The Digital Textile Printing Scenario

Future seems bright for textiles

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Vinod Krishnamurthy is the chief executive officer of Fortuna Colours & Prints LLP (FCP). Photo IPP
Vinod Krishnamurthy is the chief executive officer of Fortuna Colours & Prints LLP (FCP). Photo IPP

Vinod Krishnamurthy is the chief executive officer of Fortuna Colours & Prints LLP (FCP), a company that has been in business since two decades in the digital textile printing industry. The company has witnessed the evolution of the textile printing industry from a handful of companies to a booming industry that it is today. Krishnamurthy is the sales partner of Mouvent (a Bobst group company) and has also established a service center to manage the complete Mouvent product portfolio. In a conversation with him, Krishnamurthy shares his views on direct textile printing and the current scenario in the market.

1. What seems to be the current scenario of digital printing industry?

Vinod Krishnamurthy: ITMA was held a few months back and I saw quite a variety of machines being offered there for digital textile printing. However, nobody is providing total solutions for digital printing to work efficiently. While the basic requirements are fulfilled, clients have to fend for auxiliaries. However, there is still a huge misconception that digital printing is similar to a photocopy machine. Digital printing is a tool and sellers and about it. Through our consulting service team, we found that many companies who purchased the digital textile printing machines are struggling to get the desired results while many don’t even know what to expect out of the machines. To our surprise, some of the largest textile processing houses who have auxiliary setups have struggled and consulted us to provide them with the right knowledge. It shows the lack and need for knowledge of digital textile printing.

2. Is print head a concern for many?

VK: The key component of a digital printer is the printhead, which also incurs a substantial cost. The cost of printhead is significant in influencing the life, output produced or cost of sales. If a customer has 24 hours production as compared to a client running 8 hours a day, the economics and viability change. The printhead producers need to work on costs and warranties which may help digital printing. The machine and ink prices today are pretty affordable and are no more a barrier.

3: How can we compare the printing costs of two different setups?

VK: I believe that no two projects can have the same running cost as it depends on the whole setup, fabrics and type of design along with the printer and the cost of inks. Customers need to choose a printer based on their business models.

4: What changes do we expect to see in coming times?

VK: The ink prices have come down drastically and machine prices are also fluctuating because of the increasing competition in the market. I think now is the time for printhead providers to bring down its cost and take more responsibility to provide reliable solutions to OEM. This way the industry would grow faster.

In terms of sustainability, we are working with scientists and developing effluent treatment plant (ETP) solutions. This is a serious step from our side to safeguard the environment.

We also want to remove harmful pigments through the effluent treatment plant in a bid to make water fit for reusing. We are also working on new washing techniques to reduce water consumption and are closely working with some of the leading manufacturers of washing lines to achieve the same.

5: Can you give us some insight on the solutions that you provide?

VK: The inkjet printing industry has evolved and technology will stay. However, in the last four years, our consulting company took several projects across India to handle machines of various suppliers where we revamped software solutions, mechanical issues and other problems. The exercise gave us significant insights at the ground level, which is important for success in the long term. During these years we have worked closely with Mouvent to provide their solutions and we have seen success with Orient Fashion being the first beta project in Asia. Vinit Sethi and Amit Sethi have a deep understanding on how to utilize the technology and the responsibility to set up a vertical was on our shoulders. Mouvent today treats them as a partner and not a customer. We have also collaborated with AEOON Austria and we are restructuring the whole business model for Asia. We will be working as an R&D and application development company for placement printing.