Feb 11, 2015
Heimtextil 2015 (held January 14-17 in Frankfurt, Germany) hosted about 2,800 exhibitors and 68,000 visitors. Hailed as “the most successful Heimtextil for many years,” this year’s event attracted exhibitors and buyers of textiles covering a wide range of products (e.g., floor/window coverings, bath/bed linens, upholstery, wall coverings, sun/deco systems, fibres, yarns, fabrics, and increasingly digital print). According to Debbie McKeegan, Designer and Owner of Digetex, this year’s trends include recycled vintage designs—and with readily available digital printing, designers are now going beyond photo printing creations and into painterly effects and overlaid photos in their designs. Additionally, fashion and interiors are merging with catwalk designs appearing in home textiles.
Digital Textile Solutions at Heimtextil
The textile printing vendors were primarily at Heimtextil 2015 to show their capabilities and meet customers. Among the innovations in digital printing, two really made a mark at this year’s event. One is the growing availability of pigment ink enabled products, which has the potential to significantly improve fabric production workflow. At the same time, however, pigment ink’s color gamut is still limited, making it a better fit for décor fabrics and less so for high fashion. The second major development is a new generation of direct sublimation units that is eliminating the need for transfer paper when printing dye sublimation inks.
Only a few of the digital textile vendors were showcasing new products or announcements at this year’s event. Some of the highlights in this area included:
- DGI showed its 3.2m wide Fabrijet FG 3206 Direct Sublimation printer, which has a maximum speed of 120m2 per hour. A new Fabrijet HS FT transfer sublimation printer will be available later this year.
- In addition to showcasing a life-sized image of its 3.2m-wide Kappa 320 textile printer, Durst unveiled its 200m2/hour Rhotex 180 TR dye sublimation transfer printer, which is targeted toward companies that want to produce polyester-based textile print digitally without extensive pre- and post-treatment.
- Epson highlighted a wide variety of printer technologies in its booth, ranging from a narrow format ribbon printer to the SureColor SC-F7100 dye sublimation industrial textile device. The SC F2000 Direct-to-Garment printer also generated a great deal of interest as visitors witnessed how designs could be scanned, digitised, and printed onto any garment or accessory up to 50 x 40 cm in minutes.
- In collaboration with designer Gideon Oberson, Kornit was showing vivid-coloured output from its 1.8m wide roll-to-roll neo-pigment all-in-one machine, Allegro. Print samples of its neo-pigment ink on leather were also available to demonstrate the flexibility of pigment ink.
- Along with a number of textile printers designed for home furnishing, sports apparel, and fashion, Mimaki demonstrated its JV 400-160XL, a 6-colour latex device for wallpaper printing.
- MS chose to show its 1.8m wide, 500m2/hour JP7 device on the stand, but the backdrop pictured the company’s single-pass LaRio machine. The LaRio produces up to 75 linear metres per minute and is already well-established in the market. MS’s primary message is the reliability of its machines, which use Kyocera heads and produce Same Print Result (SPR).
- MTEX Solutions launched its MTEX Vision, a version of its 1.8m MTEX 500 device with a built-in fixation unit to target direct sublimation printing. Whilst the MTEX 500 is primarily designed for use with reactive and acid inks, this new product enables better impregnation and resistance on polyester-based materials than what is typically achieved with transfer sublimation.
- Reggiani dedicated its stand to home textile output, showing a variety of ink types and materials including output from its recently launched ReNOIR Pigment-ONE machine, which can achieve high levels of industry certified pigment light-fastness, rubbing, and wash-fastness as well as high colour density using lower ink grammage than the industry average. It works without a binder in the jetting stage as the binder is incorporated during the fabric preparation stage.
- SPG Prints was showing a 3-minute video highlighting the construction of its Pike single-pass digital device as well as some print samples. The Pike device is designed to achieve rotary press comparable print speeds of 20-40m/minute, offering digital printing competition to the MS LaRio (the other major commercialised single pass device). The first Pike installations are expected to occur at the end of 2015.
- Zimmer’s latest application, double-sided blanket printing, creates a very soft 3D effect on polyester pile. The company also announced plans to bring some more entry-level Colaris-type products to market by the end of this year.
Digital Printing Companies
Fabric printing company exhibitors agreed that digital is now accounting for all or an increasing part of their printing businesses. Key highlights in this area included:
- C.E.R.M. Tekstil, which uses 80% direct to fabric and 20% transfer printing in-line with its sewing machines to produce printed and embroidered fabrics, announced some new embossed fabrics at the event.
- Creaciones Euromoda, which uses reactive inks on cotton for bed linens and wall/decorative upholstery, demonstrated its “Naturals” range, which includes fabric animal print wall coverings and matching bed linens.
- Innotex had several digital fabric print samples available as the company is increasing its proportion of digital to rotary printing, particularly for the fashion and lingerie markets. This brings a greater variety to the company’s collection. At the same time, however, its home textile printing is still done on rotary presses.
- Sublitex was promoting sublimation papers for transferring onto polyester/poly blends, cotton, and linen. To make sublimation transfer printing suitable for linen, the printer has to prep the fabric with chemicals. This is a new concept.
- Zorluteks was exhibiting its Jacquard and printed curtain fabrics at Heimtextil. The company also showcased a variety of offerings under its TAC brand, including its extensive digitally printed designs.
Wallcovering was a major application at Heimtextil. From a digital perspective, some of the highlights from the event included:
- HP was showcasing its latex printing technology in conjunction with a number of partners. Output was generated onto a variety of fabrics, including 100% cotton, using the HP300 device. HP also launched WallArt 3.0, a cloud-based service that helps integrate service bureaus using HP latex printers with end customers, online or at retail. Customers and designers can use WallArt 3.0 to plug in their wall dimensions (accounting for windows and doors), select from template designs and customise them, or input their own content and send it to be printed.
- Sihl demonstrated its new design2wall collection of wallpapers, which are suitable for a variety of different ink systems (e.g., UV, latex, water-based, solvent). Additional features include glass fibre latex and glass textile latex wallpapers.
- Xeikon highlighted its toner-based Wall-Covering Suite, an all-in-one roll-fed device that enables up to 20m/ minute wallpaper printing. In conjunction with this announcement, designer Hugo Diego launched his 2015 collection featuring wood and rusted metal textures.
For More Information
Heimtextil 2015 proved to be a valuable platform for learning about digitally printed fabrics and digitally enabled design to print workflows. The digital machine exhibitors increased in number from 2 to 15 between 2014 and 2015, and the initial feedback indicates that this event was worthwhile and profitable. These trends are reflected in InfoTrends’ annual Digital Textile Market forecast, which projects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 30% between 2013 and 2018 in digital textile print volume (décor, apparel, and industrial fabrics). To learn more about the show review on which this blog was based, please contact Catherine at Catherine.Cresswell@infotrends.com.
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