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Web Exclusive: Digital prints come out from under cover (with photo gallery)

Frankfurt, Germany - Brightly colored abstract designs, meticulously detailed mélanges and sharp photo-realistic images characterized the wave of digitally printed home textiles on display at here last week at the Heimtextil international trade fair.

Borfil Home digital print bedPlay by Borfil Home

Home textiles manufacturers have been slower than apparel houses to embrace digital printing technology, but the first concerted showing of digitally printed bedding and accessories was hard to miss at the show.

For the full digital gallery click here.
Home textiles just over 10% of digital prints
The digital printing industry now generates about $100 billion in sales worldwide, according to Professor Hitoshi Ujiie, director of the Center for Excellence of digital inkjet printing of textiles at the Philadelphia University School of Design & Engineering. Ujiie was one of several speakers who addressed the European Digital Textile Conference held at Heimtextil.
The home textiles sector accounts for just $12 billion of that figure on an annual basis. While the speed of digital output has improved dramatically - from about 150 sq. meters per hour in 2003 to 8,100 sq. meters per hour on the latest model MS-LaRio printer today, said Ujiie - some tweaks are still needed for the process to become more fully embraced by manufacturers.
"We have to have a refinement, [but] the technology is already here," he said.
Digital printing: The upside
There are a number of benefits to digital printing, according to Barry Forester, managing director of Standfast & Barracks, a commission printer that is one of the largest in the UK. They include:

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