Garment printing has two main kinds of print methods, which are heat transfer printing and direct to garment or DTG printing which means the same thing. For this article we will be looking at direct to garment printing.
This method of printing is a pretty new method within the garment printing industry and as the name the suggest it prints directly onto a garment. The process uses a purpose built printer which is like a larger modified version of our traditionally more available ink jet printer. Instead of paper passing through these printers they allow the garment to pass through smoothly. The printer is connected to a computer as normal and the computer uses a specialised software called RIP software. This specialised software allows the printer to manage the colours, produce white underbases and print using a larger than normal volume of ink which is essential for direct to garment printing.
In the early stages of DTG printing it was only possible to print onto white or very lightly coloured garments as white ink was not available but as time and technology moves along so has the printing industry and now white ink is as available as the traditional CMYK colours, meaning we can now print on dark garments as well making direct to garment printing even more versatile than previously. On the dark garments the white ink prints a mask layer then the coloured ink prints over the white allowing for full colour, high quality prints onto an assortment of different garments including t-shirts, hoodies and polo’s to name just a couple. The printed design on the garment is smooth and flush to touch against the fabric and has what is referred to in the industry as excellent ‘hand’.
For best results from these DTG printers, 100% cotton garments are preferred although recently some of the new age printers are starting to print just as good on polyester or polycotton garments.
Once the printing process has finished it is essential for the ink to bonded onto the fabric with the use of a heat press. This process take little over a minute but cures the ink and makes it possible for the garment to be worn and washed without losing the design.
The quality of these printers are exceptional but that is taken into account of the price you will have to pay when purchasing one of these direct to garment printers. You can expect to pay anything from £10,000 upwards.
As with anything, there are going to be advantages and disadvantages of using direct to garment printing, so lets explore what these advantages could be.
As the process prints files directly from the computer, there are no set up costs.
Unlike screen printing where the printer must set up different screens per colour DTG prints directly in one run saving lots of set up time.
Great for smaller run orders.
No limitations to colour or design.
Quick turnaround depending on order size.
From start to finish the whole process is minutes rather than hours.
Colour management and print precision is always consistent. No room for error as the garment is not handled as much as screen printed garments.
With all those advantages, what are the disadvantages?
The price of the printers are expensive, and because of this the price of garments is a little higher.
Ink can be expensive, especially white ink.
Time taken to up keep the printers, every day the printer needs cleaning and maintained properly to ensure the high standard of print every time.
Printers are quite large so will require a decent space to work from.
It’s clear to see that DTG printers are exceptional and if you can afford one it would more than likely help you and your business, and as a customer, its clear that when it comes to prints from DTG printers, its hard to find better quality. More details about MyTShirtKings