Digital textile printing has been revolutionising the fashion industry in the Como region of Italy, a major center for the textile printing industry and the home of many luxury brands. Digital textile printing has been called ‘the second industrial revolution’ by Salvatore Amura, CEO and President of Art School, Accademia di Belle Arti Aldo Galli IED Como, highlighting its impact in Como to designers and the industry.
“The first time I handed over a file for digital printing, I couldn’t wait to see what the finished fabric would look like. The design on the monitor was faithfully recreated on the fabric. That is one of my favourite memories, and it was great to experience,” said Andrea Angeloni, Textile Designer.
“The designers began spreading their wings when they encountered digital printing. Even designs that would have been difficult with traditional printing, designers are now able to visualise how their designs will look when materialised,” said Sara Bianchi, CAD Operator at Stamperia di Lipomo s.p.a.
Epson has a played an important role in the growth of digital textile printing in the region. Epson and the leading Italian textile manufacturing equipment manufacturer Robustelli s.r.l., a manufacturer of textile printers, had jointly developed the Monna Lisa, an industrial inkjet digital textile printer in 2003, that brought a significant impact on the printing industry, causing an unmistakable shift from analog to digital printing.
At the time the Monna Lisa was developed, the textile printing industry had started using digital textile printers for the preparation of samples. However, manufacturers were hoping for advances in digital processing technologies and inkjet technology for volume printing. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Textile Association of Como was promoting digital textile printing to revitalize the industry. With this encouragement, Robustelli with a 50-year history in textile printing and Epson with its inkjet technology for the consumer printer market, formed a business alliance aiming to develop a digital textile printer.
Epson provided Robustelli with inkjet technology such as Micro Piezo print heads and ink supply mechanism components, enabling the two companies to commercialize a digital textile printer that can handle volume printing.
The Monna Lisa offers short turnaround even with mixed, small-lot production, and, because there is little waste liquid, it has a low environmental impact. The photograph-like detail and the range of designs that can be expressed on the fabrics has won plaudits from designers and the textile industry as a whole. Textiles printed using the Monna Lisa are now being used by numerous high-class apparel makers. Since its debut, the Monna Lisa has maintained the leading market share for digital textile printers used in Italy.
In 2015, Epson Italia S.p.A., an Epson Group company, acquired For.Tex S.R.L., a leader in the textile printing industry, giving Epson the expertise across the entire textile printing process, from strategy and design through manufacturing and sales, further accelerating Epson’s textile printing business.
Epson sees commercial and industrial printing, including textile printing, as promising growth areas where Epson can take advantage of its proprietary MicroPiezo inkjet technology. Epson is committed to strengthening its presence in textile printing and aims to provide products and services that surprise and delight customers in this market.