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Significant response to Sensient knowhow in India: Simon Daplyn

Oct 01, 2019
Significant response to Sensient knowhow in India: Simon Daplyn

Sensient Imaging Technologies is a business unit of Sensient Technologies Corporation, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of colours, flavours and fragrances. Sensient Imaging Technologies is a leading supplier of inkjet inks for digital textile, industrial digital and sublimation printing.

Sensient Imaging Technologies demonstrated its commitment to a safer and more sustainable future for the textiles industry with its range of innovative digital inkjet technology during ITMA 2019. Sensient highlighted its new water-based sublimation ink ElvaJet® Coral at ITMA, which has been developed to reduce water usage, without compromising on quality or colour. The latest addition to Sensient’s portfolio of sublimation inks, ElvaJet Coral, is a high-performance ink for direct printing onto polyester fabrics commonly used in sport and apparel applications. ElvaJet Coral offers an environmentally low impact solution for textiles by printing directly onto the substrate, removing the waste from transfer paper and residual ink. Tests have shown that the ink can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90 per cent and overall energy use by up to 60 per cent. When it comes to reducing water usage, ElvaJet Coral requires just one litre of water compared to the 50 litres required for direct disperse printing.

Dr Simon Daplyn, Marketing Manager, Sensient Imaging Technologies, spoke to Samuel Joseph, Editor of the ITJ in an exclusive email interview:

What were the latest products introduced by Sensient at ITMA Barcelona and please give some details about the key features of some of the major ones.

As well as showcasing our existing portfolio of digital inkjet technologies at ITMA, we also highlighted our new water-based digital sublimation ink for polyester printing. Using a unique dispersion of sublimation dyes, ElvaJet® Coral offers an environmentally responsible solution for textiles by printing directly onto the substrate. Alongside other key performance characteristics such as excellent precision and consistency, fabrics printed with this ink do not need washing or steaming, lowering the environmental impact even further. We also highlighted the advantages of our best-selling reactive acid and transfer sublimation inks, such as Xennia® Agate. Ideal for printing intricate decorations onto cotton and cellulose fabrics, these inks ensure high quality and reliability across all applications.

In our meetings with partners at the event we found that, although colour strength is undoubtedly still a key requirement, manufacturers and retailers need inks that will deliver the same colour shade batch after batch. This requirement for reliability and uniformity is reflected in our new brand positioning that we launched at the show around ‘colour you can trust’. This proposition not only supports the batch-to-batch consistency of our ink, but also represents the value, performance, innovation and compliance that our digital inkjet technology delivers.

Safe and sustainable inkjet technology, can you throw some light on this development?

The textile manufacturing industry is under pressure to clean up its act and, as a result, it is important to ensure that any new developments align with the environmental goals of the textiles industry. Sensient is committed to developing safe and sustainable technologies, meaning that the products we create are compliant with legislation and environmental, safety and brand standards.

This results in a final product that meets the demands and expectations of the manufacturer, retailer and consumer. Our safe and sustainable approach is focused not only on the final product but also the extended supply chain, the manufacturing processes used, and the way we partner with OEMs and brands to ensure both compliance and excellence.

How has the Indian market developed for Sensient Imaging over the years? Were there any real breakthrough happen? Which are the parts of India where the response has been very good?

The Indian textiles market’s productivity and quality sets the standard for the global industry. We have seen continual growth and investment in digital printing worldwide, and India remains a pioneering region for the sector. For Sensient, the Indian market has shown encouraging growth and we have been fortunate enough to partner with leading OEMs, brands and industrial printers to better understand and deliver on the market’s requirements. The growth in digital printing for both cotton and viscose has been significant, and we have seen high adoption rates of our leading digital reactive ink, Xennia® Amethyst. This growth has been especially strong in Surat, as the area with the most textile printing, but we are seeing increasing take-up across the entire country.

Sensient has mastered the chemistry of digital inkjet innovation. How has the global markets responded to the changes and which are the major markets?

The adoption of digital printing has been strong, but still only represents 5-6 per cent of the entire printed textiles market. Soft signage and display applications, which are typically dominated by dye sublimation transfer printing, have now predominantly switched to digital printing methods. Fashion is another market that has seen significant adoption of digital printing, particularly in fast fashion, which relies on flexible production and short runs and lead times. For these requirements, digital printing offers clear advantages in comparison with traditional printing methods.

Sportswear has the potential to benefit greatly from digital printing. With digital inks, sportswear manufacturers can achieve intricate, vibrant designs on both polyester and polyamide, to improve the sustainable credentials of their products. High quality, functionality and sustainability are also a key when it comes to printing interior fabrics, furnishings and flooring – and, consequently, we are also starting to see the home textiles industry benefit from digital printing processes.

Please give us some information on Sensient’s facilities and R&D set-up? What are the future plans for the next few years?

Sensient Imaging Technologies has three different locations for ink design and development. Our primary location is in Morges, Switzerland, which is the main manufacturing site for our portfolio of digital textile inks. We have a digital competence centre in Morges, where we look closely at every market’s individual needs to better understand jetting and performance requirements for different applications. There is also a regulatory team dedicated to ensuring textile compliance and providing customer support for any legislative needs.

We also have two additional R&D centres in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, and Letchworth in the UK. Both sites are linked closely to Sensient’s global operations and allow a flexible product development process, allowing our customers to benefit from world-leading digital printing technologies that are tailored to their individual needs.

How do you see the growth prospects for digital printing in the future? Will these be more affordable to a wider section of users? What are the other drivers of growth for this printing, according to you?

We anticipate market growth to stabilise, but also expect investment in new digital printing technologies to continue. We predict that higher speed printers will be increasingly adopted across Asia and emerging regions in South America, leading to augmented output in these regions. Furthermore, as smaller producers try to keep up with market demand and supply chain pressures, we’re expecting to see a consolidation of the market through acquisitions – a trend that has been seen more and more in recent years.

Ultimately, we’re confident that digital textile printing will experience longer term growth, with more suppliers focusing on new technologies to enable greater efficiency in production and improved sustainability across the textiles supply chain. Sensient is committed to supporting textile brands and providing manufacturers with the latest digital inkjet technology solutions that drive standards in quality, sustainability and compliance.

The growth in digital printing for both cotton and viscose has been significant, and we have seen high adoption rates of our leading digital reactive ink, Xennia® Amethyst.

We have seen continual growth and investment in digital printing worldwide, and India remains a pioneering region for the sector.