Epson to merge its Italian digital textile printing subsidiaries

Robustelli and For.Tex merger by end-2020

The well known Epson-Robustelli Mona Lisa digital textile printer Image Epson via internet
The well known Epson-Robustelli Mona Lisa digital textile printer Image Epson via internet

In beginning August 2020, Epson has announced that its textile subsidiary companies in Italy, Fratelli Robustelli S.r.l. (Robustelli) and For.Tex S.r.l. (For.Tex) will be merged. Robustelli and For.Tex, are located in the Como region of Italy, one of the world’s great textile printing centers. Both companies are core subsidiaries of Epson in the direct-to-fabric (DTF) digital textile printing sector.

Robustelli develops and manufactures digital textile printers while For.Tex is primarily engaged in textile ink sales and support. Robustelli is known particularly for its inkjet Monna Lisa series, which it began developing with Epson in 2003. Epson eventually acquired the family-owned company in 2016.

Epson foresees textile printing as one of the most promising growth areas for its digital inkjet printing solutions business. It expects growth to be fuelled by the overall shift from traditional plate or image carrier based analog printing to direct to substrate digital printing solutions. Epson sees substantial opportunity to leverage its inkjet technology and is thus strengthening its textile printing product lineup and operations.

The merger of Robustelli and For.Tex scheduled for completion by the end of 2020 will integrate their management and operations for Epson to provide need-based solutions for inkjet digital printers, consumables, and services. The global textile printing industry is compelled to accommodate consumer preferences for unique designs with short production runs, provide quick product delivery, and maintain traditional value while reducing its environmental impact. Epson’s inkjet solutions can increase user productivity while shrinking their ecological footprint. Epson has had a textile and fabric digital printing demonstration center in the Mumbai area in India for some time, as it anticipated the demand for digital textile printing in India and the subcontinent.

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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