December '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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3 8 P R I N T W E A R D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 Tomorrow's Dream T HE PRINTWEAR 2 0 2 0 T E C H F OR E C A S T It's hard to predict what will happen next year or even next week. But when it comes to garment decoration technology, there are a handful of things veterans in our industry see emerging. There's a bright future for some digital and cloud-based technologies, but there's still plenty of room for tried- and-true disciplines like embroidery and screen printing. Read on to learn more! KORNIT DIGITAL Robert Zoch, global content manager at Kornit Digital, says "technologies that deliver imprinted goods not only at the touch of an operator's button but which shrink the gap between an end consumer pressing their button and instant fulfillment," will continue to thrive in the coming year. He also points to elements like workflow automation, direct integration between an independent creator's e-store and the print shop, and robotic automation as growing technologies. In the mainstays category, Zoch contends both screen printing and digital print will continue to hold their places. "The former is a reliable, time-tested means of imprinting identical pieces on a mass scale, and the latter is an ever-developing frontier that will continue to redefine expectations for graphic detail, respon- sible print processes, versatility for different materials, printing in any quantity, and immediate fulfillment, largely mirroring development of the broader digital world." VASTEX Mark Vasilantone, president of Vastex, says he believes digital print- ing will continue to grow and evolve. "New applications will improve printing on fabrics of natural or synthetic blends, offer new pretreat- ment options, and enhance the ability to print on items other than T-shirts, such as hand towels, napkins, bags, and hats," he adds. Vasilantone also suggests that DTG decorators should consider dry- ers "that can keep pace with the ink-saturated images produced by DTG inkjets, which use large volumes of water-based inks," to opti- mize productivity. For technologies that will stand the test of time, Vasilantone contends that manual screen-printing presses will continue to thrive alongside digital technology. These presses, he says, offer "significant economies over longer production runs, and (are) nimble enough to accommodate atypical printing jobs such as over zippers, seams, or umbrella frames." The ability to print large items with oversize platens, Vasilantone adds, will help sustain the machine's vitality in shops where decorators offer everything from screen-printed T-shirts to large custom-printed signs.

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