Dye sublimation printing is predicted to be a major growth area in textile printing

Dye sublimation printing is predicted to be a major growth area in textile printing over the next five years

A new report by market intelligence company Smithers Pira says that the global dye sublimation market will more than double to €3 billion over the next five years. Smithers Pira forecasts that in 2021 nearly 900,000 m2 of textiles will be printed with the process.

The company has identified a number of factors that will shape the growth of the market, one of which is garments, which it says is the dominant end use. “Smithers Pira’s data shows garments – swimwear, sportswear, haute couture, fashion, ties and scarves, and other clothing – represent a clear majority of the market value and volume in 2016. This relative share will increase across the study period.

“Retailers and brands are increasingly running a greater number of collections in each calendar year; this is made much easier with digital textile printing as it allows quicker turnaround and response to orders, allowing a shift to repeated short runs that minimise stock holdings, and unsold leftovers. Dye sublimation and similar digital platforms allow the supply chain to be shortened and made more flexible, with some manufacturing moving close to the retailers.”

Another factor behind the growth will be the new machines, says the report. It noted: “The increase demand for dye sublimation print is driving the development of larger presses, these will help transform the value proposition of dye sublimation prints from samples and short runs to let it challenge analogue processes, like screen and gravure, in longer bulk production runs of multiple thousands of linear metres.

“This is stimulating the building of a new generation of industrial high-end machines capable of single-pass printing. Seven such presses were launched at ITMA 2015 last November. There is also much focus on innovation that minimise downtime on presses; for example, Kyocera and Ricoh have developed a recirculating head that reduces nozzle clogging, following Xaar’s innovation of some years ago.”