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Interview with Kamal Kulshreshth

Industry Speak
Kamal Kulshreshth
Kamal Kulshreshth
Textiles Head (International Sales)

Digital is less about volumes, more about extra value creation

Colorjet is among the fastest-growing wide format digital inkjet print technology leaders in the Indian sub-continent. Colorjet's range of digital textile printers are among the most-preferred solutions in Indian industry. Kamal Kulshreshth, Textiles Head (International Sales) at Colorjet, speaks about trends and prospects.

Is digital textile printing defining the industry today? Be it 'yes' or 'no', could you explain your assessment? Why is it so?

No, the textiles industry is too huge to be defined by digital printing. Printing is only one way of adding value to fabric. Besides printing, fabrics are dyed, jacquard patterned, dobby patterned or imparted special finishes to add value. Even within the printed variety, less than 5 per cent of the total printed fabric production is digital, but adoption of digital printing is growing at a very fast pace and early adaptors are reaping benefits.

What do you think is going to drive digital textile printing in the next 2-3 years: consumer demand or industry compulsions? What are your views about mass customisation?

Fashion trends in apparel wear and use of digital prints in home textiles is what will drive digital textile printing. Mass customisation is an oxymoron. If it is mass, it cannot be customisation. Digital printing is all about customisation and about creating value by exclusivity with imaginative designs.

More importantly, what role is digital textile printing going to play in influencing the process of automation in the textiles industry that is already a reality?

Digital printing has automated the creative aspect of printing. In the process, the designer has been freed of constraints of colours and repeat size.

Do you think fabric makers and apparel companies are adopting digital printing to the extent that you expect them to?

Established fabric makers and apparel companies have to change the way they look at business to adopt digital printing. Digital printing is less about volumes and more about extra value creation or adding value to the fabric.

How much do your own products contribute to cost-effectiveness and speed for your customers?

Our products have been designed to minimise energy and water usage. Cost-effectiveness and speed of a digital printer cannot be seen in isolation. It is a combination of factors and each investor needs to find what combination of machine configuration, ink type, process set-up, etc, best suits their needs. At Colorjet we offer optimised solutions that can be chosen from a range of upto 6 print heads, working widths of upto 320cm, suitable for different ink types to cover all kinds of end usage.

Do you think digital textile printing will open the market for smaller players by offering them a level-playing fieldwith big brands? Do you think, for instance, a small businessman can start selling customised products through a big ecommerce portal like Amazon? How do you see this space filling out?

This is already happening. Not just in India, but at an international level as well. Our customers entertain queries for a few hundred metres of customised prints and even offer to do samplings in several shades to help a buyer decidewhich print runs he wants in longer runs.

Digital textile printing is reckoned to be more sustainable than traditional forms of printing. Do you agree? In what sense is it so (or not so)?

That the carbon footprint of digital printing is smaller than conventional rotary printing has been established by various independent studies. Another spin-off of digital printing is almost no wasted fabrics because only as much as is needed is printed. When you become aware that 1kg of cotton garments require more than 2,000 litres of water to make, such avoidance of water or wasting printed fabric is a huge environmental plus.

Given the fact that your own segment is a cog in the longwinding textile-garment supply chain, how do you ensure that you do your bit in terms of sustainability? Could you elaborate?

As (I have) already mentioned, our machines are designed for minimal usage of energy and water. We know how important running costs for an investor are and efficient engineering is a key component of our products. Our customers appreciate that our machines consume less energy and water as compared to other machines.

In which segment of digital textile printing, do you foresee the maximum changes in the next 3-5 years: machineries, inks, softwares, or any other?

Digital printing is a rapidly evolving area in textiles. All areas will improve but inks will probably see maximum changes in the next 3-5 years.

Do you think industry is geared up fully to take the digital leap in terms of human resources?

Going digital is not a big deal anymore. Human resources will rise up to the challenge, we are sure. What we need is creative thinking applied to value creation. With digital printing we have removed the constraints of colour, repeat size and resolution to a large extent. Investors need to understand this, while marketers need to drive this.
Published on: 22/05/2018

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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