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Textile Printing’s Transformation

(May 2013) posted on Fri May 03, 2013

Nine things you must know about the textile market and its opportunities.

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By InfoTrends

Most of the textiles market uses a workflow like the one pictured here. There are some products, however, such as luxury or boutique items, which are produced in very short runs and are well suited to digital printing. There are also other models of one-off or on-demand ordering through website portals. These products are also digitally printed and do not require the approval processes with brand owners, but are more geared toward the consumer.

Printability Issues
Testing the printability of a substrate is crucial for any printing process, though it adds time to production, and it has the potential to negate some of the benefits of digital printing. Therefore, for firms who want a rapid turnaround, there is an advantage in using a print service provider that has verified a range of bases for their production process and has optimized their preparation.

Some digital textile print service providers test, verify, and prepare to print a range of bases that they keep in stock, from which customers can choose. Alternatively, some suppliers – primarily specialty digital equipment and consumable resellers – supply prepared for digital printing (PFDP) base fabrics. InfoTrends believes that these fabrics will gain wider adoption as digital print becomes more prevalent. While this approach ensures good results and fast turnaround times, it is not always ideal. In addition, certain digital textile print service providers serve a limited set of textile designers and retail suppliers; they cater to those clients’ particular needs rather than attempting to deliver a broad-based solution across the industry. By catering to the needs of a few clients, these print service providers focus on a limited set of fabrics, but that allows them to cater to the more specific needs of a few key clients.


Separate Devices for Different Ink Types
When feasible, print service providers should consider having multiple printing devices to cope with the demand for different ink chemistries. Lack of access to financial capital might make that difficult, in which case the print service provider could decide to specialize in certain fabrics based on its customer base and their requirements. Another option may be consolidation with multiple print service providers combining forces to offer a balanced production portfolio. This need for flexibility also imposes a limit on the utilization rates of each printing device that’s owned. This, in turn, has an impact on ink consumption per machine.