Textiles is an unorganized sector according to Vivek Singh, head – India Operation, Sales, Durst. Three major cities in India, Ahmedabad, Surat, and Tirupur are the leaders in the textile processing industry that operates largely on a cash-based payment basis. “Till about 2010, there were plotter printers in India that were used to print on textiles using water-based inks and from 2011, textile mills started investing in digital textile printers. This was when the technology started coming to India. With time, the market evolved and there was a need to increase productivity in order to meet much bigger demand and improve viability. By 2016, the market was mature enough to induct a 200 square meter an hour digital textile printer.
“This compared to the scenario back in 2010, when the plotter printers were printing 25 linear square meters an hour at best was a huge boost for digital textile printing technology in India. The first textile printer introduced by Durst was back in 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. In a span of 8 years, we evolved and have recently introduced a textile printer that can print 1,400 square meters an hour. With our latest range of printers, we plan to target textile producers, who have production close to 3,00,000 meters a month,” says Singh.
Increasing emphasis on quality and speed
For its printheads, Durst usually collaborates with Ricoh or Xaar. The printheads are designed in collaboration and active consultation with Durst to ensure that they are best suited for Durst printers without compromizing the quality or the printing speed. “The quality that other printers deliver in two or maybe four passes, Durst does in a single pass. The entire stretch of 1,400 square meters is printed in a single pass, unlike other printers that print in two or four passes. With increasing volume, printers are looking for good quality, high-performance machines. Products offered on eCommerce platforms and at various branded outlets are all digitally printed,” Singh adds.
The change in the delivery cycle that used to be a 90-day time period has now shrunk to a 15-day delivery period. This is increasing the demand for high-speed digital textile printers. Various government norms that restrict pollution caused during the textile production right from yarn to the printed product have also helped digital grow. Recently, Durst realized a project worth Rs. 50 crores as it sold 4 printers to a Gurugram-based textile job worker.
Growth of digital textile printing in India
“Digital textile printing is growing exponentially in India. Digital is a future-oriented technology. The processing of textiles requires a huge amount of water and labor. The after-effect of the entire process is widespread pollution. With the rising labor costs, one has to adopt digital technology. There is also a rise in waterless printing technologies. After the processing of textiles, millions of gallons of water is wasted on steaming and washing that goes down as wastewater, unfit for consumption even after many years and contaminates freshwater if mixed with it,” explains Singh.
Durst uses pigment-based inks for printing. This reduces the wastage of millions of gallons of water by using a pigment that is an insoluble ink carrier instead of a dye that is a soluble ink carrier to provide coloration. These inks contain resin binders that allow the pigment particles to adhere to the fabric and allow the ink to be used for a range of fabric types.
Durst in India
In the previous century, Durst was well-known in India as the manufacturer and supplier of high-quality optical enlargers to the graphic arts industry. After the company’s digital transformation, the first Durst wideformat printer was sold in India in 2005. Metro Multimedia Technology (MMT), a Mumbai-based wideformat printer installed the first Durst Rho UV flatbed digital printing system at its plant in Lower Parel. The wideformat hybrid printer was installed to facilitate high volume rigid and flexible media printing. The company further installed two more Durst printers, a Rho 800, rigid roll-to-roll printer and a Rho 320 R roll-to-roll printer.
Subsequently, MMT was appointed as the official supplier of Durst printers in India. Though the Durst printers were pricey, MMT had huge volumes to supply with ITC being one of its biggest customers and hence purchased them. MMT has so far purchased 8 printers from Durst over the years and is soon going to install an ultra-wide 5-meter long printer from Durst.
In 2013, Durst appointed its own team in India to look after its marketing and sales services in the country. Known for output quality and service, every Durst engineer stationed in India receives rigorous training in Italy.
Durst is based on the Italy Austria border that employs a largely German workforce. Typically, the workforce at its headquarters in Italy holds two passports, one German and one Italian. In 2014, Durst started manufacturing inks for printing on glass – a project that for lack of demand was eventually discontinued in 2016. Durst introduced its range of textile printers in India in 2013.