Managing Director Indian Dyes Sales Corporation
Digital printing industry is moving back to water-based ink
Compared to the progress made in Europe, the digital textile printing industry is still in its nascent stage in India. Most of the machinery used is imported. Much of the ink used is imported. Only water-based ink and plastisol ink are produced in the country. Binoy Shah, Managing Director of Indian Dyes Sales Corporation (IDSC), which caters to the garment printing industry, discusses the state of the industry in India with Fibre2Fashion.com
What is the size of the Indian textile printing industry? How much of it is occupied by the digital printing industry?
The Indian textile printing industry is big. There were many mills in India, but in the last 20 years, many of them closed down. In spite of that, textile printing is a major business. Digital printing came to India about 12 years ago. It started with sublimation transfer on polyester fabric. It picked up in the last six or seven years. Now, the industry is spread all over India, mainly in Surat, Tirupur, Delhi, Ludhiana and Mumbai. This industry is growing rapidly as cost of digital printing continues to go down. With the advent of new technology, production is increasing.
How big is the digital printing machinery industry in India? Please share some statistics.
As of today, 99 per cent of the machines come from outside India. Very few are produced in the country. Most of these are assembled by getting parts from elsewhere. The print head is the most important component in digital printing. There are very few print head manufacturers like Epson and Ricoh. They are the pioneers, and no Third World country has made satisfactory progress in this area. All digital printers come from China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Europe.
What is the latest technology being used in India?
In India, digital printing virtually began with sublimation on polyester. Then, printing was done directly on garments or textiles. This technology is now picking up. Previously, it was necessary to first print on paper. Now, it can directly be printed on garments or textiles with machines.
What are the challenges facing this industry? What are your solutions to overcome them?
Everybody wants digitalisation, but the industry has not grown as much as it could have, because of the cost factor. These machines are expensive. Production of machinery has started in India, but the cost remains high. New digital machines can print at the speed of rotary printing. Still, the cost for such machines is prohibitive. Every year, prices are going down by 10 to 15 per cent. A time will come when this technology will reach all major printing houses in India.
I cannot propose solutions. These should come from manufacturers of machinery and ink. The solutions will certainly happen as demand is going up. This will bring costs down.
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