Our editor, Arvind Kumar, in an exclusive interview with Shailesh Wani, MD, Stovec Industries Ltd.
Which are the latest developments in digital textile printing technology?
We see an increasing popularity for pigment and sublimation printing, both driven by sustainability and legislation arguments. In terms of speed of machines we see that today’s solution fulfill the needs so that hot topic of the past is gone. Also the other hot topic of printhead warranty becomes less significant as the latest generations seem to be much more reliable than before.
Tell us about the technology that you have launched recently? Which print head you are using and why?
SPGPrints is an authority in the textile printing, dedicated to bringing colour to the world. As the inventors of rotary screen printing, our expertise is not limited to it only. We continue to expand our global footprint with our latest innovations in digital textile printing segment too. We have everything our customers would need to expand their digital textile printing business for the fashion and the home-furnishing industry. Recently in India ITME’22, we launched the new robust entry level digital printer – DART for our Indian customers. Now we are coming up with its advanced version “Violet” during ITMA’23 taking place in Milan, Italy to serve our customers worldwide. There has also been addition of 3 new digital printers in the portfolio – Rose, Jasmine, and Magnolia, that focused on maximum productivity at optimal print resolution.
Violet provides industrial performance and more sustainable, high-quality digital printing at a profitable cost level. With fast turnarounds and full application support, Violet is the optimal solution for your entry into digital printing. It will enable our customers to print on demand at a top quality of 720 x 1080 dpi, using 8 colours. With an extra row of Konica Minolta 1024i print heads, amounting to 16 print heads, you can print up to 150 square meters per hour in fast mode. For Violet we support both the reactive application as well as a pigment application with our own SPGPrints inks.
Rose is a new perspective in industrial sublimation printing category. It is a roll-to-roll paper sublimation system with a maximum resolution of 1200dpi and printing speed up to 720 m2/hr. Rose uses 8 of the latest PrecisionCore Epson S3200-A1 printheads. With this printer you can offer flexibility, spectacular designs and faster lead times than ever before, with no more risk of overstock or shortages.
Jasmine is a direct to fabric system that enables our customers to extend their offering in digital printing. Jasmine is using the latest version of the Kyocera KJ4B printhead and is available in a 16 print head and a 32 print head version. It is a perfect combination of price and quality and can print SPGPrints reactive as well as SPGPrints pigment inks. Its on-demand production and fast delivery enables customers to meet the increasing demand for sustainability across the supply chain for fashion and home textiles.
Magnolia is the summum of high-performance, high-quality production for printers who wish to develop their digital capabilities further. Magnolia can print geometric designs that no other digital printer can do, uses several printing modes and 48 Fujifilm Dimatix Samba printheads with a native resolution of 1200 dpi and Archer+Pro technology raises the bar to new levels of print quality. With Archer+Pro, the printer has individual nozzle compensation for all 98.304 nozzles in the printer, guaranteeing a perfect smooth blotch and most precise drop positioning needed for the finest geometric designs.
What edge does it have over the others available in the market?
Being in the field of textile printing for the past 75 years and still in dynamic development by anticipating the ever changing market trends in prior, is definitely something we have edge on from other players in the market. We also have an international network of competence centers and a distribution foothold in over 130 countries. While still a distinct leader in rotary printing, we have also become a pioneer and a key player in other interesting areas of the modern printing industry & are proud to be an important player in the market for digital printing as well. At SPGPrints you do not only buy a digital printing box. With our experience from rotary printing, we can provide consultancy on the total workflow from fabric pretreatment up to steaming, washing and finishing.
What are the important factors end-users should consider while making investment in digital printing machine?
There are multiple steps the end users should take when making investment in a digital textile machine. Like creating the right infrastructure (for steaming, washing & finishing or for curing (pigments) or sublimation transfer calander for post-treatment of fabrics. Or maintaining suitable environmental & conditions & finding the right personnel, to begin with. The end users also need to analyse if and how they will sell the added value or justify the higher costs of this method of printing at longer runs (compared to conventional printing). How effectively the end users are able to handle the tighter process conditions that are needed to make full use of the capabilities of digital printing process. SPGPrints have regularly been posting blogs on website for our customers to get detailed insights on topics for both digital & rotary textile printing technologies, their requirements, advantages and opportunities in future.
How has digital textile printing industry grown in last one year in India? (In terms of demand for machinery)
The Textile Printing Market in India is growing in competition as the increasing demand for printed textiles and stable profitability are attracting new vendors in the market. The major players operating in the market are focused on new product launches and establishing partnerships due to the increasing demand for sustainable products. The growing fashion industry, along with such trends, is expected to provide the market with further growth opportunities in India. According to the WTiN market tracker, by the end of 2022 there are 3,000 digital textile printers active in the Traditional installed base (excluding signage applications), a growth of 600 installations over the past year.
What are the new developments in inks? Would you like to share some suggestions on choosing inks?
Based on all know-how and experience from 30 years of ink development, our experts are continuously working on Digital Textile Printing inks with maximal colour efficiency, made with the best available dyes. But that’s not all – sustainability is more important than ever. That’s why we prepare our inks for the future. We have created three different performance levels for our most used inks that you can mix and match to suit your digital textile printing applications: Pasha, Morpho and Alcon series. Our inks are compatible with the major industrial print heads and fabrics. They enable unattended printing without nozzle blockages or print head failures while adhering to the highest standards and legislation on sustainability’. When selecting ink components, we take the substances on the Restricted Substance List (RSL) into account. This way, all guidelines from REACH, Oekotex and ZDHC are being met. The technology we use to make our Digital Printing Inks for Textile more sustainable is called N▸RICH Technology.
Do you think pigment ink is the future of digital textile printing?
Today, digital pigment ink has achieved massive improvements. SPGPrints recently introduced new digital pigment ink set called Pigment Alcon-N. It is the first product in reach towards a more sustainable textile industry. This ink chemistry enables you to reduce water waste and energy consumption. As the workflow is short, Print Service Providers can shorten the turnaround time which satisfies their customers, but also puts a cost saving at the same time. Pigment Alcon-N is meant to be used as part of a Direct-to-Fabric inkjet printing process. It can be used on both natural and synthetic fibers. However, it is the optimum digital print technology for blended fabrics. Customers value SPGPrints Pigment Alcon-N for its reliability. Easily start production from idle mode without hassle like clogged nozzles. It is perfectly suitable for home textile applications thanks to its strong light fastnesses. Depending on the pre-treatment used the applications will greatly expand into fashion industry as well.