Trends that will change the fu­ture of dig­i­tal print­ing

Stitch World - - FRONT PAGE -

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Smithers Pira, a world­wide author­ity on the pack­ag­ing, pa­per and print in­dus­try sup­ply chains, a to­tal of 870 mil­lion square me­tres of fab­ric were printed on dig­i­tal prin­ters last year worth US $ 1.29 bil­lion. It is fur­ther ex­pected that the vol­ume of fab­ric will grow at a CAGR of 17.5% in the next five years. By 2021, this vol­ume will reach up to 1.95 bil­lion square me­tres worth US $ 2.66 bil­lion. The chang­ing cus­tomer de­mands and the ad­van­tages of dig­i­tal print­ing are fu­elling its im­por­tance in the tex­tile and ap­parel in­dus­try. Team Stitch­World analy­ses the lat­est trends and ad­vance­ments in this rapidly grow­ing seg­ment.

As against its sub­sti­tutes screen print­ing and ro­tary print­ing, dig­i­tal print­ing offers promis­ing ben­e­fits such as quick turn­around times, no lim­ited de­signs, ecofriendly na­ture, fast speed, per­fect reg­is­tra­tion and high res­o­lu­tion. It has come a long way from the earlier time when the in­dus­try was not re­cep­tive to shift to dig­i­tal print­ing, doubt­ful of its cost, flex­i­bil­ity, re­li­a­bil­ity and ease of use.

Fol­low­ing are some of the trends that the In­dian tex­tile mar­ket is wit­ness­ing:

New op­tions avail­able for Print Heads

The print­head of a dig­i­tal printer is its heart which is solely re­spon­si­ble for pre­cisely plac­ing each in­di­vid­ual drop of dif­fer­ent colours of ink on the sub­strate, wher­ever re­quired. The vast ma­jor­ity of dig­i­tal prin­ters have been us­ing print­heads of com­pa­nies such as Ep­son till now. How­ever at present, the dig­i­tal printer man­u­fac­tur­ers are drift­ing to­wards adopt­ing print­heads of­fered by other com­pa­nies such as Pana­sonic, Ri­coh Co. Ltd. or Kon­ica Mi­nolta. Th­ese print­heads are in max­i­mum de­mand in the mar­ket.

This dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion in the se­lec­tion of print­heads is pre­dom­i­nantly at­trib­uted to a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of fac­tors which mat­ter while choos­ing a print­head such as its size, vari­able drop size ca­pa­bil­ity, speed at which it places colour on the sub­strate, and the num­ber of noz­zles. Negi Sign Sys­tems & Sup­plies offers NegiJet TX R-1900, which fea­tures Ri­coh Gen 5 print­heads. Avail­able in 8 and 16 op­tions, the Ri­coh Gen 5 print­head

“The next gen­er­a­tion of dig­i­tal prin­ters will have 12 print­heads and will cross over the print­ing speed of 100 m2/h.” “The fu­ture of dig­i­tal print­ing is with pig­ment inks. It costs less as well as re­quires no pre-treat­ment.”

Pig­ment inks are gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity as they can print on a wide ar­ray of fab­rics. In­stead of pen­e­trat­ing the fab­ric and bind­ing com­pared to other inks, th­ese inks form a layer on the fab­ric which is only a mi­cron thick. More­over, they don’t re­quire any pre-treat­ment such as steam­ing. –Vi­jay Kan­dari, Sales Head, Negi Sign Sys­tems & Sup­plies Co. – V. Sud­heer Nair, CEO, Cheran Ma­chines

has 1280 noz­zles per head and vari­able drop of 7PL, 14PL and PL. It offers a print­ing qual­ity of 1200 DPI.

Cheran ma­chines has a machine model CSP 2000, an in­dus­trial sub­li­ma­tion printer that equips 4 Ri­coh Gen 5 print­heads. Th­ese heads have more than 3 types of vari­able ink drop print­ing tech­nol­ogy rang­ing from 7PL to 21PL. The max­i­mum res­o­lu­tion sup­ported is 2400 DPI.

An­other print­head, Ky­ocera KJ4 has 1328 noz­zles per head and fa­cil­i­tates a vari­able drop size of 4PL-18 PL. It al­lows fre­quency of drops per sec­ond to be 30 kHz which di­rectly im­pacts the print­ing speed.

In­creas­ing use of pig­ment inks

The new­est trend in the tex­tile mar­ket is the us­age of a sin­gle ink for all types of sub­strates. Pig­ment inks are gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity as they can print on a wide ar­ray of fab­rics. In­stead of pen­e­trat­ing the fab­ric and bind­ing com­pared to other inks, th­ese inks form a layer on the fab­ric which is only a mi­cron thick. More­over, they don’t re­quire any pre­treat­ment such as steam­ing.

Vee Kay En­ter­prises’ of­fer­ing, E-Press, a dig­i­tal tex­tile printer, uses re­ac­tive, acid, pig­ment and sub­li­ma­tion inks. It al­lows op­tions of 4, 6 and 8 colours in the printer. The E-Press can print on a va­ri­ety of fab­rics such as cot­ton, silk, linen, wool, ny­lon, polyester and many other fab­rics.

An­other printer in the league is NegiJet TX R-1900 by Negi Sign Sys­tems & Sup­plies, which also pro­vides op­tions of re­ac­tive, acid, pig­ment and dis­perse inks to be used for print­ing. The printer offers 8 colour op­tions which are CMYK, red, orange, grey and blue.

De­sir­able high speed of print­ing

The print­ing speed of the dig­i­tal printer de­ter­mines the pro­duc­tiv­ity of the printer. De­mand for high speed of dig­i­tal prin­ters are push­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers to of­fer sub­li­ma­tion prin­ters with in­creased speed. Brit­o­mat­ics, a sup­plier of tex­tile print­ing Com­par­i­son of fea­tures of sub­li­ma­tion prin­ters so­lu­tions, presents E180-DX5, a sub­li­ma­tion printer, which is avail­able in 2 heads and 4 heads. The printer offers a speed of 64 m2/h in 4 passes.

In­dige­nous prin­ters mak­ing their way into global mar­ket

For a long time, the In­dian tex­tile mar­ket has been re­ly­ing on Euro­pean and Korean dig­i­tal prin­ters to cater to cus­tomers’ needs. The pre­ci­sion and ex­per­tise re­quired to un­der­stand the me­chan­i­cal de­sign, colour match sys­tem, ma­te­rial feed­ing were the ar­eas where Euro­peans and Kore­ans were ex­celling. Colorjet is one such dig­i­tal printer man­u­fac­turer which is based in In­dia and de­vel­ops all the prin­ters in the coun­try it­self. The com­pany re­cently launched Au­ra­jet-D Se­ries II, a dye sub­li­ma­tion printer.

One of the at­trac­tive fea­ture of the printer is its abil­ity to print on a GSM pa­per as low as 45 which op­ti­mizes the fi­nal cost. A 90 or 100 GSM pa­per costs around Rs. 3000 per me­tre whereas a 45 GSM pa­per costs around Rs 2000 per me­tre. It also re­duces the ink con­sump­tion to nearly half.

In­dus­try in­clin­ing to­wards sin­gle pass print­ing

Dig­i­tal prin­ters, with­out even a sec­ond thought, of­fer high print­ing speed com­pared to other means of print­ing. The print­ing speed of the dig­i­tal printer greatly de­pends on the speed it offers in a sin­gle pass. In a sin­gle pass, the sub­strate is fed to the printer, which is printed and ejected out. A great sav­ing in terms of time is achieved as all the ink car­tridges dis­pense ink at the same time.

On the other hand, multi-pass print­ing in­volves ink car­tridges dis­pens­ing one type of ink at a time. This type of print­ing not only takes longer time but also has a prob­a­bil­ity of dis­torted prints. How­ever, it is much cheaper than the sin­gle pass.

“We are get­ting good re­sponses for both our fab­ric prin­ters and sub­li­ma­tion prin­ters. We have sold more than 150 ma­chines of Vas­tra­jet all over In­dia.” – Smarth Bansal, Brand Man­ager, Colorjet “70% of the In­dian in­dus­try deals with polyester fab­ric, that’s why sub­li­ma­tion prin­ters are more in de­mand.” – Bharat Wad­hwa, Owner, Vee Kay En­ter­prises “Dig­i­tal print­ing will gain mo­men­tum in the next few years as prices of dig­i­tal prin­ters are com­ing down due to lower cost­ing of inks.” – Ar­jun Dev, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Brit­o­mat­ics In­dia Pvt. Ltd.

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