What are the differences between DTG printing and screen printing? Screen printing is a labor-intensive method for printing ink on fabrics, clothes, and a variety of substrates. It is designed to generate hundreds (if not thousands) of prints in a short amount of time. The screen printing technique begins with a nylon mesh screen that has been coated with a light-sensitive emulsion.
A negative image is printed (usually on transparent film) and then “burned” into the emulsion using a bright light. Although the emulsion solidifies, the negative image remains as a water-soluble paste. This results in a permanently cemented stencil. The negative picture is subsequently washed out by a screen printing expert, leaving holes in the mesh for ink to pass through.
The screen is registered on a screen printing press so that it will align properly on the printing surface (typically, a t-shirt). With a squeegee, ink is squeezed through the openings in the stencil, right onto the printing surface.
The print is then commonly cured in a heated drier, which is heated to 320 degrees F for plastisol, the most popular screen printing ink (though there are dozens of other types of screen printing inks). The ink becomes incredibly durable as a result of the curing process.
DTG printing, a newer approach that uses a digital print head to print graphics directly onto various surfaces, is experiencing significant expansion.
DTG printers are similar to inkjet printers found in the home or workplace in terms of functionality. The method is much the same: the printer digitizes an image before printing it straight onto the t-shirt or garment. The ink is sprayed onto the surface by print heads that are carefully regulated.
DTG printing inks, like screen printing inks, require curing to bond permanently. To cure their products, most DTG printing firms employ a curing dryer or a heat press.
DTG printers differ in size from small desktop devices to big climate-controlled garage units.
Many people anticipate a future in which clients place orders online and a DTG printer creates the shirts for them. Many businesses have tried it, but the technical and labor obstacles have been enormous (even for Amazon). DTG printing is more than just pressing a button; there are other variables and elements to consider.
Why DTG Printing can take place of screen printing?
Shirts may be printed swiftly using screen printing presses, which can print up to 1,080 pieces per hour!
However, the setup time of a screen printer limits what may be done. Screen printers can quickly print a single pattern in large quantities. Screen printing, on the other hand, can be excessively expensive when compared to DTG printing whether they need to print several designs or only a few prints.
The reason for this is that the amount of time it takes to develop, separate, coat, expose, and register screens makes the screen printing process inefficient for small orders with a multitude of colors. Assume you need 20 t-shirts. Printing a four-color pattern normally necessitates five distinct screens (since you need an underbase screen).
Small Orders Are Suitable to DTG Printers
Assume you need 20 t-shirts. Printing a four-color pattern normally necessitates five distinct screens (since you need an underbase screen).
It takes a lot longer to make those five screens and put them up on the screen printing press than it does to print the 20 shirts!
Here are some pros of DTG Printer
DTG printing is ideal for rush orders, such as those requiring a few shirts in less than 24 hours. In a hurry, you can rapidly fire up the printer, pre-treat the shirts, and send them off after printing and curing.
Replacements or reprints could be among the other rush orders. A single shirt may be missing from an order, a print may have been messed up, or another issue may have occurred. Without redoing screens, you can simply print a shirt and send it out.
Is there another application? Perhaps a customer ordered 100 shirts last year but only wants 5 of the same design this year. DTG printing is ideal for small orders like this.
Because screen printing is often not profitable at low levels, DTG printing is a viable option for customers that require less than 12 items.
In many print shops, the most common orders are for less than 72 units! Someone has walked into every print shop and expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that they can’t just order one t-shirt.
DTG printing can be incredibly profitable and successful if you establish a business model that can accept modest orders.
If you simply have a few small orders, however, contract printing may be a better option than investing in DTG printing. There are a number of print shops that specialize in tiny orders — it’s what they do for a living.
Consider how much it will cost to screen print the artwork provided by the customer. Screen printing is a good option if your artwork can be readily separated. It’s still the most popular and effective method of printing a shirt. If the artwork is a photograph, DTG printing is a good option. While many printers are experts in CMYK full-color printing, setting up and executing a CMYK print may not be one of your strengths. It’s possible that you’ll need to print a lot of test prints to get the look you want. Many buyers will reject CMYK prints because of their variation. For items like photographs, go with DTG unless you specialize in printing complicated art (unless the customer is requesting a large quantity).