investigating removability of the transfers for better textile recycling.

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