New digital technologies enable more localized and environmentally friendly manufacturing than traditional industrial mass manufacturing. New digital machines are relatively inexpensive and facilitate the start-up of local production.
Through the use of digital technologies such as textile printing and 3D knitting, it is possible to produce in smaller quantities, avoid surplus, and even produce only on demand. Additionally, digital manufacturing enables the production of one-of-a-kind designs. Furthermore, garments produced locally and close to end markets can result in significant logistical savings.
Digital Textile Printing
Digital textile printing enables new ways of doing things. It enables local production, production in limited quantities or on a per-order basis, and production based on customization and unique design. Conventional printing processes rely heavily on chemicals, dyes, and fabric. For instance, the industrial rotation printing technique requires several metres at the start of the print process to adjust the print quality and colours to their proper appearance (imperfect pre-printing can take up to 15–20 metres). In comparison, digital textile printing is more environmentally friendly.
Environmental Benefits of Digital Textile Printing
The following are the environmental benefits of digital textile printing over-rotation printing:
• up to 60% energy savings • up to 80% water savings
• up to 90% savings on inks
• up to 90% reduction in colour waste
• reduced stock by up to 70%.
Digital printing precisely controls the amount of dye applied to the fabric, resulting in a reduction in dye consumption. Additionally, printing can be done on a need-to-know or order-by-order basis, avoiding excess production. Also, it is possible to print on small quantities of fabric or even within the patterns of the garment. This way, both the dye and the fabric are preserved.
The Borw Team
Economy Watch 29.6.2010. Textile Industry:
United Nations Global Compact: