Digital printing is currently used in the merest smidge of textile print applications, however, it’s gaining ground, particularly where it helps reduce inventories and waste. Technologies such as the Kornit Vulcan, print in a process that is 100% water free and work on natural, synthetic and blended fibres.
Digital printing is advancing, making it easier with sublimaiton paper and ink to add special characteristics to textiles. Coatings can provide insulating properties to fabric by blocking infrared radiation.
Fabrics can be coated to soften them, to repel insects, fungi and microbes, or to make them fire retardant or protect the wearer from UV light. They can be treated to repel dirt and water or to be conductive to create antenni and they can even be printed with photo voltaic material for energy generation.
Getting the message to big players in the textile industry should be the goal of all manufacturers active in the digital textile printing space. We should learn from experiences in the commercial sector, where it has taken years for digital printing to be recognized as a valid technological contender.
Understanding the benefits of digital printing within the fashion and textile communities is currently low, as it is throughout their supply chains. That must change.