Here at LFR we've long grumbed about how slow the UK market has been - certainly when compared to our continental cousins elsewhere in Europe - to jump on to the digital textile printing bandwagon.
So hopefully, when highly regarded industry analyst, Infotrends, start projecting digitally printed textile volumes growing from 600 million square metres in 2013 up to 3 billion square metres in 2018, it's probably a good time to take notice and consider if your finger ought to be stuck firmly into that particular pie.
InfoTrends has announced its 2013-2018 Digital Textile Forecast - a forecast that analyses the textile market to establish application, ink usage, material splits, and trends as seen by technologist, manufacturing, and distribution, and digital printing system user stakeholders.
Digital printed textiles worldwide in 2013 accounted for about 600 Million square metres of printed fabrics that are estimated to grow at 39% GAGR by 2018 to about 3 billion square metres. While the global market will see growth, EMEA will remain strongest in overall print volume and production textile printing during this time frame. InfoTrends has also found that garment is the largest market, but décor is also growing rapidly. Industrial applications are fragmented and require specific technical developments, but are also growing.
Key areas that are developing rapidly are industry capacity in printing on fibres such as cotton using reactive inks, however growth in use of manmade materials such as polyester based fabrics is driving growth in the use of sublimation and direct disperse inks. Pigments inks are emerging but primarily used in Décor application where these inks support simplification of production processes and the durability of pigments.
InfoTrends has also identified several key growth drivers in this market. These include significant improvement to the environmental impact of textile printing due to migration to digital print technology, democratisation of design by allowing short run printing, new business opportunities for small and large volume producers as digital printers are available in a range of capabilities as well as prices, and lastly improvements in operational efficiencies for fabric finishers by reducing tooling, make ready, and enabling just in time manufacturing. Thus reducing waste, inventory and overhead and improving profitability.
Moreover, brand owners and retailers are becoming sensitive to their product impact on the environment, as well as addressing consumer needs for creativity and customisation are looking to digital producers as thought leaders that are fundamentally changing the supply chain and helping them become sustainable and profitable.