Digital textile printing has been growing at about 30% year on year globally for the past 3 – 4 years and based on the calculation method stands between 3 – 4 % of the total printed output worldwide. Industrial scanning technology for digital textile printing is now a well-established technology and the print service providers and textile mills are now looking at optimal production with cost-effective pricing. To achieve this it becomes imperative that the print head manufacturers, ink manufacturers and machine manufacturers work together to make the technology more affordable to ensure a good growth trajectory. At the same time as the fashion and textile business models evolve it is important that the print service providers and textile mills also react and work proactively use the technology at their disposable to create new revenue streams.
Single Pass Printers are the buzzword in the digital textile printing market, however the machines are not going into the market as fast as expected. Some other industrial applications for example ceramic printing saw very fast acceptance and exponential number of installation in a very short time. That being said, single pass printers are a big investment for companies and they have to be sure that they have the volume and have sufficient order volumes to keep the machine running. Single Pass Printers are a complete different ball game compared to industrial level scanning machines. Having sufficient order volumes also means to have the ability to sell the product printed by single pass printers at a premium. Digitally printed textiles at these volumes are still expensive compared to conventional prints on a rotary. Single pass digital textile machines can print millions of meters a month and a supporting business model including designing, marketing and maintenance is needed. The complete breakthrough for Single Pass has still to come. To achieve this, companies will have to model their business’s accordingly and the technology stakeholders will have to provide dedicated customized service.
Industry experts and stakeholders feel that the digital textile printing output will grow to 10-15% in the next 5 – 7 years but it will be complimentary with rotary because of the cost-effectiveness of large runs on rotary. At this stage it is important that the players in the digital textile printing space maintain the ground they have gained, rationalize and chase the next growth story !