More diversity and creativity in the textile business -- drupa - May 28 to June 7, 2024 - Messe Düsseldorf

More diversity and creativity in the textile business - SMEs conquer the textile market through digital printing

Digital printing opens the way for small and medium-sized businesses to enter the textile industry. Gone are the days when you had to buy fabrics in a high minimum quantity to enter the market. With digital printing, quarter-metre goods are already available for purchase. The trend has been towards "print-on-demand" for some time. With this process, overproduction is even prevented entirely.

Digital printing and high-speed production

Small designers who wanted to make their clothes available in limited editions had to be affordable a few years ago. Digital printing makes this individual taste affordable for a wide mass. Today, these brand owners simply have their fabric printed, and only when they have sold a piece from their collection. The finished product is already with the end consumer within a few working days - usually 2 -3.

The printing industry makes it possible with its innovations

Besides high-performance machines, inks and application technology play a key role. For a few years now, druckprozess GmbH & Co. KG and STFI's "Textil vernetzt" have been researching pigment inks for textile printing. Pigment inks are significantly better in their results than conventional ink processes. The water-based inks have improved in contrast and depth of field in recent years and are in no way inferior to surface-treated colour processes. On the contrary: in pigment printing, the entire process chain is shortened. Significantly less CO2 is emitted and less water is polluted than with the known processes.

Knowing that 20% of the world's water pollution is caused by the textile industry, pigment printing is a milestone for the sustainability of the industry.

Slowing down the textile industry through faster processes - a contradiction?

A big reproach that the textile industry has had to put up with for a few years now is its fast pace. Collections are brought onto the market en masse. If the end consumer does not accept them, they are not recycled but end up as residual waste and the new collection floods the market. The overproduction of textiles has continued to increase.

Digital printing of textiles makes it possible to produce much smaller quantities at similar prices. This means that new collections can be tested in advance in small quantities. Overproduction is thus avoided.

Digital printing and digitisation solve pinholes

Until now, the eye of the needle in the industry has not been the printing, but the processing of the fabrics. Digitalisation is already simplifying cutting and sewing processes, so the industry is picking up speed here too.

Innovative inkjet processes are leading to leaner and more sustainable production processes. Supply chains are getting shorter and so small and new designs have a chance to play a role in the market today.

Just-in-time productions through digital possibilities

Just-in-time became possible through the automation of processes. Where previously the effort was not worth it, digital systems take over so that these orders are no longer rejected. Small batches thus become possible without much risk.

These new processes also support sustainability. While overproduction and waste are avoided, collections can be produced in a much more targeted and varied way.

Die Digitalisierung eröffnet Möglichkeiten

drupa 2024 also deals with the new possibilities in textile printing and the textile industry. With touchpoint textile we have created a special forum that deals with a huge market segment and networks market participants with each other.