The Digital Disruption of Textile Printing

by Stefan Kappaun, Segment Manager Textile Printing & EVP Inks and Fluids, Durst Group

The digital textile printing market shows high growth volumes due to the variety of textiles and textile application possibilities. Digital textile printing is considered one of the major growth areas in the whole printing industry because of the broad range of applications as well as the rise of digital business models. In addition, the ever-changing awareness of waste of water, materials and logistics is causing companies to switch from analog to digital production technologies. The associated digital market is experiencing double-digit growth per year. According to different market research institutes, digitally printed textile output is expected to overtake that of, for example, screen-printed textiles within the next three to six years.[1] Aside of Pakistan and China, especially India, Bangladesh, Italy, Turkey, US, Mexico and Brazil will have the highest digital adoption rates. While Asian markets focus mainly on high-volume production and digitally printed premium export products, the Western markets can mostly be described as project-based premium businesses with more local distribution channels and “made in…” marketing campaigns.1,[2]

According to Smithers Pira, the market for digitally printed textiles is expected to grow in terms of print output value to 4.9bn Euro in 2023. This represents a CARG of approx. 13.4% from 2018 to 2023.[3] The highest growth rates will be with high volume machines. As published by Keypoint Intelligence Infotrends, high print volume machines with productivity levels of more than 630 m²/h will grow with rates of up to 33%, reflecting a wider technology adoption in industrial fabric manufacturing and processing sectors.[4] While sublimation inks still dominate digital fabric manufacturing volume-wise, high print volume machines are mainly operated with reactive inks and, increasingly, pigment inks. Fashion and sportswear applications will continue to lead with over 62% of print volume by 2023, while the home textile market shows a print volume growth trajectory of almost 19% within the next three years. Drivers include continuing trends in customization, availability of lower cost pigment inks, shorter run lengths and, in particular, the ongoing requirement for more sustainable production techniques.[5]

Aside from that, moves towards automated and IT driven textile manufacturing and supply chain processes are intensifying. On demand purchasing and web-to-print businesses for textile applications are expected to grow significantly.[6] To be prepared for these future business models, industry innovators and early adopters have already started to change their business models towards the new market environment to strengthen and sustain their competitive advantages.

High-end printing systems such as the Durst Alpha 190 or Durst Alpha 330 are not just designed to fulfill the demands of the textile industry, but also for being the reliable production equipment in digital business models of the textile industry. With the Durst pixel-to-output approach, combining excellent machinery with application and workflow know-how, our customers have all necessary future success factors at hand.

  1. Einstieg in den digitalen Textildruck, CREACT, November 2019
  2. Smithers Pira: The Future of Digital Textile Printing to 2023
  3. Smithers Pira: The Future of Digital Textile Printing to 2023
  4. Keypoint Intelligence/Infotrends: 2018-2023 Digital Textile Printing Topline Trends 
  5. Keypoint Intelligence/Infotrends: 2018-2023 Digital Textile Printing Topline Trends 
  6. Gilboa, R.J./Cresswell, C.: KPI-Infotrend’s Digital Textile Placement Summary Report, Nov. 2019

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