The markets for DTG printers are growing, thanks to changes in apparel retailing, new inks, better RIPs, easier-to-use printers, and ready-to-print DTG garments.
Using a combination of OmniPrint’s Direct RIP technology and their Direct Ink Gamut Plus inks, the OmniPrint Freejet 330TX can achieve high-resolution prints on light and dark cotton, cotton/poly blends, and polyester garments. The Gamut Plus inks can be cured in 60 seconds using either a conveyor dryer or heat press. Prints on pretreated dark garments can reportedly be output in single pass.
According to OmniPrint President Victor Peña, the company developed their own formulation in response to customer requests to print on a wider variety of garments. OmniPrint brought a chemist onboard and expended their R&D efforts significantly. He says that OmniPrint has also partnered with major apparel brands to ensure that its DTG ink formulations would work with new performance garments being developed. Says Peña, “We’re interested in the long-term growth of the marketplace. If our customers make money with the tools that we’re developing, it’s good for the market.”
Peña says developing water-based DTG inks that adhere to moisture-wicking performance fabrics isn’t easy. The key was to develop the right pretreatment that could be used with fast-curing white inks. To prevent bleeding, the inks must dry quickly on contact – but not so quickly that they clog the DTG printers.
OmniPrint is currently working on high-speed industrial DTG printers that can print a light or dark garment in less than 30 seconds. But boosting print speeds isn’t the only goal, adds Peña. He says big apparel brands want higher speeds as well as better image quality.
Ricoh is also taking steps to expand the popularity and profitability of DTG printing. When the company introduced Ricoh Garment Inks for the Ricoh Ri 3000/Ri 6000 and AnaJet mP5/mP10 DTG printers, Ricoh priced the inks up to 25 percent less than AnaJet PowerBright Plus CMYK inks even though the new inks provided the same level of image quality. Ricoh has since reduced ink costs for AnaJet users who continue to use PowerBright Plus inks.
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