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Cover Story | June 2018

Printing Goes Green

Not only digital printing, even the the traditional printing methods are going green, finds an ITJ Exclusive.

Talk about textile printing today—rotary screen, DTG or digital—the new winds of change blowing across this industry scream: WE ARE GOING GREEN. Lesser space, faster speed, reduced ink usage and eco-friendly processes are at the heart and soul of this transformation.

EFI Reggiani’s newest offering, COLORS printer, helps “our customers reach new levels of sustainability,” says Adele Genoni, General Manager and Vice President of EFI Reggiani, backed by 70 years of experience in printing innovation. Mouvent, a young Swiss start-up company, talks of a printer, the TX801 that “can print on a multitude of substrates and a technology that allows you to apply up to 16 g/sq m of ink in a single pass making it possible to print up to 50 per cent of the print jobs without having to pass multiple times over the same spot.”

Says Reto Simmen, Chief Business Officer at Mouvent: “In terms of sustainability and ecology, Mouvent markets highly energy efficient solutions, and their simple, compact and lightweight design, be it for the print engines or the machine as a whole, is using very little raw materials. Mouvent printers, being all digital solutions, generate very little to no waste compared to their analog counterparts. Furthermore, our Mouvent Clusters are conceived in a way that they can be individually refurbished no matter how many clusters are built into the print engine reducing waste to an absolute minimum. As to the inks, playing a big part in the eco-equation, on the label side of our business we already have a machine that is printing with our own 100 per cent water based eco-friendly as well as food-safe inks, and our in-house laboratory is currently working on a similar, eco-friendly solution for textiles.”

Speaking on the various technologies offered by Ahmedabad-based Embee Group in rotary printing field, its Managing Director, Harsh Shah, said, “Embee’s printing machine InfiniumiD has been developed by using the state-of-the-art electronic servo individual drive system and incorporates latest European technology. The machine is equipped with a servo motor for each printing position to achieve higher printing accuracy and ease of operation. This delivers the highest printing quality combined with excellent efficiency and minimum waste. The key benefits includes greater stability, perfect printing fitting, sharp printing result, reduced wastage, automatic repeat setting, etc.”

Embee is the only company in the world providing complete package for textile rotary printing systems. We not only provide rotary printing machine but also provide rotary screen engraving plant, complete colour kitchen systems and other accessories like sample printing machine, colour strike-off machine, screen washers, squeegee washers etc. Hence, Embee is an ideal partner for setting up a new textile rotary printing factory.

Shah feels that there is huge demand of hi-tech rotary printing machines in India that provides highest accuracy, sharp registration, fine detailed printing, etc. He adds, “A lot of customers are upgrading their machines with these features. Today, Embee is the perfect solution to meet these current printing requirements with higher efficiency and highest returns on investment.”

Located at Dehradun, Uttarakhand, NEGI Sign Systems & Supplies Co has been manufacturing large format graphics printers and direct textile printers from the past 10 years. We have been exclusive distributers to Mutoh, Japan, since 22 years and has been selling a complete range of Mutoh sublimation printers.

Aviral Upadhyay, Product Manager of NEGI Sign Systems & Supplies Co., said, “We offer direct-to-fabric printers—Negijet TXR-1900—with Ricoh Gen5 variable Dot print heads for mid segment market. We offer the Kornit Allegro direct textile printers, which is waterless and 100 per cent eco-friendly with no pre and post requirements. We also offer direct-to-garments printers - Brother from Japan with precise quality, faster speed, high efficiency and productivity. We also offer a wide range of sublimation printers of Mutoh, Japan starting from 44-inch to 104-inch and are exclusive distributors for sublimation inks of KIIAN & SAWGRASS – Italy.”

“Our textile printer series is the solution for customers who are in need of high image quality, low running cost and user friendliness in order to survive intense competitive market of textiles. Designed specially for high quality, high productivity and high performance, the Negijet Textile printers opens a new possibility of Textile printing with state-of-the-art digital technology and customer-focused approach of daily smooth operations and reliable printing,” says Upadhyay.

The World Textile Information Network estimates that the digital textile printing has a 25 per cent growth rate. Textiles are a very strong segment in India and we will spot some good trends at the show. The textile printing is a 7.5 billion dollar market, and is projected to grow more than 34 per cent worldwide, providing outstanding opportunities. The actual number should be much higher and the biggest impact shall be in India and China.Screen printing to the fore

“Screen printing has been more on visiting cards and letterheads, but that segment has got over. In fact, now with the entry of digital printing, a lot of changes are happening in the industry. But the vibrant part of the screen printing industry still remains and is mostly in the garment and industrial printing sector,” says Devang N Sheth, Secretary of the Screenprinting & Graphics Association of India (SGAI).

Says Sheth: “One of the most important segments is the garment industry. As the printing quality has gone up, people are ready to pay higher price for best class screen printing, especially with value addition such as high density, special effects, etc. With GOTS and Oeko-Tex standards, today there is a great improvement in quality of ink and screen printing. Besides, eco concerns are on the rise. Even in inks, printers cannot compromise on quality because to cater to export markets, they need to be fully compliant with environmental norms.”

Talking of Direct to Garment digital printing (popularly known as (DTG), Sheth says: “The DTG is ideal only when you have small volumes to print. But when the order goes beyond 1000-5000 plus, DTG is not viable costwise. For DTG, the costing is also to be taken into account. The ink and other raw materials will be high and not economical. However, the minimum investment in DTG is as low as Rs 6 lakh. So, it is mushrooming all over the country.”

On other hand, Sheth is firm that digital textile printing (large format) has come to occupy a lot of space in home furnishings, sarees, modern fabric materials, which are hitherto printed by rotary or flatbed screen printing machines. He says: “Digital is replacing plenty of traditional printing methods. Although the cost of investment may be very high initially, the big players have to go for it since near-perfection in quality can be achieved only in digital.”

Drawing attention to the paradigm shift in garment/textile printing, Sheth says: “If you look at the recent FESPA show in Berlin, out of 4 halls, 3 were for digital and 1 for screen printing. Digital printing has grown stupendously. Digital printing, apart from textiles, is also going into high-end applications like printing on mobiles, circuit boards, etc.”

Nevertheless, he says, Screen printing has been staying stable due to its distinct advantages for bulk printing in garment printing. However, he says that, there is a growing trend of personalization and balancing of demand and supply in the market which also applies to garment printing. “Because of distinct advantage of digital printing, one can either print just one piece of t-shirt or more as per market requirement and shops need not stock merchandises (screen printed stuff) which often remains unsold for long time.”

He concludes: “Now’s the time for digital printing which will grow faster. Every year, new machines are being launched by the digital printing industry. Digital printing is also faster. You don’t need much labour. The advantages are on the side of digital printing for the future.”

Digital printing grows by leaps and bounds
Double digit growth across 2016-2021, is making digital textile printing one of the most exciting market opportunity in the print and textile supply sectors, according to the latest exclusive market data from Smithers Pira.

The Future of Digital Textile Printing to 2021 values this global market at €1.17 billion in 2016 with growth forecast at an annual average of 12.3 per cent for 2016-2021. This will see the market more than double in value over five years, reaching €2.42 billion in 2021.

Smithers’ exclusive analysis tracks how this will drive an even more rapid increase in the volume of fabric printed with inkjet equipment – from 870 million m² in 2016 to 1.95 billion m² in 2021 – a 17.5 per cent CAGR. This is buttressed by data on and analysis of rising global ink consumption and pricing, and a comprehensive survey of the state-of-the-art in textile printing equipment.

Growth is continuing at an attractive pace for investors and large corporations. This is witnessed by very important merger and acquisition activity in the past two years, with conglomerates from Japan and the US creating groups of companies. Old family textile printing businesses have been purchased and are being incorporated into these larger businesses combining expertise inks and machines. Global near-exponential growth rates cannot be sustained in the long-run as a market matures; but several very high growth regions remain. The revolution digital printing has created in graphics, and more recently in ceramics, shows a market penetration of over 70 per cent can occur within a few years, if there is extensive cost parity or better, and if barriers to change are removed.

In 2016 for textiles the market share for digital processes is 2.8 per cent of overall volume. But digital’s share is set to boom in a segment where the mean growth is just 3 per cent. As this develops, major print companies are increasingly taking an interest in the textile segment, fostering the development of new business models, printheads, inks, media, and high throughput machinery.

The greatest acceleration across the study period will be in clothing, which has the key sub-segments of fashion, haute couture and sportswear. Household textiles are predicted to grow at the next fastest rate. Displays and signage are growing somewhat more slowly – from a larger base – but will maintain double digit annual growth across the Smithers study period, which will convert into the largest absolute increase in value for 2016-2021. Technical textiles will lose ground slightly, which is indicative of a lack of visibility of, or focus on, these smaller niche markets.

Quick turnaround is an increasing priority as the fashion segment embraces multiple mini-seasons and print-on-demand delivery models. This suits inkjet production with its reduced set up times. Furthermore it is supported by, and is supporting, the growing availability of web-to-print platforms. These portals are also enabling “value web” approaches – generating direct online sales of digitally printed clothing, and increasingly household décor too.
Global textile industry dynamics are changing and the importance of Asian economies continues to increase, though there is also some backshoring/reshoring of production to North America and Europe to ensure quality in high-value applications. The parallel trend of near-shoring – shortening global supply chains – was poised to benefit Turkey, though this is likely to be cancelled or postponed in the short term.

Meanwhile, as per Stratview Research, the global digital textile printing inks market is projected to grow at an excellent CAGR of 17.5 per cent during the period of 2018 to 2023. Organic growth in the textile industry; an increasing demand for rapid customisation to create beautiful, unique clothing or households products; an increasing penetration of digital textile printing from the prototype development to a wide adoption in the printing of garments, home decor, and technical textiles; and excellent performance of digital printing, such as ease of image modifications, are some of the major factors that are proliferating the growth of the digital textile printing inks market.

Sublimation segment is expected to remain the growth engine of the digital textile printing inks market during the forecast period. However, the pigment-based inks segment is likely to witness the highest growth during the same period, driven by its excellent archival print life and color stability. Based on the substrate type, polyester segment is expected to remain the most dominant segment in the market during the forecast period. An extensive usage of polyester fabrics in industrial and household segments is primarily driving the demand for digital printing inks in the polyester fabrics segment.

In terms of application type, industrial segment is expected to remain the dominant segment of the market during the forecast period, driven by an increasing use of digital textile printing inks for advertisement. Garment is another segment that is likely to offer sizable growth opportunities.
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