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Digital textile printing to bring a new era for Bangladesh textile industry

Printing on textiles, which are materials made from natural or man-made fibers, has been around since the 3rd Century B.C. People create printed textiles to produce attractive designs on fabric. These designs form artistic arrangements or motifs in a variety of colors and patterns. Dyes or pigments bond with fibers in the fabric and help to protect printed fabrics from fading. The two primary techniques of printing on textile fabrics can be classified as coloring and patterning.

Digital textile printing BD
Figure 1: Colorful textile print.

The former technique consists of the direct application of color to fabric whereas the latter technique involves painting with resist techniques using patterns prior to coloring or dyeing the fabric.

Digital textile printing

Digital textile printing is often referred to as direct-to-garment printing (DTG). It is the method of adding colorful designs to numerous sorts of texture or fabrics by utilizing digital inkjet printing equipment. It is considered to be more costly than conventional or traditional textile dyeing.  Digital textile printing gives the capacity to print detailed outlines in splendid colors. One of the main reasons driving the market is continuous advancement or innovation of new technologies.

digital garment printing industry
Figure 2: The digital garment printing industry is starting to make its stamp within the larger printing industry. Courtesy: Graphic Arts Magazine.

Conventional print creates a huge bunch of effluents which are hazardous for the ecosystem and even for the human being. The technology makes possible to have faster production cycles, to reduce the water consumption. That’s why digital inject all over printing is becoming very popular day by day due to the less environmental impact.

Nowadays, consumers want to change frequently and give them a much greater individual touch. There is scarcely any other technology that combines brilliant colors, wonderful designs, and production on demand with low resource utilization. Currently, 60 percent of digitally printed textiles are produced in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam. Due to the increase in demand, many of the factories in Bangladesh are opening the digital printing section.

digital all over printing clothing market size in value
Figure 3: Projected digital all over printing clothing market size in value (USD in billion).

According to the UK-based market research firm Smithers Pira report on “The Future of Digital Textile Printing to 2021”, the future of digital textile printing to 2021 confirms that this industry segment will continue to see double-digit strong growth across the 2016-2021 period. Its exclusive data shows that a total of 870 million square meters of fabric were printed on digital equipment in 2016 and was worth the US $1.29 billion.

digital all over printing clothing market size volume
Figure 4: Projected digital all over printing clothing market size in volume (Billion square meters of fabric).

This volume is expected to increase a rate of 17.5% CAGR across the next two years to 2021, consuming nearly 1.95 billion square meters in that year and a market value of US $2.66 billion. This rapid and lucrative market expansion is being fueled by a series of factors – including technological innovations and evolving end-user demands – all of which are examined and quantified in full in this report.

Digital textile printing in Bangladesh

The current shoppers are quite fashionable. So the garments manufactures are also making garments keeping fashion in the mind. New technologies are developing through which it is easy to work. Bangladesh is going to value addition to achieve the US$50bn exports target by 2021. Digital printing is attracted by buyers of all ages. Due to having its colorful design, it’s used almost in every program.

Some forward-looking Bangladeshi companies have started making the digital makeover anyway. Square, Liz Group, Habil, Masco Group, Knit Concern, Metro Group, Padma Textiles, and Mondol Group are among the big-name producers and exporters involved in large-scale digital printing.

“Quality and accuracy are the first priority in the printing industry. Once your quality falls down you will be out of business for sure. Furthermore, fast service, understanding whole value chain, RFT, positive mindset about new technology and process adoption etc. are also very important factors that could keep you one step ahead of others,”

Shah Imtiaz, Assistant General Manager & Head of Production, DB Tex Ltd.

When talked with a textile insider regarding digital printing, he said, “Though digital printing is expensive we want to move to value-added products. Demand is increasing of it day by day, now it is time to get a fair price from buyers.”

Engr. Md. Liaquat Ali, General Manager (Printing), Midland Knitwear Ltd, said, “Printing is now a thrust sector in the garment industry of Bangladesh. You’ve got to sustain your business through printing now it is time to value addition.”

He further said, “I see only growth and textile printing will keep growing over the next 30 years. Bangladesh is now the main hub for printing because garments are here. Where else will it go from Bangladesh? The Myanmar government is not interested. African countries couldn’t brand them well.”

Faruque Hassan, a Senior Vice President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said, factories should not mind spending on digital printing to harvest higher margins. Now, we get US$1-US$1.5 for a T-shirt. But digital print will help us fetch US$4-US$5. Even if we spend US$1 on print, we’ll get US$2-$US3 margins.

The international market doesn’t want to take single-design clothing much as manual printing had made it difficult for the manufacturers to bring variety to designs in the past, he added.

Digital all over printing in Bangladesh

all over printing factory BD
Figure 5: Inside of a Bangladeshi all over printing factory.

The cost of digital all over printing machinery is usually ten times higher than rotary or flat beds. The fashion houses of our country (Aarong, Kay Craft, Cats eye, BishwoRang etc.) have emphasized on all over print. The different show is being organized in the capital. But the production cost in digital inkjet printing machinery could be cost-effective is sustainability and environmental issues are considered.

However, the biggest benefit of the digital machine is flexibility, robustness, fast batch/design changing capacity. Though the digital printing cost is more, the color combination can be done as desired. There is no problem to create a screen.

Finally, we want to conclude putting a comment, “Quality and accuracy are the first priority in the printing industry. Once your quality falls down you will be out of business for sure. Furthermore, fast service, understanding whole value chain, RFT, positive mindset about new technology and process adoption etc. are also very important factors that could keep you one step ahead of others,” delivered by Shah Imtiaz, Assistant General Manager & Head of Production, DB Tex Ltd. expressed.

Also Read: Printing should be recognized as independent industry to fetch business opportunities…

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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