2018 has been a hectic and interesting year for our textile printing equipment business. Whilst the majority of new installations have been in Asia, we have seen trends developing that has seen a recovery in production requirements in Europe, especially in labelling for household & soft furnishings. There are changes, often in surprising directions. The long heralded decline of traditional printing methods for ribbons & narrow textiles has not only failed to materialise, but the opposite has in fact occurred. Letterflex/Flexographic/Silk Screen methodologies and technologies are still going strong – the latest design machines offering unparalleled flexibility and productivity to enterprising businesses.
However a new generation of Digital printing technologies are making an impact in wide web printing which will present opportunities for narrow ribbon & garment label printing. Wedded to digital printing technologies in a new generation of hybrid printing presses will evolve, Whatever else can be said of 2018, whether uncertainty in the market due to political pressures from the USA, UK & Brexit, fluctuating currency prices, and pressure from low cost manufacturers; it is the companies who have been bold enough to invest in new technological solutions that have reaped the most benefit from these changes.
New Investment For 2019?
As the year draws to a close, you may be considering investing in new plant in 2019, or you may plan to play it safe and make do with what you’ve got. Making a decision not to invest in new equipment is understandable, especially if your existing kit is still productive and in good working order. However, what we have seen in the past few years is the gap in productivity between newer and older generations of printing press becoming ever wider. This gap makes itself clear in productivity, training requirements, speed, energy consumption, reliability and versatility. By every conceivable criteria, the latest generation of printing presses are cheaper, more productive and simply better than their older counterparts.
Let’s Look At Digital Printing:
Whilst Thermal Foil printing of Garment labels has been available for several years, the take up in new digital Ink jet technology has been slow for narrow ribbon & label printing for branding purposes alone. To some degree we have seen this driven by technology companies who integrate RFID tagging & tracking systems for the retail industry. The need for variable data for tracking & identification through the supply chain is ever present and the knock-on requirement is to include brand labelling and single source all packing & branding needs.
Is Playing It Safe Really an Option?
Whether or not to invest your capital is a careful decision you need to make. It is not for us to pressure you into a decision one way or another. But we do want to equip you with all the facts in both analogue & digital printing technology. In a rapidly changing market, there isn’t a neutral position. Choosing not to invest in the latest analogue equipment or new digital technologies is an active choice, not simply the default. You need to weigh up whether the advantage you give to competitors by not buying into the new technologies is worth the money you save by putting off your capital outlay. It isn’t always an easy or straightforward decision, regardless of how affordable new equipment is, or the availability of finance plans.
Where To Start:
You can start by scouring the internet, researching the best manufacturers and leading suppliers, discover what is new & what is coming soon. Contact your trade organisations & do your research on the latest trends & technologies. Contact the manufacturers don’t be afraid to difficult questions, find out what plans they have for near future. June 2019 will see the ITMA show return to Barcelona. This is the largest textile equipment show in the world, held once every 4 years covering all areas of Textiles. The main manufacturers will be showing their latest developments and Focus will be no different showing its concept digital ink jet printing press for garment labelling & ribbon printing, as well as the latest Heat Transfer & traditional Letterflex equipment.
Earlier in the year we released a free e-book, called FOCUS GUIDE TO PRINTED TEXTILE RIBBONS & LABELS. Our argument in this guide is that the industry is at a rare crossroads moment. Market dynamics are changing whether we like it or not, towards shorter print runs and variable order requirements. We make the case that it is actually cheaper in the long term to invest now in emerging technology than it is to put off your investment until financial conditions are more favourable. The advantage new tech gives you easily outweighs the financial risk. Many businesses who have invested this year are already seeing good returns for their capital.
Click here to download the e-book and come to an informed decision. We are very happy to discuss your situation with you in person too, and come up with a plan that matches your business goals and budget. Visit our web site at www.focuslabel.com, Call us on 01949 836223, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at ITMA 2019 in June, in Barcelona, Spain.