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Taste For Success

Textile Print

Textile print has been touted as a potential expansion market for some time now, but are there still opportunities for growth here? Rob Fletcher finds out more

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A fashionable market

Diversification has been spoken about at great lengths in recent years in terms of how print companies can protect their business moving forward and help ensure a bright, profitable future. Given the events of the past two years, this is now more important than ever as printers seek to return to growth.

Textile print is one of many markets often talked about when it comes to traditional print companies expanding outside of their usual areas and taking on new work. But given the popularity of this sector and the amount of printers that have already made the move, are there still growth opportunities?

Here, we speak with suppliers and print companies involved in this sector and take a closer look at examples of work to help highlight the vast amount of work on offer in textile print.

A natural add-on

Hybrid Services is the exclusive distributor of Mimaki kit in the UK and Ireland, and many of these devices are suited to textile print work. Duncan Jefferies, head of marketing and business development at Hybrid, says opportunities for print providers to expand into printed textiles continue to present themselves.

“Whether through offering an extended product range or breaking into new markets, printing to fabric is a natural add-on to any print provider looking to increase its offering,” Jefferies says.

He adds: “Textile printing is seeing significant growth for several reasons. The personalisation market is booming – with the web-to-digital print sector performing very strongly, as distanced families and friends send customised presents, furnishings and prints. Equally, the demand for bespoke fashion and décor continues to grow, with consumers enjoying the opportunity to style important areas of their lives.

“The retail and leisure sectors all benefit from utilising textile graphics, with lightboxes, window displays and other fabric installations decorating the high street and hospitality environments as consumers have returned.”

Jefferies continues that print companies currently offering a display graphics and signage portfolio will benefit from supplying textile lightboxes, feather flags and workwear – all achievable with a range of print technologies, and potentially with existing hardware. He adds that investing in new print hardware like Mimaki’s latest entry-level dye-sublimation printer, can create opportunities to supply new markets, such as apparel or décor printing.

The new Mimaki TS100-1600 is available at an entry-level price of £9,995 and can print at speeds of up to 70sq m/hr. Jefferies says the 1.6m-wide machine can be used for printing sportswear, apparel, furnishings, soft signage and other textile-based applications.