The global digital textile printing industry segment has seen its fair share of ups and downs in the past two pandemic-ridden years. The market was valued at US$ 2 billion (approximately Rs 14,807 crore) in 2020 and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 14.8% in the decade leading to 2030, according to a recent report by Allied Market Research. At this rate of growth, the digital textile print market should reach US $ 7.9 billion (approximately Rs 58,491 crore) at the end of the current decade.
Some of the companies active in the digital textile segment have a significant presence in the Indian textile printing scenario. These include Japanese companies Konica Minolta, Brother International, Ricoh, Mimaki, Mutoh, Kao, and Seiko Epson. Other companies active in the segment and also present in India are DuPont and EFI based in the US, Bobst-Mouvent based in Switzerland, and Colorjet based in India.
The Covid-19 pandemic slows digital textile printing
The global Coronavirus crisis is being blamed for its negative influence on the close-knit digital textile printing market. It attributes the severely impacted revenues in the past couple of years to the trade restrictions during the Covid-19 lockdown periods. These disrupted the textile supply chain which led to spill-overs on pit-stops en route to the final destination.
Indian Printer & Publisher spoke with Sheel Sharma, head of the Textile Division, Negi Sign Systems & Supplies at the Gartex Texprocess held from 3 – 5 December 2021 at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan. On the destabilization of the industry due to the Covid-19 crisis, Sharma says, “In the past two years, the Coronavirus has created severe problems on the marketing and sales side in the textile printing segment. Now the market is growing and we have seen good growth in the last six months. We are exhibiting our high-speed printers at Gartex as the productivity is increasing which is, in turn, increasing the demand for high production printers. We are hopeful that the upcoming months will see some growth and the textile printing industry will experience a boom.”
Ricoh Gen5 printheads for versatile textile configurations
Negi offers wide format printing solutions for the indoor as well as outdoor signage and graphics industry as well as the textile printing segment. Established in 1995, the Mumbai-headquartered firm has eight regional offices across the country including New Delhi, Jaipur, and the Ludhiana textile hub.
Negi exhibited the Ricoh Gen5 printheads at Gartex Texprocess 2021. “We have developed our own machine for the base – the NegiJet TX R – 1800, in which we have 8 head, 12 head, and 16 head models. We are showcasing the Ricoh 8 head Gen5 printer which will provide high speeds of around 70 square meters an hour in quality mode. Apart from this, we have brought the Brother GTX-422 direct to garment (DTG) T-shirt printer. We are getting a good response for the T-shirt printing machine by the Japanese company Brother.”
“Last year, we restarted our innovation process for developing the NegiJet TX R – 1800. We experienced many delays in the development of this printer. We could have brought it out two years ago, but the development process was hampered by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and we were only able to bring it out just six months back,” he adds.
We are constantly hearing depressing news every day from overseas, such as the European markets closing due to the rising cases of the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus. The third wave of the Covid-19 has hit India with 1,79,723 cases reported as of 10 January 2022. “According to some recent news updates, if the Indian markets are closed again due to the Covid-19 crisis that is another thing, otherwise we are expecting increased sales in the upcoming months,” says Sharma on the possibility of another Covid-19 induced lockdown in the country.
“We have plans to develop a printer for the Kyocera print heads. These days margins are comparatively less for textile printing than earlier, and all the clients are focused on the volume side of the operations. So, we are planning to develop printers that can maximize product volumes.”
Upcoming advancements in textile printing
The industry will see a rise in fortunes in the next few years due to rapid changes in international and regional fashion landscape and trends, increased disposable incomes, and the application of textile printed solutions in numerous sectors such as interior décor and design, automobiles, and vehicular sheathing. However, the industry is not immune to price increases with respect to inks and textile raw materials.
Moreover, the perilous consequences of textile printing inks on newborns, toddlers, and the aged are not entirely unknown. There are also innovations in textile printing such as the amalgamation of 3D print to create vivid textures, stunning silhouettes, and alluring hues. The industry is also expected to benefit from a major shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly printing solutions in the foreseeable future.