Fespa’s recent decision to run a single annual event, brought analogue and digital technologies under one roof, supporting the global Fespa community with a much bigger annual event. Fespa 2017’s scope addressed not only sign and display applications, but others such as textile printing. This article covers the digital textile printing and we will cover more Fespa developments in separate articles.
Global Industry Analysts Inc, a market research company estimates that most digital textile printers, 40.9%, are installed in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and Asia Pacific (39.5%). This is the largest and fastest growing market with a CAGR of 4.4%. Digital printing growth for printed interiors has CAGR of 26.1%, including textiles which will reach 29.8 billion square metres by 2020.
Scott Schinlever, a senior vice president with EFI, predicts industrial textile printing will grow very fast “we’re bullish on the next five years”. EFI is one of the most important developers within the graphics industry: Fiery technology is ubiquitous and EFI anticipated early the value of acquisitions to gain market positions. For textiles, that savvy led it in 2015 to aquire Reggiani, a leading developer of industrial textile systems.
EFI Reggiani has provided 60% of the direct to garment systems installed worlwide and estimates that the apparel market charges a 500% premium for finished goods. EFI Reggiani also claims 30% of the interiors market where markups are 25-50%. New at Fespa was the Reggiani Renoir Flexy, positioned according to Schinlever at the “lower end of the high end market, if you will”. This roll-to-roll beast has eight printheads and supports standard fashion and textile widths, printing a 1.8m width at 2400 dpi at 400m2 per hour. The Flexy is a new generation machine, painted green to signify greener processing (yes, that’s what they said) for entry level industrial production. This is a compact printer requiring only 6m of space to provide sampling at the same quality level as higher end Reggianis. A new ink recovery system recovers 95% of ink, so there is much less waste and a reduced cost of ownership. The new inks are water-based but still need special disposal.