The TPS event is very different from FESPA, in that it is streamlined for our industry.
It is very difficult to compare a conference with a trade fair. TPS is a focused educational event with an accompanying networking part. Knowledge transfer, be it in formal or informal way, remains at the core of our project. Technology suppliers have 25 minutes to explain their solutions, challenges and ideas about sustainability. They must remain technical and educational in nature while the commercial part can follow in the tabletop area where you can talk business.
What was the most significant thing that you noticed at this year's TPS 2022?
Since it was the first edition, we were not sure what to expect. In the end, it seemed that we set a new standard in approaching sustainability aspects in textile printing. The way we put together the conference programme—with 25 presentations, including contributions from major industry players, research centres and inspiring keynotes—was highly appreciated by TPS attendees. Many were surprised with the level of details and variety of perspectives.
This is the first textile printing event after the announcement of the EU Textiles Strategy. How is it affecting the textile printing segment? How, from what you have noticed, are printer manufacturers (as also allied segments like inks) gearing up for a new Europe?
Actually, the European Textile Platform was the first one with their conference in April 2022 in Brussels and a strong support of the European Commission itself. However, that was for textiles in general, while TPS looks at printing in specific. The textile supply chain is long and complex, and we decided to target only a part of it. By some, printing can be considered a bottleneck for sustainability, as it bestows more or less virgin fabrics with chemicals (pre-treatment, colours and the like).
Today, 93% of textiles are decorated with screen printing, and new pastes, screens and colour kitchens are developed to reduce waste and dirt. What is still responsible for lots of energy and resource consumption are the pre- and post-treatment processes. Ink manufacturers have been improving water-based pigment ink formulations, as well as organic pigments. Same goes for digital printing with its efficiency and flexibility. These trends are visible both in Europe and Asia.
Related question. Your event announcement (from 6 Jul on ESMA website) talks of the EU Green Deal targeting textiles as "one of the world's most polluting sectors." As part of the textile ecosystem, where does the printing sector stand? What changes can we expect to see on this count? Would it be more in hardware? Or inks/pigments etc?
The Green Deal is not only targeting the supplier industry but also brands and end users. EU clearly attempts to reverse trends such as “fast fashion” and actually put it “out of fashion”. Make-wear-waste needs to change to make-wear-repair – in line with circular economy which uses fibres until the very end of their usage potential.
Today, the textile sindustry feeds 250 million people worldwide but it consumes 80 billion of water, produces 1.7 billion CO2 emissions and is responsible for 20% of global water pollution on yearly basis. Linear models are losing their validity, and the Green Deal is a real manifesto for Europe which may be a shock for the fashion business but knowing that an average European throws aways 13 kg of textiles, there is no other sensible choice than to change.