Polyester based market is shifting to Sublimation Digital Printing

Polyester based market is shifting to Sublimation Digital Printing

Kornit is the global leader in on-demand sustainable fashion production helping to define the future of fashion tech. Kornit offers a suite of end-to-end workflow solutions, from pixel to parcel, designed to help Brands unleash their creativity. Robert Zoch, Global Content Manager, Kornit Digital, discusses the most recent development in digital printing and how it benefits the environment with Divya Shetty.

How has printing on textiles changed over time—from traditional to digital?

Screen printing has long been a staple of the textile industry, but digital has greatly expanded the scope of how you can decorate fabrics of all kinds. Today, if you can render an image on a computer screen, you can faithfully replicate it on substrates—any colour, any graphic detail, photorealistic, and on both dark or light backgrounds, with a durability withstanding light exposure, rub, and repeat washes.

Pushbutton operation results in a piece that is pretreated, decorated, cured, and packaged (or worn) within minutes, eliminating the time, labour, materials, and operational footprint associated with analogue. This eliminates the need for minimum quantities, and gives fulfillers the agility to produce on demand, at a speed commensurate with the expectations of a web-enabled marketplace.

What steps has the Indian textile industry taken to adapt digital printing?

There is a large number of customers in India using Digital Reactive Printing and Sublimation Printing. All the leading reactive and sublimation printer manufacturers have machines working with customers. In India there are several places which work mainly on Digital Printing machine. They all have started now with Sublimation and Pigment technology too. All polyester based disperse market in screen is shifting to Sublimation Digital Printing.

With digital, you can sell a garment, accessory, home good, or custom fabric after you sell it, because it’s fulfilled in virtually no time; this eliminates wasteful overstock. Digital printing uses pigments, which are eco-friendly and safe for children. You have virtually no water waste. It’s much easier to train users on digital printing, because it’s largely intuitive to a digital-native generation and maintenance operations are relatively simple; finding skilled screen printers is increasingly difficult, and screens inevitably produce considerable waste.

A digital process can be integrated into a digital production workflow, to automate and streamline the entire fulfilment process from online store to shipping logistics, which means a lean and seamless experience for both producer and consumer. Digital printing has a low and consistent cost per print, so it’s profitable in any quantity, and generating samples is quick and painless. It’s easier to capitalise on new opportunities, or adapt to unforeseen market disruptions (as experienced during COVID-19 lockdowns).

How does your business support the digital printing sector?

We develop the most capable, efficient systems for digital textile printing on the planet. Our KornitX Global Fulfilment Network aims to connect designers and brands with Kornit customers on a global scale, to make fulfilment localised and accessible while supporting the sustainability imperative.

Do you have any advice you’d want to offer to manufacturers looking to invest in digital printing?

Consider the long-term labour and operational needs you will encounter, and understand digital is a very different experience from analogue. Know your customer (or intended customer) and have a plan for engaging that customer with digital capabilities.

If you’re currently a screen printer (or commercial printer), have a strategy for using each tool to maximum effectiveness—such as using screens for mass production of simple apparel, and digital for one-offs and short runs. In many cases, you may think of investing in digital as risk mitigation, establishing versatility to protect against unforeseen market dynamics.

What is the latest trend in printing industry?

E-commerce is fundamentally changing the way creators, producers, and consumers engage with each other. It’s not only the growth of online stores, but social media as a driver of demand.

It’s using virtual reality and the Metaverse to model new apparel and applications, empowering everyday people to create their own visions, and presenting an infinite array of design possibilities—while digital means creating only the pieces the consumer ultimately chooses to bring home.

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