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From sportswear to advertising, textile printing beyond fashion

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Printing on fabrics opens the way for endless possible applications, materials and technologies: from sportswear to home textiles, encompassing highly diverse sectors with the most varied technical requirements, to which the printing sector had responded by progressively increasing the efficiency of its printers.

Textile printing comprises everything that is printed on a fabric. In other words, the applications associated with the textiles industry encompass the most diverse of sectors and entail vastly different technical and technological requisites. The recent boom linked to the arrival of digital textile printing has been a real game changer. In addition to exploiting fashion clothing and the ‘fast fashion’ phenomenon, other interested sectors have been the focus of the textiles industry in recent years.

It all began with the sportswear segment, where printing is seen as a strategic means to create original applications and launch new trends. This is the sector with the largest number of end markets, where each sport represents its very own segment. In addition, it is also worth considering the casual product industry, i.e. sportswear intended for everyday use. The technical requisites required, such as protection from the elements for anoraks, windproof jackets or raincoats, or compatibility in cases of direct contact with the skin for tops, trousers, tracksuits etc. represents an additional element for differentiation.

 Outside the clothing and home textiles sectors, fabrics are being widely used in the communications industry. Soft signage, banners, displays and flags are all modern-day advertising and communications applications, where the use of fabrics is growing at an exponential rate. After all, the development of progressively better performing printers destined for textiles has, in recent years, determined a sharp increase in the use of fabrics for company communications and promotional activities. This phenomenon has captured the attention of many textile manufacturers which have invested time, resources and energy in the study of suitable solutions for various end uses, previously limited to plastic products, which continue to be indispensable for a number of special applications.

Which fabrics are being used most widely in this field? Most definitely polyester, a synthetic material that guarantees excellent mechanical resistance and that allows for sublimation printing - the most widely used printing technology in the advertising and communications sector. Latex ink printing is becoming more and more popular in this market owing to its versatility, which enables those who possess these machines to print on textile fibres, thereby maintaining excellent results in terms of colour and resistance.

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