Apparel industry is at the onset of its digitization journey and a broader transformation is awaited with the integration of it with present technologies in use.
Digital technology is getting traction because of immediate business outcomes achieved with it. These business outcomes cater to the changing business requirements, create transparency in global supply chains and achieve critical mass customization on shorter cycles. It has changed the business model from traditional printing to digital printing. This leads to lower lead time, design flexibility, higher quality and data driven business operations.
Digitization is impacting textile industry and offers significant benefits in terms of introducing new and agile business models for apparel industries.
“Digitization will be the next sourcing country.”
Types Of Digital Textile Printing
Among the two types of digital textile printing techniques – Digital transfer and Direct printing to textile, the latter one is more matured. Direct printing to textile is done by using sublimation inks on polyester-based textiles. Water-based inks can print on natural fibres such as cotton and after printing, prints need to be fixed before using them.
Embracing The Digitization
The textile and apparel industry is one the late adopters in the digitization journey and has a long way to go. Large companies have already started making their mark in providing solutions for apparel industry but small medium enterprises need to gear up digitization and integrate it into their broader technologies.
# More orders for all runs: Digital textile printing can be about shorter runs, long runs and even for micro runs. Web to print owners or printers that are looking to expand in digital textile printing has a huge opportunity in front of them. They have to cater to the changing requirements of textile manufacturers or distributors and thus, they require to cater to long runs as well as even micro runs for producing more orders, cost-effectively and efficiently. There’s a demand for personalized fashion at an individual level but there’s also segment where cost optimization and mass customization is required. The two segments are diverse but an emerging trend to build digital textile printing business.
# See now, Buy now: There’s a gap between the garments showed at the fashion shows and their typical delivery in the market. This time lag can even go beyond 6 months. This gap can be solved using hyper-personalization in terms of providing end-users the right technology to order the garments or textiles as soon as they seen them. The right partners for printers in this segment can be established fashion houses and designers who want to capitalize on this gap and provide customers with the displayed fashion brands. This see now, buy now concept demands a drastic shift in the production timelines, cutting them from short to shorter. Digital textile printing can be a solutions for this shift to cater to this niche opportunity.
# More On-Demand Manufacturing: Web to print and variable data printing are two such technologies that are helping customers in printing mass-market products as customized and on-demand. Textile industry is undergoing tremendous growth with rising demand in the segments of customized home decor, apparel, and packaging. This leads to the challenges of minimizing production waste and cutting down costs. Direct web to fabric portals clubbed with technologies like online ordering and shipping makes it easy for customers and businesses to explore this segments. The future of this opportunity can be seen with the integration of augmented reality technologies can be seen as major breakthrough in textile printing industry.
#Adoption of Green Technology: More and more brands are looking to adopt green manufacturing and technologies for sustainable business models. Digital textile printing provides the same set of standards and processes to reduce water consumption and pollution and reduction in energy expenditure. Some studies suggest that digital printing reduces 60% of water consumption, 55% of energy consumption and 95% reduction in CO2 emissions. These benefits are further complemented by lead-time reduction for printed goods by 80%, waste reduction by 85% and reduction in chemical usage by 90%. Printers harping on sustainability and adoption of green manufacturing are surely going to fill the niche of digital textile printing that promises green and sustainable printed products.
The Future Of Digital Printing For Textiles
The future of digital printing for textiles look bright and will continue to see strong growth with an increase rate of 17.5% CAGR from 2016 to 2021. According to the same report, in 2016 870 million square meters of fabric worth $1.29 billion were printed on digital equipment. This volume will increase upto 1.95 billion square meters worth $2.66 billion.
According to Digital Textile Printing Market – Global Forecast to 2023, The Digital Textile Printing Market worth 2.31 Billion USD by 2023
This market expansion is catalyzed by the rise in the technical innovation and dynamic demands from end-users. Digital textile printing clubbed with emerging technologies like web to fabric, variable data printing, product design tools, advanced Print MIS will convert textile manufacturing from a hardware driven to software driven industry. Printers who are able to achieve a customer-centric business model with transparent and efficient supply chains will break the silos, shorten production times, lower costs and manage sustainability.
Conclusion – Championing The Sector
More often traditional printers assume that digital textile printing is a replacement of analog production of textiles that excels at traditional printing. It’s not the case always. Digital textile printing is profitable for small medium businesses that serve medium or small business orders (maybe to upto thousands) in shorter production time. It enables them to change print designs without changing the setup costs, reduce in wastage and faster production turn-around with no minimum order sizes.
There are so many business models that are built around digital textile printing and drivers that are boosting the growth of segment. The concerns revolve around the know-how of implementation and execution of business models. Web-enabled printing businesses will champion this sector because of their familiarity with customer-centric applications, digital technologies and cost of integrations and staffing requirements.
Digitization is impacting textile industry and offers significant benefits in terms of introducing new and agile business models for apparel industries. The textile and apparel industry is one the late adopters in the digitization journey and has a long way to go. Large companies have already started making their mark in providing solutions for apparel industry but small medium enterprises need to gear up digitization and integrate it into their broader technologies.