Print Is Just a Small Part of Supply Chain But at Each Stage Transformation Is Afoot

The textiles industry faces accelerated change throughout the entire supply chain in the years ahead, driven by trends including sustainability and near-shoring. Print is just a small part of the complete textile supply chain but, at each stage, transformation is afoot and evolving at a fast pace worldwide. Michael Ryan, Head of FESPA Global Print Expo, tells texfash.com what it will be like to be at the four-day event at Berlin, beginning 31 May, and how the interplay between the printing segment and others in the value chain is expected to play out.

Long Story, Cut Short
  • Interested in digital wide format, screen or textile printing? There’s a whole range of solutions to be discovered.
  • This year’s FESPA is to support printers & signmakers in this post-pandemic recovery period & set their businesses back in motion by giving them access to an array of international suppliers and networking opportunities.
  • FESPA’s aim is to help printers make more sustainable & environmentally responsible choices for their operations, at a time when environmental credentials are becoming business-critical.
Key industry suppliers will come together at FESPA 2022 at Berlin to showcase the latest developments in wide format, digital, offset, textile, and direct-to-garment printing, as well as embroidery, signage and much more. Europe’s leading print and signage exhibition will reunite key industry professionals, enabling valuable networking and business building opportunities, supporting face-to-face conversations with suppliers and providing the opportunity to see the latest innovations and trends in speciality
DIGITAL POT POURRI Key industry suppliers will come together at FESPA 2022 at Berlin to showcase the latest developments in wide format, digital, offset, textile, and direct-to-garment printing, as well as embroidery, signage and much more. Europe’s leading print and signage exhibition will reunite key industry professionals, enabling valuable networking and business building opportunities, supporting face-to-face conversations with suppliers and providing the opportunity to see the latest innovations and trends in speciality print. FESPA

The inexorable link between textiles and digital printing is only set to grow faster and stronger with the global digital textile print market set to touch $8 billion by 2030. And a key catalyst to this growth is the FESPA — the global federation of national associations for the screen printing, digital printing and textile printing community.

There was pre-COVID FESPA Global Print Expo and then there's post-COVID Global Print Expo. What does the latter look like? How is this Expo going to be different from the earlier ones?
FESPA Global Print Expo is a touchpoint for the speciality print community to see the latest technology innovations, network with like-minded business people, be surrounded by inspiring ideas and applications, and speak with product and business model experts. Fundamentally, that has not changed. In fact, I believe it has become even more essential in a time when print businesses are focused on recovery.

The focus of this year’s event is to support printers and signmakers in this recovery period and set their businesses back in motion by giving them access to an array of international suppliers, networking opportunities, and educational and inspirational show features. 

What can visitors expect from FESPA Global Print Expo 2022? How many exhibitors are taking part in the Expo? 
FESPA Global Print Expo 2022 will highlight the latest developments in digital wide format, textile and screen printing technologies, media and consumables. Under the same roof will be European Sign Expo, which will showcase an array of technology solutions and materials for areas including channel lettering, dimensional signage, engraving and etching, LED and sign solutions. 

So, whether you’re interested in digital wide format, screen or textile printing, there’s a whole range of solutions to be discovered. Visitors can also expect to see products for vertical markets including packaging, décor, and vehicle wrapping.

The two events are occupying eight halls at the Messe Berlin and, to date, there are over 350  confirmed exhibitors, including all the major names such as Agfa, aleph, Brother, Canon, Durst, Epson, EFKA, Fujifilm, HP, Kornit Digital, Mimaki, Mutoh, M&R, Roland DG and swissQprint. Visitors will also have the chance to explore our educational and inspirational show features which zone in on opportunities in interior décor, sustainability and vehicle wrapping, and will demonstrate a multitude of high-value applications produced by printers and industry partners. 

Which are the earlier features that will be retained at Expo 2022? Could you elaborate?
Now in its sixth year, Printeriors will return to FESPA 2022 offering a vibrant array of sustainably produced interior décor applications produced in conjunction with print industry partners and inspired by the flora and freshness of nature. Located in the south entrance of Messe Berlin, Printeriors will bring stunning illustrations to life across a range of textiles, wallcoverings, furnishings, flooring, fine art, lighting and accessories, with a clear emphasis on applications manufactured using environmentally responsible processes and ethically source materials. 

World Wrap Masters is back too, with free training workshops, demonstrations and the live-action wrapping competition. On days one and two, 36 European wrappers will be judged on a series of timed wrapping tasks. And on days three and four, regional competition finalists from around the world will join the winners of the European heat to battle it out for the title of ‘World Wrap Master 2022’ in what we expect to be a high-energy final.

Digital textile printing presents a compelling argument for sustainable manufacturing, where alongside numerous benefits, carbon emissions can be reduced by as much as 80% using digital technology. Waste is not often discussed when considering the value of print, and yet the ability to print on demand delivers valuable reductions in unused meterage, unsold products and precious resources.
SUSTAINABLE PRINTING? Digital textile printing presents a compelling argument for sustainable manufacturing, where alongside numerous benefits, carbon emissions can be reduced by as much as 80% using digital technology. Waste is not often discussed when considering the value of print, and yet the ability to print on demand delivers valuable reductions in unused meterage, unsold products and precious resources. FESPA

Your new feature this year will be Sustainability Spotlight. Could you tell us how this works at the event? Also, sustainability is not a new concept, and it has been touched upon at earlier FESPA Expos as well. So, how is the new feature different or significant?
Taking place in Hall 25 on Stand C50, Sustainability Spotlight comprises presentations from several industry experts, providing useful, informative and actionable advice around environmental best-practice. In previous years, sustainability has been covered across all our show features but with the Sustainability Spotlight, we’re providing visitors with a central showcase to learn about environmental best practices. And our aim is to help printers to make more sustainable and environmentally responsible choices for their operations, at a time when environmental credentials are becoming business-critical for PSPs.

Subjects covered will include: Sustainable materials to use for graphics and textile applications; how to reduce energy consumption; carbon footprint facilities and benchmarking; how to make supply chains more transparent; and how print professionals can avoid greenwashing. 

What are the trends that would be highlighted at the event? How will these be reflected at FESPA Global Print Expo 2022? 
Over the past few years, print businesses have sharpened their focus on areas including process efficiency, automation, web-to-print and sustainability. These trends will continue to be front of mind at the events, with a particular emphasis on our Sustainability Spotlight feature.

The other trend we’re seeing is the diversification of the markets we represent as they continue to develop and become more specialised. For example, expansion into markets including interior décor, vehicle wrapping, packaging and textiles. At the show, many suppliers will show the latest technologies, media and consumables and applications possibilities in these growth markets.  

As the demand for circularity / sustainability starts taking a legal/legislative shape (like the EU Textiles Strategy), how is FESPA ensuring that exhibitors/participants adhere to the tenets for a greener future?
As a business support organisation, FESPA’s role is to educate our community and guide them to take steps towards a more sustainable future. Christophe Aussenac, our newly-appointed FESPA President, is wholeheartedly committed to the topic of sustainability as one of the pillars of his three-year presidency. He has placed a very heavy emphasis on it in his own print business and wants to inspire other printers with what has been achieved and point them towards practical guidance to help them do the same. 

As mentioned, we’re introducing our Sustainability Spotlight feature, Printeriors will zone in on applications that have been responsibly produced, and we’ll also be exploring how we can bring elements of this to our global events calendar. This year, we’re also launching our next FESPA Print Census survey, which will help us to build a better picture of the environmental challenges faced by our community so we can shape our future product offering accordingly.

Sustainability was already a key topic at our Global Summit 2021 and remains a top priority at local Association events. For example, Grakom in Denmark recently hosted an event to discuss green transformation in the sign and textiles industries and at FESPA UK’s ‘Future of Print’ congress, sustainability was front of mind. It’s hard to imagine any FESPA event in the future not giving some focus to sustainability.

Much of the worlds industrial print is sourced from locations that are already short on water resources, and its predominantly in these locations that 20% of the world’s wastewater originates. Of this figure 8% is defined as from printed textiles. Green-house gas emissions produced during textile processing are currently 1.2 billion tons annually.
TIME FOR SUSTAINABILITY Much of the world's industrial print is sourced from locations that are already short on water resources, and its predominantly in these locations that 20% of the world’s wastewater originates. Of this figure 8% is defined as from printed textiles. Green-house gas emissions produced during textile processing are currently 1.2 billion tons annually. FESPA

How would you describe the pace of change in textile printing (screen and digital)? Is it moving at a frenetic pace, or is it slow and steady? Could you elaborate?
The textiles industry faces accelerated change throughout the entire supply chain in the years ahead, which is driven by trends including sustainability and near-shoring. Print is just a small part of the complete textile supply chain but, at each stage, transformation is afoot and evolving at a fast pace worldwide.

Which of the two is more likely: will printing technologies change the way the fashion/textile industry is shaping up, or will fashion trends (especially movement against fast fashion as also material innovations) dictate the way printing is done? Doesn't the latter seem more likely?
We anticipate it to be a combination of both. However, market shifts and trends are heavily influenced by consumer demand so, as they increasingly want to know how their products are produced, what materials are being used and what companies are doing to be more sustainable, the print and textile industries will have to adapt.  

Has the direct-to-garment (DTG) segment grown according to industry expectations? If volumes are low, then this segment can't grow. And if fast fashion is to be curbed, then this segment will be the first to be affected. Your comments, please.
The fashion industry has seen huge growth in line with global population and affluence and this shows no signs of abating. We expect that emerging technologies and solutions that impact the way textile products are produced will continue to disrupt this sector, as will the growth of e-commerce and print-on-demand.

An extension of this would be on-demand printing. How is FESPA gearing up its members to cash in on this as the trend picks up momentum?
We see the growth potential of on-demand production in all markets we represent, not just textiles. Through our exhibition, we’re giving printers access to innovative technologies and supporting workflows to enable them to capitalise on growth opportunities, including on-demand printing. It’s an exciting time for the print industry as we gear up for a decade of further digitisation across all market sectors.

What kind of technological advancements are we going to see in both conventional as well as digital printing in the coming years?
Innovations continue across the DTG and R2R marketplaces, where we are now witnessing some important developments.

There have been improvements in printheads, such as the Ricoh GEN5 and the Xaar Nitrox, and further evolution in digital print processing, such as the Durst P5 in-line sublimation model. We also see continued advancement in software which now further accelerates production timescales in the custom garment sector, while automation makes light work of the complicated tasks associated with customised, personalised garment production. 

Across the industry, innovation continues and these advances are driving significant change. We are at a tipping point, a pivotal moment that offers the textile industry the toolbox, the technology, and the supply chain demand to move to environmentally responsible, efficient production. 

At FESPA, we’re witnessing the impact that innovative technologies, automated processes, and the increase in eco-friendly materials are having on textile production. We believe that digital technologies can make a huge impact, leading us into the next decade with enhanced processes, intelligent manufacturing, green production and smart retailing.

What kind of innovation are we likely to see in terms of inks? Do you see enough R&D work in the development of new-generation inks?
We are also seeing innovations in inks displayed at FESPA’s events, many of which are, and will continue to be, driven by new requirements for recyclability and the need to print on a variety of materials. We’re also seeing a progression in ink handling, as exemplified by the Kornit XDi 
proposition and the DuPont Artistri 5500 inks.

We see the growth potential of on-demand production in all markets we represent, not just textiles. Through our exhibition, we’re giving printers access to innovative technologies and supporting workflows to enable them to capitalise on growth opportunities, including on-demand printing. It’s an exciting time for the print industry as we gear up for a decade of further digitisation across all market sectors.

Michael Ryan
Michael Ryan / Head / FESPA Global Print Expo
 
 
  • Dated posted May 30, 2022
  • Last modified May 30, 2022