BASF has introduced a new pigment printing system that combines the soft fabric handle and colourfast qualities of conventional reactive prints with the environmental advantages of pigment printing.

"Pigment printing used to be called coating," remembers Dr Guenter Renz, developer in the field of Performance Chemicals for Textiles at BASF, Ludwigshafen, "but this negative image of pigment printing is no longer justified.

"With the softness and fastness of Helizarin Soft we have made a big step towards dispelling this prejudice."

BASF says the Helizarin Soft system eliminates the expensive, water- and energy-intensive after treatment required by reactive prints, dramatically lowering the environmental impact.

The four components of the system are Luprimol VS (a softener blend that produces prints with a soft, agreeable handle); Helizarin Binder TOW (an acrylate binder that gives prints their fastness and soft handle); Luprintol CF (an emulsifier that improves the fastness of the prints and the running properties of the pastes); and Lutexal HIT (a pigment printing thickener).