Germany-based ZwissTex is a leading manufacturer of textiles with over 150 years of experience, creating innovative and sustainable textile solutions for the automotive and apparel industries. The company also operates in Mexico, to specifically serve the automotive sector across North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) markets. Via OEMs, ZwissTex supplies German automakers including Volkswagen Auto Group, BMW, and Mercedes, as well as American manufacturers in select cases.
Unlike other Kornit customers, ZwissTex had no previous experience printing their own materials, and saw Kornit’s sustainable, single-step, Presto MAX S production system as an effective means of increasing their product capabilities.
“Our textiles were not classically printed in the past, and we did not produce any classical textiles in fashion, which is why we didn’t have any printing experience internally,” said Ralph Moldan, Technical Specialist at ZwissTex, as the system was being installed in their facility. “The only option was to find a system that would enable us to implement the areas in which we are active on the market easily and quickly, without requiring a lot of printing experience.”
For Moldan, simplicity was key, and only one viable option stood out from the pack.
“We were simply looking for a print system that doesn’t require a lot of pre-treatment, or post-treatments such as washing out and post-drying, all of which are cost-intensive,” he said, concluding there were “no alternatives” to Kornit’s efficient offering.
One benefit of integrating Kornit technology into the ZwissTex production ecosystem: applying ink only where it is needed and seen, rather than to the full surface of each material. This translates to both reducing the company’s carbon footprint, and minimizing materials waste for a more cost-effective operation.
Prior to making the decision to invest in Kornit, ZwissTex conducted a series of tests and consultations, evaluating possible applications for different materials and engaging with their own key clients to ensure these finished products would meet their rigorous quality and durability standards. This included presenting Kornit-decorated samples at the Techtextil 2022 exhibition in Frankfurt.
“We tried to have all materials printed at Kornit’s (Dusseldorf) technical center, to show that you can print not only polyester-PET knitted fabrics, but also other materials based on natural dyes or other polyamide or PP products,” said Moldan. “Kornit’s support was always excellent – friendly and competent from the beginning, reacting quickly to our wishes – and the system’s flexibility to print on any material without much effort then also triggered our decision to purchase.”
Moldan found Kornit’s production capabilities opened new doors to customization of interior areas, a market that continues to grow. He anticipates this technology will create new opportunities with customers they could not reach previously, including new opportunities in sectors such as motor homes, airlines, and aircraft outfitters.
“The quick, simple transfer from image to textile with sometimes brilliant results is something I had never seen in this manner before, and our visits to Kornit’s showroom inspired us a lot, triggering our creativity,” said Moldan. “We already have a lot of ideas about what we want to do with it.”
Bringing print operations in-house has given ZwissTex cause to completely redesign their production processes, but Moldan believes the added value and independence from outside suppliers will provide the company with considerable value.
“We purchased this system because it allows for broad growth,” said Moldan, noting that “all employees involved, including our sales department, are 100 percent behind this system.”