Negi shows Ricoh Gen5 printheads for textiles at Gartex

Global textile printing industry to focus on new innovations

Sheel Sharma, head of the Textile Division, Negi Sign Systems (seventh from Left) & Supplies with the team at Gartex Texprocess 2021. Photo Negi Sign Systems & Supplies

The global digital textile printing industry segment has seen its fair share of ups and downs in the past two pandemic-ridden years. The market was valued at US$ 2 billion (approximately Rs 14,807 crore) in 2020 and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 14.8% in the decade leading to 2030, according to a recent report by Allied Market Research. At this rate of growth, the digital textile print market should reach US $ 7.9 billion (approximately Rs 58,491 crore) at the end of the current decade.

Some of the companies active in the digital textile segment have a significant presence in the Indian textile printing scenario. These include Japanese companies Konica Minolta, Brother International, Ricoh, Mimaki, Mutoh, Kao, and Seiko Epson. Other companies active in the segment and also present in India are DuPont and EFI based in the US, Bobst-Mouvent based in Switzerland, and Colorjet based in India.

The Covid-19 pandemic slows digital textile printing

The global Coronavirus crisis is being blamed for its negative influence on the close-knit digital textile printing market. It attributes the severely impacted revenues in the past couple of years to the trade restrictions during the Covid-19 lockdown periods. These disrupted the textile supply chain which led to spill-overs on pit-stops en route to the final destination.

Indian Printer & Publisher spoke with Sheel Sharma, head of the Textile Division, Negi Sign Systems & Supplies at the Gartex Texprocess held from 3 – 5 December 2021 at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan. On the destabilization of the industry due to the Covid-19 crisis, Sharma says, “In the past two years, the Coronavirus has created severe problems on the marketing and sales side in the textile printing segment. Now the market is growing and we have seen good growth in the last six months. We are exhibiting our high-speed printers at Gartex as the productivity is increasing which is, in turn, increasing the demand for high production printers. We are hopeful that the upcoming months will see some growth and the textile printing industry will experience a boom.”

Ricoh Gen5 printheads for versatile textile configurations

Negi offers wide format printing solutions for the indoor as well as outdoor signage and graphics industry as well as the textile printing segment. Established in 1995, the Mumbai-headquartered firm has eight regional offices across the country including New Delhi, Jaipur, and the Ludhiana textile hub.

Negi exhibited the Ricoh Gen5 printheads at Gartex Texprocess 2021. “We have developed our own machine for the base – the NegiJet TX R – 1800, in which we have 8 head, 12 head, and 16 head models. We are showcasing the Ricoh 8 head Gen5 printer which will provide high speeds of around 70 square meters an hour in quality mode. Apart from this, we have brought the Brother GTX-422 direct to garment (DTG) T-shirt printer. We are getting a good response for the T-shirt printing machine by the Japanese company Brother.”

“Last year, we restarted our innovation process for developing the NegiJet TX R – 1800. We experienced many delays in the development of this printer. We could have brought it out two years ago, but the development process was hampered by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and we were only able to bring it out just six months back,” he adds.

We are constantly hearing depressing news every day from overseas, such as the European markets closing due to the rising cases of the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus. The third wave of the Covid-19 has hit India with 1,79,723 cases reported as of 10 January 2022. “According to some recent news updates, if the Indian markets are closed again due to the Covid-19 crisis that is another thing, otherwise we are expecting increased sales in the upcoming months,” says Sharma on the possibility of another Covid-19 induced lockdown in the country.

“We have plans to develop a printer for the Kyocera print heads. These days margins are comparatively less for textile printing than earlier, and all the clients are focused on the volume side of the operations. So, we are planning to develop printers that can maximize product volumes.”

Upcoming advancements in textile printing

The industry will see a rise in fortunes in the next few years due to rapid changes in international and regional fashion landscape and trends, increased disposable incomes, and the application of textile printed solutions in numerous sectors such as interior décor and design, automobiles, and vehicular sheathing. However, the industry is not immune to price increases with respect to inks and textile raw materials. 

Moreover, the perilous consequences of textile printing inks on newborns, toddlers, and the aged are not entirely unknown. There are also innovations in textile printing such as the amalgamation of 3D print to create vivid textures, stunning silhouettes, and alluring hues. The industry is also expected to benefit from a major shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly printing solutions in the foreseeable future.

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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