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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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