Gurugram-based job worker buys 4 Durst textile printers

Durst’s digital textile printing solutions for India


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.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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