The Direct Approach: Addressing the Challenges of Direct-to-Fabric Printing

Maor Yur
October 7, 2021

Direct-to-fabric is an excellent option for many textile needs. Still, this popular method is not without fault, and there are specific obstacles we must recognize to take Direct-to-Fabric forward. Here are the main challenges our industry faces when printing roll-to-roll and the solutions we need to overcome them. 

  1. Taking on a wide variety of jobs: When printing massive fabric rolls, some businesses may struggle to take on certain jobs due to the need for minimum order size. In the age of on-demand fashion production, this issue damages businesses’ flexibility level and closes doors that should remain open. 

Another issue that tends to limit direct-to-fabric printing is the current quality requirements made by top fashion brands. Some businesses may feel that they are left out of the game, seeking solutions that enable them to find additional revenue channels by boosting quality standards, eliminating fabric or size limitations, and expanding their offering. 

  1. Standing in the shade: Certain printing procedures, like white prints on colored fabrics, prove difficult for direct-to-fabric printers. In addition, businesses are always on the hunt for solutions that widen the color gamut and enhance creativity. Needless to say, creativity must not come at the expense of other quality parameters such as hand-feel and durability. This is also related to businesses’ need to impress leading fashion brands that are looking for unique creative capabilities to make garments stand out from the crowd. 
  1. Taking ownership over the process: Direct-to-fabric printing doesn’t produce a finished product, forcing businesses to collaborate with external vendors in order to turn their beautifully printed fabric into a proper garment. This limits their capabilities in the market and places businesses in a very narrow supply chain position. Another aspect affecting the printing process is the need to eliminate pre and post-treatments. Any solution that adds more steps or vendors might burden businesses in terms of timing and cost. 

These issues meet other workflow challenges that printers using different methods may also face, such as simplifying the overall process and making it more effective and consistent. Finally, the on-demand era requires that every single one of these capabilities is performed fast enough to answer market demands as they arise. 

Direct-to-fabric printing businesses need an end-to-end solution that allows them to gain complete ownership. In this day and age, that means taking into account the environmental footprint of textile manufacturing. Any technology they use must be sustainable by minimizing the needed energy and water consumption and meeting global environmental regulations. 

As we can see, the direct-to-fabric arena has come a long way in recent years but still has quite the journey ahead of it. If you’re a roll-to-roll kind of business, stay tuned to learn what Kornit has in store to maximize your potential. After all, optimizing processes and results is how we roll.