Digital Printing: Adopting Technological Evolution

The colourful world of textile printing is present process a transformative shift with the emergence of digital printing strategies. As one examines the business’s future, essential developments, functions, and sustainability initiatives come to the forefront, shaping a technology-driven panorama.

Textile printing, as we all know in non-technical phrases, is the strategy of fixing colors to material to make ornamental patterns evenly, utilizing quite a lot of strategies and kinds of machines. The method includes the superficial use of color in a selected sample, design or motif via directed mechanical or guide discharge. In different phrases, it’s the stamping on textile merchandise. Over time, numerous textile printing strategies and strategies have developed (see Desk 1), with every printing method having its personal benefits and limitations. Display screen printing, for instance, is a well-liked method for creating designs with vibrant and long-lasting colors. Digital printing is a more recent method that enables for high-quality printing of photos with exact particulars and vibrant colors, whereas block printing is a extra conventional method that includes carving a design right into a block of wooden, linoleum, or different materials and utilizing it to print the design onto the material.

Digital Textile Printing

The digital printing of textiles and clothes has gained the utmost traction in recent times. The digital textile printing course of sometimes begins from a design made on a pc after which be transferred to sublimation paper, and later to material utilizing warmth. It may also be printed instantly on the material utilizing a textile printer after which steam heated to organise design. On this trendy age of expertise, nearly at all times the material needs to be thickened with a particular chemical which permits it to be washed, after which permits it to cross via the printer. In case of digital printing on the textiles, essentially the most used expertise is inkjet by which the ink is sprayed via the nozzles onto the substrate, which could be additional segmented as:

Steady inkjet (CIJ) – On this, a small portion of the continual move of ink drop is directed onto the material in step with the picture sign, and the stability unprinted droplets are returned for reuse.

Drop-On-Demand (DOD) – On this, the drops of ink are generated provided that the picture sign info calls for. That is additional categorized into thermal, piezo and electrostatic inkjet.

Desk 1 – Varieties of textile printing

Display screen printing

This system requires a display – a body with a positive mesh material stretched nicely over it, for every color to be printed. A sample is within the type of a stencil or is obstructing the display, and the dye is pushed via the mesh material with a device known as a squeegee to evenly unfold the dye on the material under within the areas that haven’t been blocked.

Rotary printing

A kind of display printing, it’s a steady technique of printing by which a perforated cylindrical display applies a colourant created from both pigment or dye. The colourant is compelled from the inside of the cylindrical display and onto the material.

Curler printing

Also called intaglio or machine printing, curler printing is essentially the most economical and quickest printing for massive stamping runs as it may print lots of of metres per minute, however too costly for brief runs of material. Engraved printing rollers are used one for every color, press towards the material and the central cylinder. The printed material passes from the principle cylinder and thru a drying and steaming chamber to repair the color.

Switch printing

In this method, a design printed on a bit of paper is transferred to the material utilizing a easy warmth course of. The dyes used are able to vapourising beneath the warmth therefore have excessive affinity for the fibres of the material. The chemical switch inks are higher suited to artificial materials similar to polyester and polyamide, the place they offer higher color depth.


This system makes use of insoles manufactured from acetate; the sample is lower out and the ink is subsequently utilized with a sponge or brush to the cut-out areas. Every template can be utilized a number of instances. At present, many templates are made with computerised chopping machines for higher precision than hand-cut templates.

Direct printing

This system makes use of a big cylindrical curler that collects the material and the smaller rollers that include the color and are engraved with the design, are put in touch with the material (the variety of rollers corresponds to the variety of colors). The scraper blades scrape extra color from the curler in order that solely the etched components carry the color to the material. The material is supported on a rubber blanket within the printing course of, which offers a strong floor for printing, and a layer of gray material is used in the course of the material and the rubber blanket to soak up extra ink.

Obtain printing

Most obtain printing is completed on darkish backgrounds since patterns are created by eradicating color. Dyed material is printed with discharge pastes, which take away background color from the substrate when uncovered to steam. Colors could be added to the discharge paste to create totally different color discharge areas.

Inkjet printing

Inkjet printing is a non-contact printing method by which dye droplets are propelled onto a substrate and pushed to the specified level. Being a brand new expertise within the textile business, Inkjet has not but been adopted for widespread business use. The most fitted dye sorts for inkjet printing on textiles are fibre, vat, sulphur, and naphthol reactive dyes.

Handmade textile printing

A conventional printing method by which a block constructed of wooden, rubber, sponge, or steel is shaped into an embossed sample that’s dyed and printed or hand-stamped onto material. The stamping could be repeated a number of instances to acquire a sample

Block printing

The oldest technique of printing that also exists whose use is restricted to the ornament of scarves and handkerchiefs. Color is utilized evenly to the wood block with totally different designs & the sample is stamped on the material akin to handmade textile printing


Virtually similar as switch printing however in sublimation the inks permeate and develop into a part of the print media

Discharge printing

Also called extract printing, it’s primarily based on the chemical destruction of the unique dye within the printed space. The discharging brokers used could be oxidising or decreasing brokers, acids, alkalis and numerous salts. For discharge printing, the bottom of the substrate must be dischargeable. It is suggested that dyed discharge material must be pre-padded with 2-3 GPL Resist salt.

Resist printing

Within the resist model of printing model, Prepared-for-Dyeing (RFD) material is first printed with resist paste which prohibits the penetration of the dye into the material. The material is then dyed and subsequently, the resist paste is eliminated & leaving the specified sample.

Digital Printing Market

The worldwide digital textile printing market in 2022 was estimated to be round $3 billion, which is anticipated to develop at a CAGR of over 14 per cent from 2023 to 2030. This progress might be pushed by the success of web-based on-demand enterprise fashions, the urgency of sustainable agenda and the entire financial effectivity of digital textile printing. Worldwide, web-based on-demand companies similar to Printful, Cottonbee, Spoonflower and Merch by Amazon are clocking up enormous progress charges, servicing demand with minimal inventories, speedy deliveries and high-quality merchandise. The expansion in digital printing might be additional triggered by quickly altering style traits and the necessity for producers to shortly undertake these traits to remain related.

The business progress is anticipated to have ripple impact on allied industries similar to digital inks sector, which is anticipated to see round 200 per cent progress in digital ink consumption quantity. Equally, the worldwide digital printing machine market is more likely to double in measurement by 2027, reflecting the basic shift of the textile business away from rotary display printing to digital printing.

Digital textile printing in the present day accounts for lower than 5 per cent of all textiles printed, and therefore there’s a huge alternative forward. Moreover, because the equipment in present mills needs to be changed, internet to print enterprise fashions must develop, and because the capital turns into accessible, the proportion of digital print machines will proceed to develop, so would be the proportion of printed textiles which can be digitally printed. Underneath such situation, present progress charges are more likely to be maintained and by 2035, digital print machines annual gross sales could exceed $1 billion, digital ink annual gross sales beat $6 billion and digital textile printing exceed $35 billion yearly.

Benefit Digital Printing

In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, corporations tried to shorten their stock owing to the transport and provide constraints. In consequence, producers relocated their manufacturing websites from abroad and applied regional manufacturing, giving beginning to a extra environment friendly and fewer wasteful manufacturing fashions which can be additionally appropriate with e-commerce platforms. It’s, due to this fact, broadly believed that digital textile printing is the following step to a extra sustainable manufacturing mannequin of textiles and can develop into the usual for producers, designers and shoppers.

Other than decreasing waste, the agility and adaptability of digital manufacturing and textile printing together can tackle small boutique orders in addition to massive retail orders with the identical tools, interesting to producers. At a decrease price per print and with only one button push, print-on-demand and its quick manufacturing can permit revenue from orders of any amount. Even designers can really feel liberated with practically limitless graphic and color functionality that digital printing gives. The online end result will contain producers effectively assembly manufacturing and transport deadlines, decreasing overstocking, designers adapting to ever-changing style traits by creating new collections, and clients being glad with personalized attire, decor, and reward gadgets that cater to their particular calls for.


The appliance of digitally printed textiles has expanded to varied segments starting from direct-to-garment (DTG) attire to dwelling decor and signage. We see in signal and show markets, the banners, flags and exhibition shows are dominated by digital printing solely. It’s constantly rising in style sector too, as quick style manufacturers adapt to inkjet expertise. Take one other occasion, because the mattress measurement is changing into bigger, the producers can search the chance inside digital textile printing to evolve and enter the massive format DTG customisation markets. Trade specialists predict that the demand for digital textile printed merchandise will develop over the following 10 years’ time, additionally impacting different areas within the course of. The evolution of inkjet textile printing will enhance automation, enhance flexibility and add diversification.

Key Developments

The curiosity in digital printing has grown particularly throughout and after the pandemic, with markets witnessing its elevated utility. Being an vitality and useful resource environment friendly course of, digital printing is relevant to each the style and inside markets. Amidst rising demand, EFI Reggiani launched the TERRA pigment answer – ecoTERRA, at FESPA final 12 months. It’s an all-in-one answer for pigment printing that requires no ancillary tools for pre- and post-treatment. It provides clients aggressive benefits by dramatically chopping vitality and water consumption of the general course of for a extra sustainable direct-to-fabric printing expertise. In easy phrases, it brings the whole printing course of instantly into the printer itself whereas delivering wonderful moist and dry fastness properties, outstanding sharpness intimately and terribly excessive sturdiness and comfortable hand really feel. Within the present vitality disaster situation, the product has drawn consideration of much more conventional textile clients who’re in search of methods to avoid wasting vitality alongside the printing course of. There are a lot of different new developments and thrilling product launches that occurred in 2022 (Desk 2).

Desk 2 – Key launches in 2022

 Product / Know-how

Launched by


Aquinox print head


Print head delivers distinctive reliability, creativity and sustainability for printing aqueous fluids; print velocity potential of over 100 m/min; excessive native decision of 720 dpi; firing frequency of as much as 48 kHz

TS330-1600 dye-sublimation textile printers with neon colors


Massive format sublimation switch inkjet printer, designed and developed from the bottom up, allows excessive manufacturing with excessive picture high quality appropriate for a flagship mannequin; outfitted with new features to enhance secure operation, it pursues work and labour saving for clients

Weaving Dot Know-how


A printing expertise that modifications the order of ink droplet placement relying on printing situations; suppresses surprising incidence of streaks or unevenness of printing attributable to slight variations within the print head or delicate deviations in adjustment to supply each the strong and print high quality

Acuity Extremely Hybrid LED


A part of the Acuity Extremely product household, it gives all the advantages of ease-of-use, ultra-high high quality and a aggressive ROI, mixed with the power to print to each inflexible and versatile substrates; prints at speeds of as much as 218 m2/hr (RT) and delivers a print decision of as much as 1200 x 1200 dpi; engineered for operators, it’s designed with specialist inks to assist the printing of remarkable near-photographic inside graphics and the high-speed printing of banners and PVC signage

-SureColor SC-F6400 4-colour

-SureColor SC-F6400H 6-colour (each 44 inch)


Primarily based on Epson’s Micro TFP PrecisionCore expertise, each dye sublimation merchandise are perfect for textile manufacturing, personalised merchandise and high-end picture replica; SC-F6400 will increase productiveness by 20 per cent in comparison with its predecessor SC-F6300; SC-F6400H offers an prolonged color gamut by providing the usage of CMYK plus a selection of both fluorescent pink and yellow, gentle cyan and light-weight magenta or orange and violet; good for manufacturing of style, homeware, sportswear, comfortable signage and promotional gadgets

-RICOH MH-5422


-RICOH MH5422 Kind A


Industrial-grade inkjet print heads (6th technology expertise) which can be utilized as key elements in digital printing programs; high-precision expertise offers excessive picture high quality and productiveness with wide selection of ink compatibility and improved sturdiness; improved system compatibility by making use of separate cables and high-precision floor alignment options

Worth Jet 1628MH


Hybrid printer that mixes upgraded options and new applied sciences designed to supply vibrant output with smoother gradations and a large color gamut utilizing MUTOH’s VerteLith RIP software program; gives flexibility of printing on roll or inflexible media utilizing MP31 multipurpose inks in as much as 8 colors; a brand new built-in circulation system for white and magenta inks




SPG Prints

Three new machines for textile producers; Rose is a roll-to-roll paper sublimation system with a peak productiveness of as much as 720 m2/h and most decision of 1200 dpi; Jasmine maximises productiveness on the most optimum print decision; Magnolia gives 1200 dpi and Archer expertise

Supply: FESPA

Sustainable Digital Printing Supply

For the textile business, sustainability is among the pertinent necessities in the present day, whereby the printing strategies have additionally developed through the years. The dyes, poisonous chemical substances and vitality historically used within the business has been detrimental to the atmosphere’s well-being. Along with the environmental danger these actions pose, the massive runs that lead to unsold prints additionally emerge as a large waste of cash, time and materials. The traditional printing strategies contain designs to be painstakingly separated and engraved onto cumbersome rotary screens, huge tracts of the manufacturing unit flooring need to be given as much as rotary display storage, color kitchens need to precisely combine litres of orienting inks and rotary screens need to be meticulously washed after printing. That is the place digital textile printing comes instead, utilizing a fraction of the water, a minimal quantity of vitality and a significantly decreased operational footprint. It’s demonstrably an eco-friendly answer to textile printing than conventional display printing. As well as, it cuts out lots of the time and energy-consuming duties that go alongside analogue manufacturing. The digital workflow removes laborious guide course of and progresses easily via all actions producing financial effectivity because it goes.

Thus, digital textile printing gives improved print processes and applied sciences. Along with creating good colour-rich prints, the eco-friendly expertise additionally makes use of recyclable supplies and leaves much less waste. Digital printing finds an elevated utilization as it may print digital-based photos instantly onto numerous media with out utilizing printing plates. The eco-friendliness of digital printing expertise could be seen in dye sublimation which not solely makes use of recycled paper, much less dye than display printing but additionally offers the extra capability to supply small and huge runs for every print. Different advantages embody fast drying instances and decreased wrinkling, which makes it top-of-the-line and eco-friendliest print choices. The digital proofs remove the waste created by bodily samples generated via the printing course of, saving materials and vitality. As digital dye sublimation inks use lower than ten litres of water per metre, the business is estimated to have saved greater than 40 billion litres of water in 2020. Likewise, digital printing makes use of simply 10 per cent of the ink used for display printing. Warmth fixation additionally eliminates further water used for steaming and washing clothes within the post-processing stage. On the energy-saving entrance, the expertise contributes by producing on-demand small and customized job runs. The precise merchandise amount wanted could be created, thereby eliminating waste that usually goes straight to landfills.

Whereas speaking about sustainable applied sciences, one should not neglect the revolution led to by the CAD/CAM (Pc-aided Design/Pc-aided Manufacturing) software program. The software program reduces waste by utilizing sampling, automated print, placement and grading. These strategies lower down on materials waste by figuring out the simplest methods to put patterns, profiting from accessible material actual property.

Means Forward

The digital printing market is rising quick, pushed by growing demand for digital textiles and materials throughout a number of industries. At present, the expertise is being utilized in clothes, commerce, textiles and manufacturing numerous merchandise and packaging. Nonetheless, in in the present day’s digital textile business there are nonetheless challenges like several types of inks are required for several types of materials. Every material kind is printed with particular ink expertise which requires devoted printing equipment as per utility. Subsequently, developments in addressing many such points in digital printing expertise will decide the way forward for textile printing, involving print velocity, drop measurement configuration, color management and matching.