Textile is one of the most profitable industries in the world that has come a long way. She sees change as an essential factor of growth. Experts predict that the global digital textile printing market will reach up to $2.7 billion by 2026.
And why not?
Textile printing is the most versatile printing method in recent times. He blends color and design into textile fabrics in a variety of innovative ways. Manufacturers used printing to improve the aesthetics of textiles. A wide variety of fashion apparel, such as custom t-shirts and ready-to-wear clothing, are examples.
The last few decades have seen drastic growth in the textile printing industry. In particular printing machines, manufacturing procedures and post-treatments of printed fabrics. The requirements for high production rates with reduced procedural complexity were in focus.
The textile printing industry is undergoing continuous transformation. Print runs are getting smaller and the demand for customization is growing.
The evolution of textile printing technologies
We will first look at the history of the textile printing industry. The term ‘printing’ came to the industry in the 18th century. It conveyed the act of dyeing on the substrate using patterns and predefined patterns. They first used wooden blocks for textile printing.
Later, engraved metal roller printers were produced in print runs for longer runs. Also, open mesh silk gauze screens were used for shorter runs. It was the beginning of the 20th century. Most print shops depended on engraved roll printers. The 1930s era saw the use of synthetic pigment systems.
In the 1950s, a company called Bayer and Hoechst developed wet-on-wet printing chemistry. At that time, Europe and the United States practiced flat screen printing. Then came automated treadmills. These belts came with a print screen that lifts and moves the squeegee to print.
We now discuss major technological advancements in the textile printing industry that have brought fresh air into clothing.
Rotary screen printing technology
By the early 1960s, they were making fabrics printed on roller-printing machines for longer-run, lower-priced products. Flatbed screen printing machines were ideal for shorter distances. Shorter runs produced high-priced exclusive designs.
Engineers spent a lot of research effort to develop rotary screen printing machine. In 1963 Stork launched its first model, “RD I” at ITMA.
It turned out to be a great revolution in the textile printing industry. Because it reduced the costs of longer runs. Commercial launches of major companies subsequently took place because of this.
It took years for rotary screen printing technologies to evolve. The first two decades of the 21st century were glorious years for the rotary printing system in Asia.
Digital printing technology
The 21st century began with the commercial launches of digital printing machines, paving the way for cheaper products custom t shirts. So now let’s understand how digital printing works?
The printheads deposit ink droplets on the textile according to a predetermined pattern from the digital file. It is a form of non-contact printing technology. There is no need to produce screens, unlike conventional printing methods.
This evolution continues to upgrade with new OEM spear. Launches offer superior print qualities and speeds. Printer manufacturers offer complete packages, including inks and printheads.
Lario by MS 2012 launched high speed digital printing single pass machine. This was another paradigm shift in the printing industry. This technology works by moving the fabric while the print bars are static. The machine continued to be improved by various OEMs. EFI Reggiani’s latest entry of 2018 – with the Bolt model boasting.
This was next level technology with high production rates and excellent workmanship. It required less maintenance. Additionally, it offered longer life than the top printhead. Hybrid printers – inkjet and flat panel too – are part of the digital advancements.
To note: Screen printing is still the most popular custom garment. While digital printing is fast and becoming more and more popular. For more information, read screen printing vs digital printing.
Difference Between Traditional and Digital Textile Printing
Traditional textile printing
Traditional textile printing can no longer meet changing customer needs. They continue to face challenges. Challenges include:
- Higher tendencies to error
- Supervision required
- More manpower
- More time
- Strong dependence on weather conditions
Digital textile printing (e.g. custom T-shirts)
Now, with digital printing, textile manufacturers can stay competitive and relevant. The versatility of digital textile printing is improving and the opportunities are endless. It revolutionized high fashion clothing, custom t-shirts, ready-to-wear, sportswear, etc.
Advantages of traditional digital textile printing
Digital textile printing has many advantages over conventional printing. Some of them are:
- Digital textile printers can coexist with traditional printers. Thus, these machines allow a widening of the product offerings. This results in improved products and increases consumer demand.
- Digital printing remains profitable. It uses less electricity and water. The total cost of ownership to fulfill short-term orders is low. Moreover, the waste of resources is minimal as it prints the exact volume required.
- Digital textile printing does not need screen printing plates. They can be expensive to produce. It allows the execution of short-term orders. It also offers the possibility of printing on demand.
- With digital textile printing, there are no limits to design creativity. Designers create intricate designs on demand. Believe it or not, now it’s easy to turn thought into reality!
Some other advantages of digital printing technologies are:
Increased efficiency in terms of cost and time
The advent of new technologies is the result of the industrial revolution. Manufacturers have created new machines to complete tasks in faster time and with less labor. Thus, digital technology has made it possible to increase production and time efficiency.
Quality and reliability
Designers use powerful printers to create quality fashion designs customers can rely on. Whether it’s a personalized t-shirt or one of the home accessories. The digital sublimation and direct garment trends have accelerated various necessary processes. Technology has made design and print modifications as easy as the click of a mouse.
The massive advancement of textile machinery has reduced the need to hire skilled labor. Modern computerized methods use advanced processes to achieve the desired results. These methods are much faster than traditional methods.
New inventions in the textile printing industry have also changed the lives of workers. This became possible thanks to the marvelous invention that transformed the textile industry.
The future of digital textile printing
The future looks bright for digital textile printing. It seems to be growing because manufacturers are offering their customers high productivity solutions.
Manufacturers make considerable investments in the clothing and textile industry. Interest is growing due to its added value in improving the lifestyle of consumers.
Improving quality, reducing costs and increasing profitability paves the way for a better and brighter future, where the sky will be the limit!
Major technological advances in the ever-evolving textile printing industry are an inevitable change. These advancements save time and money in the most effective way for management and labor. Textile printing is now becoming simpler, more profitable and more popular.
After all, it’s always about the end product when it comes to the textile industry!