Textile digital print market to double every two years

The nascent textile digital printing industry is projected to double in size every two years, as digital technology makes short runs and personalisation an increasingly profitable enterprise.

An Infotrends study found the global textile industry is valued at a trillion dollars, while the value of digitally printed textile garments, décor items, and industrial products was valued at US$10.3bn in 2012.

The research suggests rapid growth is ahead with sales of digital textile equipment and ink expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39 per cent, which means the market will more than double every two years.

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The burgeoning sector is being driven by new digital printing technology that lowers barriers to entry for small printing companies, and opens up new markets based on shorter runs and greater personalisation.

Textile printing has in the past been done with rotary and flatbed screen printing, which needs individual screens for every colour and pattern used and makes short runs uneconomical.

The proliferation of digital textile printers, at a fraction of the cost and setup time compared to screen or offset, means even one-off personalised pieces are affordable and in fact can be an entire business model.

While the fashion industry is increasingly interested as it shies away from mass production, interior decoration is another market as curtains, blinds, furniture upholstery and carpets can now be customised.

Several digital textile printers have arrived on Australian shores this year and Australian printers looking to diversify into growth markets saw them on display at Visual Impact.

Epson launched textile printers fitted with its new PrecisionCore inkheads, including the SureColor F7100 for medium to high volume fabric and soft signage production.

Roland DG just launched its first ever textile printer with the 64 inch RT-640 dye sublimation transfer printer, available next February and running at 22sqm an hour.

Finally, Australian technology developer Impression Technology is offering dye sublimation printer and software packages for textile printing under its Pigment.com brand starting at $30,000.

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