Mexar’s Emphasis On Pigment-Based Digital Textile Inks Pays Off

In recent years, pigment-based inks have made major inroads in the digital textile field. It wasn’t always the case though; dye-based inks were the more popular choice even just a few years back.

From its beginnings in 2008, Mexar Ltd saw an opportunity for pigmented inks, and jumped into the niche. It’s a decision that has paid off.

“At the time, we noticed that there was gap in the inkjet market for a company to concentrate on the development of water-based pigment inks for textile printing applications,” said Dr. Andy Hancock, Mexar’s managing director. “All the other large inkjet companies in the textile arena were focused on dye-based inks, so as a small company we had to carve a niche, and pigment-based inks was the natural choice.”

With his PhD in inkjet formulations, Dr. Hancock’s background is inkjet chemistry, so he took that technical knowledge to focus solely on water-based ink formulations with pigments and binders to try and develop the textile inkjet market.

“At the time, direct-to-garment (DTG) printing was a new technology and the idea of roll-to-roll textile inkjet printing was talked about a lot, but the technology (both ink and printheads) was not ready,” added Dr. Hancock. “We knew that pigment textile inks were going to play a significant role in textile printing technology at some point – however we underestimated how long that would take!”

Today, Mexar’s primary focus is the textile decoration market.

“We have sublimation inks and pigment inks for numerous different key printhead technologies as well as direct-to-garment (DTG) and direct-to-film (DTF) inks,” Dr. Hancock reported. “The DTF market has surprised us all at how quickly it has been adopted by the garment decoration market. The screen print community has really bought into the concept, and this is growing at an enormous rate.”

Mexar’s ability to react quickly to the market differentiates itself from its competitors.

“At Mexar we work in a slightly different way to most other ink companies,” said Dr. Hancock. “As a small development company, we can react extremely quickly to market conditions. The DTF offering from Mexar proved this as we were one of the first companies outside of China to offer a DTF ink solution. As well as our quick development timelines, we can also offer bespoke formulation work. If companies have a particular requirement from the ink, we can develop and manufacture this solely for them. In the past we have offered licenses out for ink formulations as well.”

Innovation and service are critical to Mexar’s success.

“Innovation and service are key to our longevity,” said Dr. Hancock. “We have been trading now for 15 years and without the constant development of products and striving for more from our formulations, we would not be here.

“Excellent customer service is also imperative,” he added. “As a small company, we cannot rely on large marketing budgets and must rely on word-of-mouth referrals a lot of the time. Without offering high levels of customer service, these referrals would not exist.”

The recent announcement that Mexar was awarded OEKO-TEX ECO PASSPORT certification validates the path the company has taken.

“Achieving the Eco Passport was a big win for us,” Dr. Hancock said. “There is increased pressure on all companies to prove their eco credentials. We strive to create the best formulations by using the least impactful raw materials. For example, we try and source as much of our raw materials as close to home as possible without compromising on quality. We have re-formulated a lot of our inks over the last couple of years to remove some of the more harmful glycols and always look for responsible sources. For example, all the glycerine we use is from non-palm sourced vegetable stock.

“Our most recent launches and headline products are our DTF inks (CMYK and White) for the garment decoration market and our roll-to-roll pigment inks for textile decoration,” he noted. “Both of these inks are covered by our Eco Passport and we are experiencing strong growth with both product lines.”

Dr. Hancock noted as the pigment-based textile market grows, he is optimistic for the future of Mexar.

“We have a fantastic young team who are constantly working behind the scenes to develop new products, provide support or manufacturing our existing lines,” he said. “The textile printing industry is experiencing a revolution in its shift towards digital printing, and we like to think we have played a part in that development – especially when it comes to the work we have done on pigment-based textile inks. Whilst not a lot of end users will have heard of Mexar, our formulations will have branched out further than most people realise through the partnerships we have had over the years.

“For Mexar, my outlook for the next five years is that our production capacity will need to increase significantly to keep up with the demand,” Dr. Hancock added. “The pigment inkjet textile printing market has only just started to scratch the surface and there is a lot of room for growth.”


Mexar Ltd

Unit 4B

Whitehouse Road Industrial Estate

Whitehouse Road

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE15 6LN, UK

Tel: +44 (0) 191 447 3414

Major Products: Pigment-based digital textile inks.