This time of year appears to be when everyone is looking back on the previous year while simultaneously looking forward to the upcoming one. And as we consider the future with our crystal ball, we wonder what new or unusual things we might all be expecting to see. We’ll cast our own future-looking glances given the DTF transfer printers decoration’s meteoric ascent in recent years. Here are four forecasts for the direction that DTF technology will take during the upcoming 12 months.
1. A Gain in Popularity
Do you believe that DTF transfers have peaked in popularity? They didn’t! In 2023, we believe the use of this decorating technique will become more widespread. Why is it so well-liked? With the use of these transfers, clothing decorators may create full-color images on a single sheet of film that can be used to decorate nearly any type of fabric, including 100% polyester, cotton-poly blends, tri-blends, and more.
Early adopters of this technology have overcome their learning curve and are prepared for higher production levels. The ease of the procedure will draw more owners, sales representatives, and production managers of garment decorating, branded merchandisers, and print and promo businesses.
This opportunity will also be seen by many DTG printer owners now in operation. The fact that these operators already have a DTG and DTF machine at the same time is advantageous for them. These owners may utilize the same equipment, inks, and software to generate DTF transfers, much like with the Epson F2100 and F3070 DTG printers. There is no need for any form of conversion.
In order to keep up with client demand, many DTG owners that introduced DTF transfer printers to their customer offerings in 2022 had to install more printers. In 2023, the number of printers added will increase dramatically.
2. More Affordable Desktop Printers
More people will be tempted to try the DIY option as the demand for DTF transfers rises. It will probably be frustrating to purchase a desktop inkjet printer and modify it on your own into a DTF transfer printer. You shouldn’t accomplish something just because a few YouTubers can, though. If you decide to take the “cheap road,” you will undoubtedly encounter some difficulties and setbacks, as with all novel production techniques.
Who will stand by you if you encounter difficulties? Not the business listed under the printer’s name! Hours will be wasted viewing YouTube videos from “experts” who are nine to twelve months more experienced than you. To keep the printers running temporarily, they will prescribe creative “workaround-solutions.” It’s not necessarily profitable just because it’s conceivable. Simply put, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. FACT: Rather than being film printers, these printers were built to be paper printers.
As a side note, these desktop printers that have been converted can be very slow. When we say “extremely slow,” we imply that you could only be able to produce three transfers every hour, or 24 transfers in an eight-hour period. This exceedingly low manufacturing rate is unprofitable for anyone to maintain.
3. An Increase in Cheap Imported Printers
We haven’t seen the last of the Chinese desktop inkjet printers that were originally designed to be low-cost or imitation paper printers since DTF transfers will continue to grow in popularity. Unfortunately, these printers are also being converted to be DTF printers, which is bad news for some customers.
The problem with our post-pandemic, overstretched supply chain is the subpar production. Poor printheads, motherboards, and circuitry have swamped the market from China and other nations. The UL & CE ratings and certifications of these electrical parts worry a lot of buyers. (This might also be a problem with your company’s insurance.) While your printer is broken, searching the internet for replacement printheads, which frequently break within the first three to six months, or other parts is not a profitable strategy.
You acquired the printer at a wonderful deal, but what about the support after the sale? Was your training adequate? How did you learn about the ideal printing environment? Who will coach you, and will they live in your nation or at least your time zone? Do they even speak your language? Are they reachable by phone or Zoom? What type of guarantee is provided? Even so, do they have a warranty?
Since DTF transfer printers are a relatively new technology, many people and businesses interested in using them have minimal background in inkjet printers, ink systems, adhesives, etc. The wise man would advise you to invest in tools and businesses that can support you on this new adventure.
4. Larger Production to Increase Speed and Output
The potential for specialized DTF transfer printers production will be recognized by more apparel decoration businesses. The development of bigger, faster printers with output comparable to automatic screen printing production will continue. However, individual transfer customization will make DTF printing more desirable in the emerging world of one-off decorating, as opposed to large production screen printing.
These production packages will be created as integrated systems that work together. The inkjet printer, powder application, a shaker, and conveyor drier to cure the ink and melt the powder will all be included in the kits. To fulfill the rising need for DTF transfers, overall output will rise.
Here, making predictions is more likely than looking into a crystal ball. However, one thing is certain: DTF printing is the newest and currently established component of the apparel decorating industry.