A New appointment to the Textile team at CMYUK | Meet Brett Platt - Digital Textile Division Manager
Brett Platt talks about his new role as Digital Textile Division Manager at CMYUK and the ongoing evolution from traditional screen-printing to digital
CMYUK has just announced the appointment of Brett Platt in the role of Digital Textile Division Manager. The new position reflects the significant investment CMYUK is making in digital textile across soft signage, home décor and fashion markets. With over 20 years of experience across every element of textiles, Platt is unique in his skillset and in this new role he promises to bring something to market that doesn’t currently exist.
Brett Platt will be working alongside Michael Crook, Head of Consumables at CMYUK, establishing the research and development infrastructure to bring new fabrics to market
Talk us through your background Brett
After studying Textile Design I started working at The Dorma Group. I joined the design department and progressed through the ranks, ending up as their Senior Creative Colourist, a position I held for nine years. This was an exciting time in the industry as it saw the transformation from conventional screen-printing for design sampling to the first digital printing using Drum printers. Our team used the best digital technology available to move design sampling away from costly conventional screen-printing. We used one of the first roll-to-roll machines in the world. This was a Stork digital printer but with a Mimaki engine – the Mimaki TX1 – that printed at a speed of 1 metre per hour. That may not sound much compared to the 90 metres a minute we can manage today, but it was a milestone in print history and really helped to speed-up processes by sampling in digital and using reactive inks. I personally ran a project testing and developing one of the first wide width digital printers using pigment inks. This was a 3.2 metre wide printer developed by DuPont and VUTEk. Bearing in mind this was more than 15 years ago, it goes to show that we were ahead of our time.
After Dorma I joined RA Smart where I ran their Print Bureau, ordering fabric, managing sales, integrating all new technology, overseeing installation, demonstrations and on-site training on a range of Mimaki and Robustelli printers. My responsibilities spanned colour matching, research and development, and specifying and sourcing fabric across many territories – silks from China, cotton from the UK and linen from Belgium. I stayed with RA Smart for 11 years, until I was headhunted by an Australian company, Think Positive Prints.
Think Positive Prints was based in Sydney but wanted to expand into Europe, creating a hub in the UK. I was contracted to organise the complete refurbishment of a factory in Macclesfield, which included recruiting and training staff, and ordering and installing printing, coating, steaming and washing equipment. By 2017 I had turned Think Positive Prints UK into a business renowned for producing the highest quality printing for the fashion and interiors markets.
In 2017 I joined Hybrid as their Textiles Product Manager, where I looked after their textile machines and educated and informed the market on the growing Mimaki textile portfolio. And that takes me up to today, where I am thrilled to be joining CMYUK as Digital Textile Division Manager.
Do you think the digital textile market is changing?
Driven by technology, equipment and ink, it can not be disputed that the dynamics of the marketplace are changing. The economy is driven by reduced capital investment in stock, reduced deadline and print on demand – this mirrors many other printing markets where the transition from analogue, litho and screen-printing followed the exact same dynamic. We have seen this trend before. The shift only happens when quality and cost allow it, which is pretty much now in the textile market. It’s exciting as it means we will be bringing production back to Britain, back to the smaller outfits that can now offer print on demand that is as cost-effective as China and Pakistan.
So it’s on an upward curve?
Absolutely! What started as a prototype market is accelerating rapidly thanks to leading innovation manufacturers such as EFI, facilitating soft signage solutions, and the likes of Reggiani, offering fabric printers that drive the global textile industry. Companies with a reasonably small space can now take on textile printing, and with ink becoming more competitive, production runs are open to all. It’s a multibillion pound market that will continue to grow. Digitally printed textiles are due to go from 5% to over 50% in the next five to ten years due to a resurgence in locally-produced textiles. Companies are now able to respond quickly to demand, to fashion trends, and the appetite for digital on-demand production is flourishing.
What can we expect from you at CMYUK?
CMYUK has always done things the right way, at the right time. We want to position ourselves as the leading provider of equipment, printing technology and associated technologies. We’re going to be providing crucial and timely equipment, training and a digital textile material portfolio that will capitalise on the new and vast opportunities available. The infrastructure will be similar to the one that saw CMYUK become the leading provider of equipment and materials to the sign and graphics market. The industry renowned facility we have here in Shrewsbury is unparalleled in developing and supporting customers to take new technologies into production and we will be showcasing the market-leading textile technologies that will absolutely deliver to the new market dynamics. We are going to deliver something to market that doesn’t currently exist.