We have been covering textile printers for more than a decade, and have visited many textile factories around the world. Textile printing is one of the most sought out technologies at the moment, every single trade show even if it is not textile focused, exhibits textile printers.
Today, most major wide-format printer manufacturers have a textile printer of their own, whether they manufacture it or a re-branded model manufactured by another company.
Three years ago, there was a TREND on which major brands bought textile printer established companies so they could manufacture their own wide-format textile printers.
Some brands have attempted to manufacture their own printers, others have re-branded printers from other companies, but have been unsuccessful. These companies trying to enter the market have many years of experience in manufacturing other kinds of large-format printers (UV-curing or solvent); it is not enough to manufacture a fully functional digital textile printer.
When the textile printing TREND started you saw more direct-to-fabric printers, especially for printing flags (disperse dye inks onto polyester fabrics) at trade shows allover the world. Now, this has changed and we have seen that transfer paper printers are more commonly exhibited at trade shows in comparison to direct-to-fabric printers.
At the beginning of the textile printing TREND, naturally the textile printers showcased at expos, were simpler, now we can see more sophisticated and even industrial-type textile printers at digital signage expos around the world. Of course at textile-oriented expos, only a small portion of the printers are entry-level if they have any at all.
Also according to FESPA 2018 Print Census here is some data on digital textile printing:
- 56 % of fabric print businesses have invested in digital wide format technology. A further 19% plan to do so in the next 2 years
- More than 80% of textile printers are active in sports apparel & garment fabric
- Faster production speeds drive investment for of textile print businesses
- 9% of graphics producers are looking for textile printing capability when they invest.
The textile market is now driven by customization and the need to obtain the final textile products fast; this creates the need to print textiles at a fast speed. So digital is becoming a good option to do this and to produce small batches and samples of the finished product.
A couple of years ago, the 3.2-meter printer was the widest textile printer you could find, but in 2017 we saw the first 5-meter wide textile printer, and in 2018 we saw many more textile printers of this width. The TREND for wider textile printers is growing and many companies have started to manufacture printers this wide, specially now that it is easier to find digital textile fabrics, transfer and protective paper 5-meters wide. Since media and substrate manufacturers for textile have had to provide 5-meter solutions to keep up with this TREND.
According to WTiN (World Textile Information Network) the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of this global industry is projected to be 20% by volume through the period 2017-2021.
So we can safely say digital wide-format textile printing TREND is here to stay and will continue to grow aver the next years.