Challenging Textile Conventions – Master of Textile

Interview with CEO of Hollanders Printing Solutions – Peter Hollanders – technician and businessman from the world of Digital textile. A business he built based on 5 core competencies – reliability, productivity, colour consistency, economics and knowledge

Where did you experience of Digital Print technology start Peter?

Going back to the beginning before 1992, I worked in the newspaper industry and was involved in the changeover and development of digital technology in newspapers. This was a good grounding as it gave me an understanding of what could be done with digital?  It was a playground, experimenting with new concepts. Then by the early 1990’s the changes were completed from analogue print to digital particularly in the newspaper world – so for me it was where next ?

A friend came to me from a T shirt screen printing business for sports clothing and said “ I want to do this better and with 5 not 5000 , can digital make this possible ?” So I thought about it and developed something at home using ideas from the HP ‘deskjet’ 500 technology . I knew that there where big margins in this and that it could be easier, quicker and more cost effective than Screen printing.

So I set up a business called Colorwings with two partners, building machines for flags and banners – We were the first in the world and we sold 80 systems in the first 2 years, it was fantastic !

So what was the next stage in the development of your business?

Well, business life is like a rollercoaster sometimes. The partners and I had different views of where to take the business , so I sold up the partnership and decided to take some time to think about a new business with a new proposition. I felt the keys to our business approach should be reducing waste in production, and keeping operating costs tight – so improved inks, RIPS, effective fixation and washing- connecting these elements together as one flowing process. My goal was efficiency of production!

So Hollanders now has a clear vision?

At Hollanders, we start off with the end product, the application. It is the prime essence of the whole product portfolio, the technology and all solutions we develop. At Hollanders, research starts with the application in mind. Because this is what it's all about: a high value product at the lowest cost per square meter. With the traditional qualities that meet the requirements of specific markets and a specific usage. This is what our customers are looking for and this is what we are good at.

Color gamut, ink density, print-through, uv-stability, the "hand", precision, registration, resolution, gradient, color reproduction, but to name a few. It's about all facets of a consistent production flow and the control over the results, day after day, year after year. This page holds only a few examples of the textile applications that are easily produced using Hollanders equipment.

We offer a total concept for the digital textile print production market. The product portfolio is a balanced set of machines, software and supplies. Every single machine can be used as a stand-alone solution that fits in any existing workflow. Combined, however, it offers economical business advantages.

Most important business gain is less operator involvement, saving time and money otherwise spent on misprints and handling of the production flow. Secondly, the Hollanders concept lowers cost for environmental investments: the machines use less electricity, less water and produce less waste material than traditional workflows. The Hollanders platform is designed to offer the lowest cost per square meter. ROI calculation proves that investing in the Hollanders solution lowers overall cost of ownership.

Where are the key developments for Digital textile now ?

I don’t see enough creativity in the mind of the end user. And, in a way we shouldn’t expect this, it is down to us to encourage the end user to solve problems with technologies and applications that we are aware of or we can develop. I would like to see end users coming to me with a problem or a need and asking us to create a machine for this.

I will give you an example: I have a customer who makes tents and wants to print on them after they are made water repellent. The problem is inks are water based – so there is challenge- but we solved it with a solution and produced double side print. The great advantage for me is that this can then be applied to tents, douche curtains and umbrellas – so one solution leads to a business opportunity.

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The Hollanders family of double-sided printers comprises its ColorBooster DS 2.1m machine and the wider ColorBooster DS 3.2m machine. both of which represent the first ever digital textile systems to print simultaneously on both sides of the fabric. These units incorporate an integrated fixation unit.

Why buy a printer if you can rent production capacity?

I also think we need to think differently about our business model which is selling machines – So why not lease them ? You may not want to make a 200k investment in a new market opportunity, so we thought why not rent the machine. We now rent production capacity for a surprisingly low price…

What things annoy you about the industry ?

The belief that everything is about speed. This is crazy ! So many machine manufacturers push speed in digital textile, and this comes from the belief that we need to compete with analogue. However, companies are never at 100% printer capacity  they often work only at 20-30% capacity – so speed is irrelevant. And keep in mind that not used speed cost you a lot of money. It can easily increase production cost with € 0,50 till € 1,50 per m2. Uniqueness is the key in my mind .

So we emphasize the array of options for Digital textile print. We love to work with different materials.

We feel that we address textile print production requirements with an unique approach: we think platform, we think turn-key, we think solution. We say 'different', because that's what we found out during the hundreds of conversations we have had with people from the industry.

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The photos here show some examples.

Thank you to Peter Hollanders - http://www.hollanders-ps.nl