Textiles, packaging and wide format inks pave way for EFI

Fast fashion has turned what used to be four seasons into 10 and with less than five per cent of the world having converted to digital technology, it is no surprise tech giant Electronics for Imaging (EFI) puts this at the top of its growth list going forward.

Ditto for corrugated packaging and likewise for EFI’s proprietary ink technology which has opened the door to an array of new applications in wide format printing enabling owners of EFI technology to go beyond traditional banner production.

EFI chief revenue officer Frank Mallozzi recently and spoke to ProPrint about the company’s focus after private equity firm, Siris Capital Group, took over in April 2019 and industry stalwart Jeff Jacobson stepped into the chief executive officer role bringing with him 30 years of top-level industry experience.

Mallozzi has held senior global roles in the industry for two decades and neatly puts textile printing as a key area for growth thanks to skyrocketing demand for on demand fashion combined with marginal take up in digital technology.

“In terms of digital conversion, textiles are still below five per cent so that represents a huge opportunity in that space alone,” Mallozzi said.

“Honestly where the market is going is with fast fashion. There are a number of brands out there that don’t look at three or four seasons they look at 10 seasons so time to shelf is 45 days and the only way you can do that is with digital technology. So who is better equipped to go out and serve those changes than EFI?”

Mallozzi says traditional textile printing can now be completely handled by digital technology with EFI’s inkjet devices using reactive inks to sublimate onto a variety of fabrics and synthetics as well as other substrates like wood, leather and plastic.

The other massive area for EFI is corrugated packaging printing and with the growing rise of using the packaging box to promote a product this will only increase.

“Corrugated packaging is the next market that is really starting to evolve and grow digitally with digital technology. If you look at the corrugated world there is a lot of ‘brown space’ that could be captured with incredible messaging,” he said.

“We are starting to see a trend there and how products are packed on the shelf and this represents great opportunities for us.”

And then there is the inks that EFI has developed, including crucially for the packaging space a white ink that can print photographic quality imagery on brown cardboard.

“The inks are able to print on a number of different substrates like leather for shoe manufacture or on plastics for three-dimensional signage so it’s all about the diversification of applications.”

An example of this work is the quality that can be produced on EFI’s Nozomi C180000 digital packaging printing press, which has now gained Fogra accreditation with one up and running in Melbourne at Orora Speciality Packaging.

Often technology companies like EFI leverage their intellectual property prowess to merge into other tech spaces but this is not something that Mallozzi sees as being on the horizon.

“We do sometimes look at going down that path but honestly there is so much opportunity in print and packaging. We try to go deep in every segment we enter. We like ecosystems so we would rather look at going deep into a particular segment and coming out with the core competencies we have,” Mallozzi said.

“I don’t want to rule it out though because we are a technology company with tremendous reach but we really do like the spaces we are working in right now.”
So for now, EFI will continue on the path it has long been on with new products ready to be unveiled at the world’s most significant printing and packaging trade show, drupa2020 to be held in Messe Düsseldorf in June 2020.

“We will have some new releases and we are very excited. There’s a number of predictions about how best we can serve the market. Specialisation is going to be key with applications,” he said.

“Industry 4.0 is a big push with connectability of devices with business tools like our MIS and workflow. Automation is very big in terms of getting to the finished product.
“Sustainability and brand protection are also important. All of these really do play into what the digital technology is really all about.”

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