Why Digital Textile Printing Is on the Rise For Apparel, Decor, and Soft Signage
To help attendees at the “Digital Textile Printing: What, Why and How” workshop understand the different options available in digital textile printing, Ron Gilboa of Keypoint Intelligence gathered a group of experts to discuss opportunities, business models, and technology challenges and innovations.
Digital printing brings a number of advantages to the textile industry, Gilboa said. It enables manufacturers to eliminate the cost of makeready, also simplifying changeover from one job to another. It enables the process to be automated for improved efficiency and less waste.
Supply-chain optimization is an advantage, because textile and apparel manufacturing have historically been convoluted and complex. Tools, such as computer-aided design, improved color previewing, and cloud computing can streamline the design-to-production process.
Digital printing opens the textile industry up to endless creativity.
“Plus, it turns everyone into a designer,” said Gilboa. Even though the global fast-fashion business is a high-volume business worth billions of dollars, you can find creative ways to support budding designers and make fast fashion design and production feasible in your local area.
Mike Wozny of EFI noted that the use of soft signage has risen because of new applications, improved technology, and the desire to replace the use of vinyl graphics.
Dye-sub-printed graphics look good from any angle and can be used for multiple applications. Hotels can instantly change the decor of a room simply by replacing the fabric graphics in SEG frames. Fabric graphics are popular in trade shows because a 5x10' banner can be folded without wrinkling and shipped in a standard flat FedEx box for about $11 versus rolling it up and shipping it in a FedEx tube, which would cost about $28. Plus, the graphics can be washed, dried, and re-used at other trade shows.
Wozny said the lower total cost of manufacturing dye-sub printed signage combined with higher-than-average margins can make it worthwhile to explore the options for both dye-sub transfer and direct-to-fabric processes.
“Digital fabric is dynamic market with many opportunities for growth in multiple segments,” Gilboa said. “Selecting suppliers that can help you implement your strategy, understand your business, and support your operation is critical.”