drupa to stage first show dedicated to digital textile printing

drupa 2020: hall 4

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drupa Touchpoint textile
drupa Touchpoint textile

Touchpoint textile, a new special show for digital textile printing applications, is premiering at drupa 2020 in hall 4. With the textile industry spawning technologies for numerous industries, touchpoint textile connects these various sectors, offering them a platform for cross-industry collaboration, new projects, as well as product and manufacturing ideas that will be demonstrated on-site in a microfactory.

As the world’s leading trade fair for printing technologies, drupa is providing this forum to reflect the rising significance of digital textile printing and to underline its importance as a driver of innovation and growth in new fields of business for the printing industry. The special show is an indicator of how drupa is gaining ground in new markets, which apart from textile printing include packaging, large format printing, industrial and functional printing. All of these segments are going through the same transformation processes, offering tremendous potential for growth.

Support from leading industry experts

Touchpoint textile is backed by two main partners, the German Institutes for Textile and Fibre Research (DITF) as Europe’s largest textile research centre, and the non-profit European Specialist Printing Manufacturers Association (ESMA).

Together with cross-industry partners, DITF is setting up a Digital Textile Micro Factory at drupa, a fully networked, integrated production chain from customer specifications and design to fabric finishing. Demonstrating new possibilities for digitalisation and direct customer interaction, such as 3D garment simulations with direct data transfer to virtual and augmented reality applications, the microfactory shows how digital textile printing, cutting and colour management can be integrated in a fully connected production environment. A variety of products, such as flags, t-shirts and bags, will be fabricated ‘hot off the press’ each day. Networked production chains of this kind, fuelled by a combination of agility, creativity, flexibility and productivity, empower the textile industry to respond ever more promptly and specifically to customer demands and trends, even in small quantities.

Partners and sponsors of the Digital Textile Micro Factory are, Assyst (3D clothing simulation, digital twins), Vuframe (VR/AR), Mitwill (design network), Ergosoft and Caddon (RIP and colour management), HP and Multiplot (large format textile printing), Zünd (digital cutting), Juki (production and workflow) as well as Dommer, berger textiles and Kaspar (sponsors). Another important contributor to overall concept development is Albstadt-Sigmaringen University, which is simultaneously integrating relevant subjects in its curriculum in order to equip tomorrow’s employees for new challenges.

ESMA, in turn, is in charge of the conference programme, inviting speakers from research, development and industry to discuss printing and finishing technologies, workflows, market developments and sustainability. “Textile printing is expanding rapidly thanks to innovations in printing processes. Both, digital and conventional technologies, can contribute to this change,” says Peter Buttiens, general manager of ESMA. “We’re looking forward to demonstrate our expertise and know-how in textile applications to visitors at drupa’s touchpoint textile.”

Rising significance of textile printing

“Continued digitalisation and cross-sectional technologies are accelerating innovation,” comments Sabine Geldermann, director of drupa and Global Head of Print Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf. “drupa’s role is to be a source of momentum for our industry, fostering and shaping change. We’re committed to identifying all relevant issues and integrating them in our forums. The growth potential in textile printing is phenomenal. It’s against this backdrop that we are dedicating a special platform to these applications.” Even beyond the touchpoint textile special show, digital textile printing will be an important focus of many exhibitors. drupa visitors are thus assured of getting a 360-degree view of current developments and trends in this important sector.

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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