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What’s New in Direct-to-Garment Printers?

(June 2011) posted on Tue Jun 07, 2011

The demand for customized T-shirts is on the rise. Find out how direct-to-garment inkjet printers can help you capitalize on this trend.

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By Gail Flower

Peña: The FreeJet 330TX is now in its sixth series and is equipped with our WetCap maintenance system designed to maintain and preserve the printhead. It shields the printhead from the elements and safeguards it against clogging. It creates an air-tight protective enclosure for the printhead. It also comes with an interchangeable platen system for printing a variety of soft goods. The FreeJet 330TX has a four-lift system to automatically raise and lower the print bed, keeping it level. It has an upgraded bed size of 13 x 22.7 in. It has an upgraded print engine, new firmware, and technical upgrades for faster printing speeds.

Will most garment screen printers switch to DTG?

Green: No. Most garment printers who are running significant production levels will add a digital garment printer or two. If it’s a short run, digital garment printers are cheaper to run by orders of magnitude. Garment decorators who seek to innovate and watch out for threats will add a digital apparel printer to their business. The pie isn’t shrinking; it’s the most adaptable businesses that will thrive.

Goljevacki: The market has a place for DTG printers, but also for screen printing and other methods. Today, however, there is a noticeable shift toward smaller and customized print runs, where DTG printers are the best option.

Rhome: Without question, that is the direction we’re going. DTG is faster and less expensive to operate than traditional screen printing machines because there is minimal set up, tear-down, clean-up, screens, squeegees, or platen adhesive. DTG printing allows for small runs, which is a huge benefit for custom shirt operations ad smaller shops.

Copeland: I don’t know that I would use the word switch. I would definitely use the word add. More garment printers are recognizing that DTG printing is simply another decoration tool. It’s not going to replace traditional screen printing for the majority of jobs, and it can actually be used to complement screen printing by offering an inexpensive option for reorders, samples, and add-ons.

Borucki: Because the printers can now achieve digital output of up to 300 prints per hour, this will make it financially attractive to a larger share of traditional screen printers.


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