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Our passion for design goes beyond beautiful imagery and into the mind of the consumer, where we believe good design should solve problems.
- Wednesday, December 26, 2012

DTG Direct to Garment Printing Technology

DTG Direct to Garment Print by maxginez3.com
DTG is an acronym of Direct-To-Garment printing, which is the process of printing on textiles and garments. The technology is derived from a simple inkjet printer just like your ordinary desktop printer that prints documents but only DTGs are hybrid inkjet printers, which have been modified and designed to be used in the Garment Industry.

I've seen some attempts in creating DTG Prototypes being done by DTG enthusiasts and they have successfully made it print and function just like the real DTGs. It’s Reverse Engineering that’s what they say and with all those efforts, some of them made these experiments into business. Well actually it does make a lot of sense to earn a profit. This is because if we will talk about the real Direct to Garment Printing Equipment (“The Branded type”) would cost around $8,000 to almost $250,000 depending on the Brand name and Specifications such as printing capacity (T-shirts per hour), printing size (8x11 – 11x17 or even bigger), and Printing capabilities (able to print on dark colored garments).

The Advantage of Buying a Direct to Garment printer

DTG Direct to Garment Printing Equipment by maxginez3.com
Now that I’ve been managing a family business (Maxmedia Enterprise - a local printing and advertising company), I found out that there is a lot of advantage when investing a DTG printer; this is because we will save a lot of money in setup costs. This is because buying a DTG printer is already a whole package. All you need is to have electric power, printing materials such as ink, and yourself (the operator). With a design uploaded on the system (A computer) and the printable material in place (your t-shirt), then you are ready to go. And for about few minutes of waiting, your shirt is ready and all it needs is drying. Although some manufacturers supply this drying equipment separately but newly printed shirts can be dried using conventional equipment such as your ordinary hair dryer.

The development of Ink technology have significantly improved over the years and the ink performance is getting better as well as the quality making Digital Printing so special. And what is good about DTG technology is the non-contact printing abilities, meaning that the media (T-shirt) is printed by the machine without hand contact, that means the design being printed is produced with high precision. And since DTG is a computerized printing equipment, mass production is so easy without any design distortion when compared to a conventional screen printing technology. All you need is a good design, a program and a qualified well disciplined person to operate it.

Industrial Type DTG Direct to Garment Print by maxginez3.com

Currently, Maxmedia Enterprise is printing T-Shirts the conventional way using Screen Printing process. But we also have printing technology that we call Ink Transfer using Sublimation Ink and a Heat Press machine to transfer the ink to the textile (normally it is done in a light colored garment because there are no white ink available for Sublimation Printers). And for Dark colored shirts, another technique is being used and we call it the Dark transfer technology where we will use a 3G Opaque paper and print the design on it using a pigment printer and then once it is done printing, we will pill-off the front side (the printed part of the Dark Transfer Paper) then exposed to the heat press equipment and the design will stick to the Dark colored shirt. Although it sounds simple to do it but it really needs a lot of patience because if you are in the business; producing quality products is always the top priority.

Direct to Garment printer Disadvantage

DTG Direct to Garment Printer Setup by maxginez3.com
There’s no such thing is perfect that is why technology is evolving and developing to improve everything, and this is the same with DTG printers. So what is the major disadvantage of this machine? It is the price, maybe because the current technology that is available for now is still limited, and competition is low and I guess the demand is starting to go up. And because of the need of this technology, there are DTG enthusiasts who are currently working out with their prototypes to supply the demand of this technology.

Another disadvantage issue about DTGs is the equipment maintenance cost because the technology is still limited, qualified technicians are also very few, spare parts is not that readily available, and basically it needs a lot of technical know-how to set-up the machine. That means in order to maintain the printing quality, proper maintenance should be done, periodic check up and calibration inspection is necessary. And another thing to consider is the technical support, know your supplier’s capability to supply technicians in case of machine failure. This is because in my experience with the business; most technical support, transportation and accommodation cost is billed to the customer. And so therefore if your business location is far from the supplier, better yet think twice when asking for a repair because cost is definitely higher than you expect. So I guess if you are planning to buy this equipment, first and foremost is to prepare yourself by understanding its technology, the machine functions, operations and maintenance. But most of all, the person assigned to operate the machine must be qualified to handle the task because human error is always the reason of failure.


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