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

In the past few years, inks based on pigments have gained a lot of ground in the field of digital textiles. It wasn’t always the case though; dye-based inks were the more popular choice even just a few years back.

Mexar Ltd began in 2008 and saw a market for pigmented inks. They jumped in. 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. Mexar’s DTF solution proved that we are one of the few companies outside China who offer DTF ink. We can offer custom formulations in addition to our rapid development timelines. If a company has a specific requirement for the ink we can create and manufacture it exclusively 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.”

Mexar’s path has been validated by the recent announcement that it was awarded OEKOTEX ECO PASSPORT accreditation.

“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 use the raw materials that have the least environmental impact to create the best formulations. As an example, we source as many of our raw material as possible locally without compromising the quality. Over the past couple of years, we have reformulated many of our inks to remove the harmful glycols. We also look for sources that are responsible. All of our glycerine, for example, is derived from vegetable stock and not palm oil.

“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 said that as the pigmented textile market continues to grow, he remains optimistic for Mexar’s future.

“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. While not many end users have heard of Mexar’s formulations, they have spread further than people realize through our partnerships 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 0LN, UK

Tel: +44 (0) 191 447 3414

Pigment-based textile inks are the main products.