COMO, Italy — November 21, 2017 — Originally created to speed production times up and reduce pattern book production costs, in 20 years digital printing has taken a leading role in the design and production of printed fabrics. There is a consensus that inkjet printing is the future of the textile printing in both the fashion sector, which is particularly sensitive to versatility, speed and customization, and other production sectors, such as interior design.
The third Book of the “Beyond the Silk Road” series will be unveiled at the digital textile industry conference, organized by Epson in Como November 20-21, 2017. Created by the Textile Solution Centre Advisory Board by Epson, For.Tex. and F.lli Robustelli, the “Digital printing and sustainability” Book covers the latest environmental impact thinking within the textile industry. The publication was edited by Blumine, a textile and fashion industry sustainability research and consulting company, in collaboration with the Como technical institute Rete Clima.
The focus on digital printing is entirely justifiable as it is a well-established and ever rising trend: in the first half of 2017, there were more than 982,300,000 square meters of digitally printed fabric. The many advantages of this cutting-edge printing technology can be found throughout the industry, from the companies to the final consumers. The economic, organizational and ecological benefits include waste reduction, fewer wash cycles and the related reduction in environmental pollution.
“Inkjet printing is an irreplaceable technology in a textile production system which has to cope with the daily demand for flexibility and customization of production”, said Pietro Roncoroni, president of the Textile Solution Centre and of For.Tex, a chemical company working in industrial textile market now part of the Epson Group. “It is a question of understanding how much digital printing is consistent with the demand for reducing environmental impact and chemical safety that the customers and brands are imposing on textiles manufacturers and printers. Our mission is to study the dynamics and drivers of cultural and technological innovation. The Textile Solution Centre was established to disseminate digital innovation culture among the textile printing processes. We do this through our training programs for different public sectors: both making our teaching available by running workshops in schools, businesses and research institutes that want the first-hand experience of the potential of inkjet printing and publishing the “Beyond the Silk Road” Book series.”
The “Digital printing and sustainability” Book provides an in-depth examination of sustainability applied to the digital printing on the textile sector. It starts with an analysis of the economic and cultural background, which the technology is now a part of, its fashion sector connections and the continually evolving market dynamics. Special attention is given to the research role and the production of low environmental impact chemicals. Printers are governed by laws, regulations, certifications and restrictive specifications produced by customers and brand in the fashion industry. This can be seen from the interviewed opinion leaders and from For.Tex’s daily experience.
How are the environmental advantages of inkjet printing quantified?
The study collects the data obtained by simulating the consumption of materials needed to print 1,000 metres of fabric using conventional and digital technologies based on values provided by a printer run with both types of equipment. The processed data revealed that digital technology has a smaller carbon footprint compared to traditional printing. The report explains that a digital system produced less equivalent CO2 than a conventional rotary system — specifically, this is 139.56 kg of equivalent CO2 compared to 85.66 kg of equivalent CO2. This significantly limits the contribution to climatic warming.
Digital printing used 27-percent less water, confirming yet another vital statistic, which has two environmental knock-on effects. This process guarantees a reduction both in the volume of wastewater sent for purification and in the consumption of energy for heating process water. This further lowers the carbon footprint while using the printer.
Further analysis in the report includes a study of the environmental advantages evaluation introduced by the constant maintenance model at the production plant used by F.lli Robustelli. The evaluation used a Life Cycle Thinking approach and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) techniques to the Monna Lisa Evo Tre printer, the latest in the series developed by Fratelli Robustelli based on Epson technology. A circular economy logic and the non-replacement of the machine’s structural parts, thanks to optimised update and maintenance protocols developed by Robustelli Spa, reduces greenhouse gases in comparison with the more invasive alternative revamping process. This reduction is an indirect environmental benefit.
Manufacturing a new printer (based on a small size Monna Lisa Evo Tre) has a carbon footprint of about 13,900 equivalent CO2. However, it is now possible to keep more than 80% of the machine in service at each five-year maintenance. The limited invasiveness of the maintenance work produces a clear economic benefit for the final customer and limits the environmental cost compared to more critical maintenance. The environmental cost of the parts replaced is equivalent to “only” 3,260 kg of equivalent CO2, or 25 percent of the overall environmental cost of new production.
Posted November 21, 2017
Source: F.lli Robustelli