Chennai’s Printrove installs Kornit Storm HD6 DTG printer

Direct to textile print on demand

The Printrove team with the new Kornit Storm HD6 direct to garment printer Photo Arrow Digital
The Printrove team with the new Kornit Storm HD6 direct to garment printer Photo Arrow Digital

Printrove is a leading direct to textile print on demand printer based in Chennai. As a direct to garment fulfillment supplier, it is also the only DTG quick printer tightly integrated with eCommerce platforms such as Shopify and Woocommerce.

Formed by three engineers in 2015, the company works with over 500 merchants to custom-print their products. The entire technology, printing, and support operations are in-house and under one roof. Founders Madhur Chauhan and Pankaj Bokdia experimented with 3D printing (additive manufacturing) before settling into print-on-demand. Akshay and Abishay Dughar joined the founders, and Printrove has quickly grown.

“We are into this business for a while and have smaller DTG printers too. We wanted to scale up with an industrial production printer that is reliable and give our merchants an edge over older and traditional players operating with commercial printers. After some intensive research, we narrowed down on the world leader in DTG and decided on Kornit’s latest Storm HD6 with wet on wet in-line pretreatment printer.

“Before finalizing our Kornit, we tested various production printers in the market to ensure we had the best one. We not only tested print quality but all the parameters such as colorfastness, durability besides others. Unsurprisingly and as expected, the Kornit Storm HD6 had the best results with vibrant colors, and a fantastic white and soft hand feel.”

Just direct to garment print is not enough

The Printrove team adds that with constant design changes and market and world trends, just printing is not enough. It is necessary to get repeat orders, which are only possible if the printed garment remains perfect even after several washes. Kornit’s print quality gave the team this confidence, and the colors were truly vibrant.

After testing the print results, the team wanted to see the printer in action and visited the Arrow Digital demo center in Ahmedabad, which has a Kornit HG6 installed amongst several other printers and technologies installed under one roof. Printrove’s team says, “We tried our most complicated designs and were amazed at the quality of ink coverage, unmatched by any other printer. The Arrow team impressed us with their digital printing knowledge and showed us virtual demos and helped us with actual hands-on trials at the demo center.

Sam Patel, MD & CEO Arrow Digital, adds, “The Kornit Storm HD6 is a robust commercial DTG printer which allows high-definition image quality and improved hand feel, with an enhanced color management experience. The Storm HD6 includes six color channels (CMYK, red, and green) plus white, for a wider color gamut and improved spot color matching with a dedicated RIP. It provides a non-stop production with garment loading while printing.”

The Kornit printers were known to the Indian market with a double-digit install base before Arrow Digital became the distributor about two years ago. Apart from Storm HD6 installed at Printrove in Chennai and another customer, one HD6 is in the Arrow Digital demonstration center.

Built with Spectra Polaris inkjet heads in Israel, it uses ColorGate’s professional RIP software for printing on almost all types of fabrics and garments. It can print finished garments over buttons, zippers, pockets with its special Goodies pallette. Another unique feature of the digital textile printer is it’s in machine chemical pretreatment of textiles. While this spray is offline, it is within the machine itself, and the patented wet on wet technology eliminates separate pretreatment.

Printrove says about its approach to the direct to short-run garment business, “We simplify the print-on-demand field, making it easier for entrepreneurs, brands, artists, and designers to start and run their own brand. From manufacturing, inventory, packaging, and logistics, it is taken care of by Printrove. With this new Storm HD6, we can now expand our application offerings beyond t-shirt printing. As Storm HD6 is a non-contact printing process, we can also print finished garments, over buttons, zippers, pockets, and much more.”

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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