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.
AnaJet recently introduced firmware and software updates that reduce the amount of time required to print a white underbase on dark shirts on a Ri 6000 by about 60 seconds. The faster print speeds for white ink doesn’t affect overall print quality because most of the detail in an image comes from the CMYK inks. An adjustable white highlight feature for the Ri 3000 and Ri 6000 enables users to fine tune the white-ink volume on the CMYK pass.
The company is also looking toward new types of users outside traditional print channels. At the 2018 CES Expo (formerly The International Consumer Electronics Show) in January, Ricoh won a CES Innovation Award for their new compact Ri 100 DTG printer that sells for around $5000, including software and heater. The 4-color Ricoh Ri 100 fits easily on desks and counters in souvenir shops and other retail and corporate environments that aren’t typically dedicated to print. The enclosed heating system supplied with the printer removes wrinkles from the fabric before printing and cures the ink afterward.
According to Paul Crocker, AnaJet director of marketing, users can take the Ricoh Ri 100 to event sites or put it in a kiosk at a mall. Because the heating elements aren’t exposed like on a heat press, there is little risk that a user will get burned.
Ricoh’s new AnaJet Fulfillment Network enables more artists and designers to sell their own T-shirts without investing $20,000-plus in their own DTG printer. Print shops across the US that use the AnaJet Ri 6000 to produce high-quality dark and light garments can apply to join the network and print and ship orders to customers in their area.
With the cloud-based AnaJet Fulfillment network software developed by InkLocker, incoming designs can be downloaded along with barcodes that contain the appropriate print settings and color profiles for the type of garment to be printed. When this information is scanned into the RIP for the Ri 3000 or Ri 6000, the printer automatically prints the correct image and colors. The barcode also helps artists track the delivery status of jobs for their customers. The system is designed for ease of use, allowing even small print shops equipped with Ricoh Ri 6000 printers to benefit from trends toward decentralized printing and mass customization of garments.
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