From fashion to furnishings, the digital textile printing industry is on the rise- Pros & cons

Currently, Europe dominates the global digital textile printing market. Italy garners the maximum share of the market owing to the presence of a large number of fashion industries in Milan, Rome, Palermo, and Venice.

Innovation and Technology
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2
 Min read
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April 8, 2022

The textile industry has taken a massive leap in the digital textile printing sector amid rapidly changing trends in the fast-fashion world. As per Allied Market Reasearch, the global digital textile printing market is projected to reach $7.9 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate of 14.8%. The market is anticipated to witness a significant growth as demand for printed textiles is drastically increasing, especially in the Asia-pacific and the Middle East region.

Currently, Europe dominates the global digital textile printing market. Italy garners the maximum share of the market owing to the presence of a large number of fashion industries in Milan, Rome, Palermo, and Venice.

What is digital textile printing?

Digital textile printing is a specialized form of wide-format inkjet printing. The printers eject tiny droplets of ink directly onto many types of non-stretch natural and synthetic textiles. Unlike the textile dye sublimation process, which is limited to polyester and poly/blend fabrics, digital printing can be done on all kinds of fabrics.

There are two kinds of digital textile printing- sublimation digital printing and direct digital printing. The technology behind both printers is same, however, the media that goes into the machine and the process to get the fabric ready differs in both methods.

The first step in digital textile printing is to pretreat the fabric with liquid solutions that prepares it to accept the dye and better absorb the colour. The printer then sprays tiny droplets of dye on the textile. The final step is fixing the fabric- a process that ensures permanency of the design. Depending on the type of textile and type of dye, fixing may involve steam, dry heat, or pressure.

What are the pros of digital printing?

Global manufacturers of apparel and decor fabrics believe that digital textile printing ensures reduction in water usage, energy consumption, waste, and water pollution associated with traditional textile dyeing and printing. Some experts estimate that digital fabric printing can reduce water usage by up to 90% and electrical usage by up to 30%.

Digital printing ensures fast sampling and short term delivery as designs can be made digitally and adjusted on the spot. Each adjustment in conventional screen printing requires a new rotary screen which slows down lead time. It provides high resolution and fine patterns, flexibility and unlimited colour combinations.

What are the cons of digital printing?

The most common disadvantage of digital printing is the high amount of cost incurred. Due to specialized nature of digital printing, including base cloth preparation, limited runs, dyes and machines, the cost per yard for the manufacturer is higher than traditional screen printing. In order to boost the digital printing industry, the price of ink in the future needs to be adjusted reasonably. Along with cost, at present, the speed of the fastest digital inkjet printing machine can reach 150m2/h but is still far behind the traditional printing machine and needs to be further improved.

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