It has been a long path in digital textiles but with the mergers and acquisitions of the past couple of years we can see a new landscape forming. We see the giants of the screen print era still there but several under changed ownership. Stork (since 2013 SPGPrints), MS Printing Solutions, Reggiani Macchine, Buser and Zimmer were the big names of the rotary and flat screen technology. Four out of five have made the transition to digital and three out of five are under new ownership.
The mergers and acquisitions kicked off in February 2014 with the acquisition of MS by Dover Corporation, a few months later SPGPrints was the next to be sold to Investcorp. One year later, in July 2015, Reggiani was acquired by EFI, and by the end of 2015 Mimaki announced intentions to acquire La Meccanica. At the beginning of the present year, Ricoh reached an agreement to buy Anajet and just last June Epson purchased 100% of capital of Fratelli Robustelli.
Meanwhile the same companies that acquired the equipment manufacturers have been on a buying spree for ink manufacturers. Dover went on to acquire Kiian Digital, J-Teck3 and Sawgrass Industrial (as JK Group) in October 2015. EFI purchased dye and colour systems developer Rialco in March 2016 and Epson had acquired For.Tex prior to its acquisition of Robustelli. Other notable acquisitions have been Sensient buying Xennia, Kao Chemicals buying Collins Inkjet and Chimigraf, and Lubrizol acquisition of Diamond Dispersions.
But it is not just ink and equipment manufacturers that are being acquired. Kornit has just announced its purchase of the assets of its North American distributor SPSI, and EFI acquired the software house Optitex.
|MS Printing Solutions||Caronno, Italy||Dover||Feb-14||$70m|
|Xennia||Letchworth, UK||Sensient Technologies||May-15||undisclosed|
|Domino Printing Sciences||Cambridge, UK||Brother Industries||Jun-15||$1.5b|
|Matan||Rosh Ha'Ayin, Israel||EFI||Jul-15||$48m|
|JK Group||Novedrate, Italy||Dover||Oct-15||$520m|
|Xeikon||Eede, Netherlands||Flint Group||Dec-15||undisclosed|
|La Meccanica||Bergamo, Italy||Mimaki||Dec-15||undisclosed|
|AnaJet||Costa Mesa, USA||Ricoh||Jan-16||undisclosed|
|MACtac||Soignies, Belgium||Avery Dennison||Apr-16||$227m|
|Optitex||New York, USA||EFI||Jun-16||$53m|
|Chimigraf||Barcelona, Spain||KAO Chemicals||Jun-16||$98m (combined)|
|Collins Inkjet||Cincinnati, USA||KAO Chemicals||Jun-16|
|Engineered Printing Solutions||East Dorset, USA||Xaar||Jul-16||undisclosed|
|Diamond Dispersions||Sheffield, UK||Lubrizol||Jul-16||undisclosed|
|SPSI||Maple Grove, USA||Kornit||Jul-16||undisclosed|
After busy months in the world of mergers and acquisitions we are left with a more integrated supply chain with even bigger players with the financial might to support the additional R&D funding required to keep the development of next generation systems. The evolution of inkjet has not yet reached a plateau. From the abstracts submitted to the third edition of The Inkjet Conference (TheIJC) we are seeing further development of core technologies in both hardware, software and ink chemistry. Among the presentations dedicated to digital textile printing are:
- “Upcoming trends in digital technologies for textile” by Prof. Marc Van Parys from TexZeppelin
- “Fastness and disperse printing” by Will Van Daal from Huntsman
- “Collaboration of new screen print and Digiace inkjet print” by Nathan Unger from Matsui
- “Benefits of using pigment inks for textile printing” by Guy Evron from Bordeaux Inks
Leading printhead manufactures, Fujifilm Dimatix, Konica Minolta, Seiko Instruments, Toshiba TEC and Xaar, will provide technology updates, some of them announcing for the first time printheads suitable for textile printing. Caldera, ColorGATE, Global Graphics, Global Inkjet Systems and TTP Meteor will give technical talks about software driving the printers and enhancing image quality and print performance. Furthermore, key manufacturers in laboratory equipment will speak about ink formulation and analysis.