Global markets are now experiencing a new age of digital printing. It is nowhere more visible than in Europe and America.

In 2013, the volume of textile printing alone grew to around 27 billion yards per year. Out of this, 250 million yards were digitally printed. This has increased significantly over the last few years, and is expected to continue grow.

No wonder then that the industry is focusing on better techniques, replacing traditional methods. Once digital printing was a forte of a few companies; now it has become a mainstream solution in European and American markets.

So, how did digital printing become a viable option for printing and dyeing industry?

Adoption of better techniques has allowed the industry to meet specific needs of signage and other markets.

European markets, in particular countries like Italy, Spain and Turkey have embraced digital printing to its full potential. They have adopted it to the degree that most of the traditional equipment is sitting idly, playing no role in production.

Where did the change occur, then?

The recent change is both at the equipment and process level.

The only method previously used to increase production volume was to add printing and dyeing processing capacity. While this helped to increase the manufacturing capability, the increase came at a significant cost.

Major disadvantages of this included increased process complexity using a flat network production line which slowed down production. Hence, the overall benefit was minimal.

Instead of going through this traditional path, enterprises in Europe, and to some extent America, have switched from rotary printing to high-speed digital printing. The innovation in specialized, high efficiency digital printing equipment has brought the technology at forefront.

Initial limitations of digital printing

As a relatively new technique, digital printing had two limitations; speed and cost. Significant advances have been made to address both these problems.

Today, digital printing speed has increased owing to the high-speed equipment, now used in most companies.

The upfront cost is certainly higher per piece, compared to rotary screen printing. However, when you factor in other features, such as no need for screen engraving, color kitchen or excessive manpower, the value is justified.

In fact, the industry has ended up saving a huge chunk of production cost by adopting digital printing. The use of digital printing is continuously increasing throughout Europe and America, and is bound to become the leading technique in the years ahead.

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