DTG Printing Has Ushered New Trend
A3 DTG flatbed printer
A new category has evolved in the constantly developing field of apparel and product decoration, falling between between volume screen printers and one-off decorators. Direct-to-garment (DTG printing), cut vinyl, transfers, and sublimation offer rapid gratification on one side. These methods are appropriate in a world where firms like Amazon swiftly fulfill customer orders, sometimes the very same day. It is in line with the new adage of the modern consumer: “I want one, I want it customized, and I want it now.”
Traditional screen printing may be seen on the opposing side. The setup and preparation procedures are the same for short runs and long runs. No matter if it’s for one shirt or 5,000, the same steps must be taken every time: setting up film positives, preparing and coating screens, exposing, washing out, taping, and positioning screens on the press. Of course, a screen printer can be more effective the longer the run.
The Consumer and Decorator in Combination The rapid gratification of DTG printing is something that the modern customer is interested in, yet there are still instances when screen printing’s bigger volumes are required. The designer needs to find a solution to fill the space left by one to one thousand shirts.
The majority of DTG decorating instantaneously creates a fully customized, full-color result on any color of fabric. However, instant printing does not work effectively in quantities more than a few dozen both financially and in terms of time. Before these new hybrids, DTG production times for each garment averaged two minutes. The output rate of screen printers is hundreds per hour. Additionally, ink prices were greater, averaging $2 per garment, compared to only cents per print for screen-printing ink.
When it comes to quantity, screen printing is the most effective. If the graphic simply uses one or two colors, a decorator can profitably manufacture only twelve shirts. However, as more colors are used, more prints are needed to ensure efficiency. For the majority of decorators, a full-color (six-screen) image only turns profitable with 100 or more pieces. Full-color printing is outside the scope of most screen printers’ expertise, who often rely on one- to three-color pictures to make a living.
Many customers who had purchased 10,000 pieces now only want a few hundred, with subsequent orders coming in the same number. These clients, who are examining the situation with fresh eyes, claim that they no longer want to risk their money on big amounts of goods but instead prefer to restock as needed.
New DTG Printing Bridge the Gap
Over the past year or so, new advancements in DTG machines have aided in bridging this gap. These new printers are more affordable, with ink costs occasionally half those of conventional DTG printing. Additionally, they provide quicker production speeds, which are frequently twice that of DTG machines from just a few years ago. When opting to use screen printing or DTG to adorn clothing, these considerations lower the break-even threshold.
Higher DTG printing speeds have been possible for a while, but they come at a high entry cost. The price of the new DTG machines that are currently on the market is significantly lower than that of these older machines. Decorators have also tried using many DTG printers, even simultaneously, to match screen printing’s efficiency.
The majority of people would undoubtedly be shocked to learn how many DTG-printed items they own despite assuming they are screen printed. There is a strong likelihood that the item is a DTG print if it was purchased online. The driving cause for the manufacture of DTG has been the ability of online resellers to keep blank inventory while printing as needed.
You can create a fantastic finished print with screen or DTG printing. You may create a permanent print with the right preparation and curing. In our field, a print is regarded as permanent after 50 washes without any visual deterioration.
DTG technology is preferred by certain screen printers as a way to fill in inventory gaps. To do this, the art department must use halftone dots (55 lines, for example) rather than full CMYK process printing to mimic a screen-printed image. A minimum of six screens are often used in simulated-process printing to screen print a full-color image. A DTG print may have a picture with 100 different colors or shades of hues.
For curing their finished prints, the majority of DTG decorators still use heat presses. However, in the new hybrid environment, employing a conveyor dryer, similar to screen printers, is practically necessary to be most effective. It would be expensive and time-consuming to try to keep up the output capacity of these new DTG printers using several heat presses.
Without a doubt, the hybrid operator will soon be occupying a seat at the table of garment decorators, somewhere between short-run DTG printing and long-run screen printing.