Why is digital textile printing such a big deal? First of all, there is a big practical aspect to it. Regular fabric patterns are created through rotary or flatbed screen printing that require individual screens for every colour used and large yardage. Simply put, you need to print a lot of fabric and waste a lot of time and you would still be restricted in your choices. With fashion changing on the fly and consumers vying for more exclusivity and customization the scope of digital printing is on the rise.
Global production of digitally printed textiles is growing at an annual rate of 25 percent and at present, digitally printed textiles account for just 2 percent of total printed textile production worldwide and are expected to account for 5 percent share by 2017. There is a slow and steady growth in digital textile printing we can see in India
On account of recent technology developments, increased adoption of digital textile printing and industry sentiment this disruptive technology is poised for a second wave. The key points driving this change can be divided into two main categories:
Increase in digital textile production in European countries driven by the fact that some European textile companies are looking to reshore a proportion of their production operations from developing countries to European countries in order to satisfy local tastes, facilitate quick response (QR) manufacturing, release a greater number of collections each year. The success of the fast fashion concept by the likes of Inditex Group, H & M & others.
Opportunities for expansion in the luxury apparel segment as digital textile printing enables retailers of luxury apparel to produce small quantities of high quality, limited edition pieces cost efficiently. Further scope for expansion lies in the area of mass customisation, whereby a consumer is able to personalise a product by choosing a design on a dedicated web page in an retailer's online store for subsequent production by a digital textile printer.
Development & improvement of printing technology with high speed single pass printing capabilities matching the speeds of rotary screen printing. A recent example being the MS Lario which has seen early success with installations at high profile fashion and home textile companies. ITMA 2015 later this year in Milan will also see launches of high speed printers from from leading OEMs. Decline in pricing of digital textile inks due to efficient sourcing & improved manufacturing processes leading to the overall cost-effectiveness of the technology. Additionally recent investments & acquisitions in the digital textile sector could provide a fillip to the entire sector pushing for further innovative products & services. Now we have to wait and watch if ITMA 2015 replicates ITMA 2003 and acts as a catalyst giving momentum to the second wave in digital textile printing.
New avenues for Growth
Digital textile printing has also generated a great deal of interest in the home textile industry. However, home textile industries decision to adopt digital textile printing will depend on the ready availability of stable wider width printers to enable printing bed sheets & curtains. This would get an additional push with the increasing availability of pigment inks for high speed roll to roll printing at an industry acceptable price point which is key for the home textile industry. The marque trade show for home textiles & furnishings - Heimtextil is enlarging offering of digital printing products and information at the trade show this year. In addition to an extended 'Digital Print' product segment in Hall 4.0, it will also host for the second time, the 'European Digital Textile Conference' by WTIN. Ulrike Wechsung, Director of Heimtextil said, "Digital textile printing has three advantages; first, the technology requires fewer resources and enables faster production cycles and secondly, textile designers can experiment more creatively and flexibly with high-quality forms and models." He added, "Thirdly, producers of home and household textiles have the possibility to respond more quickly and more individually to today's consumer requirements."
Inkjet India 2015 – 5th Digital Textile Conference
A comprehensive overview of the subject will be provided by Inkjet India 2015 – The fifth 'Digital Textile Conference' organized by Inkjet Forum India – a leading knowledge sharing for the global digital textile printing industry. The conference will be hosted at the prestigious India Habitat Centre in New Delhi on 26th February 2015. The topics covered at this event will include the digital textile scenario in India, the technology trends, business opportunities in digital textile printing, color management, importance of design in print and successful examples of digitally printed textiles. The conference will provide delegates with valuable opportunities to attend informative presentations, network with experts and learn from industry experiences. This will in turn help the decision makers attending the conference to devise strategies in building a successful digital textile business.
Inkjet India 2015 will inspire visitors to identify futuristic trends and design dynamics through a first of its kind "Digital Design Inspiration Zone". The zone will give the visitors a unique experience and inspiration to develop products based on futuristic design trends.
The digital textile conference's main Corporate Sponsor is Durst Phototechnik. Other leading sponsors include Sensient & SPG Prints (Premium) and Konica Minolta (Technology).
Inkjet Forum India is also launching an initiative to educate digital textile print manufacturers about color matching & profiling to improve their product quality. The first series of hands-on practical workshops will be on 27th February 2015 & 8th March 2015 in Delhi & Surat respectively supported by DPInnovations, Colorjet & Xrite.