DIGITAL PRINTING IS THE TALK OF THE DAY
“Digital printing is the best gift of the accelerated global revolution”. Speaking about its swiftly spreading popularity across the world, Navdeep S. Sodhi, Partner, Gherzi Textil Organization, Zurich/Gherzi Consulting Engineers, Mumbai, claimed in a recent seminar, that digital printing which at present constitutes around 4 per cent of the world’s total fabric production, will reach 10 per cent in the next few years. Most in the audience agreed with his view which speaks a lot about the digital printing craze across the globe. No doubt, various stakeholders of the industry have varied opinions on this because some people are still finding it difficult to adopt this innovative technology and few are averse towards its high cost.
Nevertheless, capabilities in digital printing give one an edge over other exporters in terms of faster solutions, servicing and better outcomes. In a candid discussion with Apparel Online, several Indian companies, having heavy as well as small capacities of digital printing, speak about the attributes and future scope of this technology’s newer form. N. Chandran, CMD, Eastman Exports, Tirupur, shared, “Printing is gaining momentum in all areas including polo’s, fashion tees and even underwear. Digital printing is receiving more prominence in women’s and sports apparel collections. Our design team has noticeably been working more with buyers with respect to digital prints.” He further added that digital printing certainly will help to beat the competitors if coupled with a design team and other capabilities. The capacity of Eastman Exports is comprised of the best equipment and techniques for varieties of prints, and digital printing is one part of it. The company is one of the most respected name in India’s apparel export industry with a turnover of more than Rs. 1,000 crore.
It would not be wrong to say that Bangalore-based ENVS Eco Friendly Digital Fabrics India (a venture of Fashion Matrix Overseas), is one of the most enthusiastic, sustainable and aggressively growing company in digital printing industry. Pre-GOTS certified, this company uses 100 per cent bio-degradable ink and ecofriendly processes. It also has expertise in print of any kind on fabric surface and leather. Using advanced technology of Kornit, the company is expanding to add more capacity. Elaborating on his company’s specialization in digital printing domain, Vipin Sethi, Director of the company states, “We have taken a conscious decision to invest in sustainable technology. Our printing machines are from the world’s best brand. The concept of ENVS is to only make high fashion apparel which is organic or made by natural fibres, so we are now venturing into very high-fashion ladies apparel with the core thought that the fabric we use will either be organic or natural. The printing that we do on them should also be eco-friendly and sustainable. We do not use even a single drop of water in the entire process as we have invested in the world’s best printed technology. We can have 10 digital printers at the cost of this particular machine we have, but those machines would have to be purchased from China and they would not use eco-friendly inks and will also require a lot of water. On the other hand, our machines of Kornit are quite sustainable in this regard, though they are pretty expensive. As of now, we have two machines and installation of the third machine is in process. We have already invested US $ 3 million in our digital initiative and would be investing another US $ 3 million for the brand’s launch and its awareness.” With a capacity of 1,200 metre per day, Cheer Sagar, Jaipur, is of the opinion that buyers’ response on digital printed collections is good, and the edge is fat sampling which saves time. Ravi Poddar, MD of the company informed that mainly boutique buyers prefer digital printing as they can pay
Viva Digital Mill, Surat is investing nearly Rs. 7-8 crore with 3-4 printers of Reggiani. Having experience of embroidery and dye printing, DH Italia, owner of the company mentioned, “We are witnessing increased craze for digital printing and customized designs make them different from conventional mill working.”
a better price. Quick response from buyers is another advantage in this regard. Hiren Ruparelia of Maestro Fashions, Bangalore, even feels that there is a huge demand from all customers. Buyers are obviously well aware of the outcome of digital printing, compared to conventional printing methods. And they want to use it as often/regularly as possible.
However, showing his unhappiness on its current demand, Alok Agrawal, Managing Partner, Aloka Exports, Mumbai avers, “Digital print is now less in fashion and the business is moving more towards hand print screen technique. We are still hopeful for future that with improved digital print techniques, we will be able to give screen print look.” He feels that more open ground prints, placed prints with mix of screen look, are needed in the market rather than real 3D photo prints and digital prints. Sharing experience regarding the response of buyers’ on collections used in digital printing, Alok says, “It is more about how you design your article by mixing various concepts/ techniques. Just a digital print garment or scarf is really not a tool to get positive reaction nowadays.” Aloka Exports has a digital print capacity of about 12,000 to 14,000 metres per day.
Ravi Poddar, MD, Cheer Sagar
Navdeep S. Sodhi, Partner, Gherzi Textil Organization, Zurich/Gherzi Consulting Engineers