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Textile printing takes off in India

Textile printing is a $7.5 billion market, and projected to grow more than 34 per cent worldwide. As per World Textile Information Network, digital textile printing is expected to grow at 25 per cent. The oncoming Gartex exhibition to be held from August 27 to 29 at Pragati Maidan in Delhi, is expected to throw up trends and new technologies. In fact, more and more such shows from Fespa to Media Expo to Gartex are showcasing the strength of digital print with textiles. The reason: size plus growth. As per Fespa's survey textile print growth in graphics, garment, decor and industrial markets is the big shift in the future.

However, after a decade of advances in digital printing technologies for textiles, just one per cent of India's printed textiles are produced digitally. Most digital printing on textiles is done today mainly on polyester fabrics using dye sublimation. A total of 384 million sq. mt of fabric are being printed digitally via dye sublimation. In the first quarter of 2016, this grew by 18.4 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year. This is set to rise to 892 million sq. mt. in 2021.

Textile print growth in graphics, garments, decor and industrial markets is the big shift in the future. Initially inkjet was used for prototyping and one-offs as the time and cost of setting up screens made inkjet a better value. With the advent of customization and more efficient production equipment, digital printing is becoming mainstream.

In India, dye sublimation digital prints have been growing since 2011. It is easy to print digitally with low cost sublimation on polyester, but cotton and blends are also growing fast with reactive printing. The market for reactive inks has grown into high volumes but with low margins.