The DTG Column

The secrets of surviving in DTG printing

Thinking of setting up in direct to garment printing? Here, managing director of Amaya Sales UK, Peter Wright, outlines what you should consider before doing so.


here are many DTG printing systems available, the professional ones can range from around £7,500 right up to £500,000. Entry level printers will produce from around 50 to 150 a day and the industrial ones up to 2,000 a day.

Most entry level printers can produce excellent print quality, some better than others. These are ideal and at a much lower cost if you requirements are up to 150 prints a day. The price of these entry level printers can vary tremendously so be careful. Prices range from around £7,500 up to around £30,000. Paying a higher price does not mean you will get a better quality, but you will get faster printing. Faster printing can result in poorer quality due to a reduced resolution.

I believe you are better off buying two of the lower priced printers than one which would be double the price. This would give you greater flexibility and achieve the same production.

What to look out for when deciding the best fit for you

● Support

Find a supplier that has many years’ experience providing DTG equipment. One that can advise you not only on the benefits of their printer but their level of support and can help you with ideas on finding business. Ask about their engineering support and if they will install the printer at your premises as part of the deal. ● Print quality

Ask to see a sample of the quality of print and ideally send them one of your designs. Make sure you send a design of good quality. It would be even better if you could if you could visit their showroom so you could see a sample being printed.

Remember that nearly all DTG printers print on to cotton based clothing and will not print on polyester. ● See the proof

If you can make it to their showroom, ask to see the whole process including pre-treating. Pre-treating is required on black dark and coloured garments. This is used to prevent the white underbase ink sinking into the fabric. This can be carried out manually by using a spray gun or

could use an auto-pretreater. If you are using a spay gun, then this should be carried out in a separate room to the printer.

White shirts do not require any pre-treatment and the CMYK inks can be printed directly on to the garment. ● Ink cost

Check out ink costs, some printers require ink that can be around 50% more than others. This makes a tremendous difference to your profitability. It could cost you at least an extra £1 per print so assuming you print 100 shirts a day, that would be £100 out of your profit. ● Printer cost and ink prices You may find that some suppliers are offering big discounts on their equipment. I have two thoughts on this: 1) Say you had purchased a DTG printer for £10,950 but the week after you have seen it being sold at £8,000. So, the printer you had purchased is instantly devalued by nearly £3,000. 2) If the ink used in the discounted printer costs 50% more than say a printer at its normal price, you recover the difference in the amount paid in no time at all. From then on you are in a win, win situation.

So, check out the ink prices, it could save you a fortune. ● White ink clogging

White ink clogging should now be a thing of the past. There are many ways of preventing this and manufacturers have tried several different ways of combatting. Many of the methods involve leaving the printer powered on all the time which can use extra costly ink. If leaving for a period of over a few days

some printers require flushing which again wastes ink. My favourite system is the pressurised method, this keeps the ink pressurised all the time even with the power off. You can leave these printers for around 30 days with the power off and they will still work perfectly afterwards.

Another important point is be careful if you change to another ink brand, most are not compatible with other inks. This can cause clogging and poor-quality prints. Stay with the major brands such as Dupont. ● RIP software

Check that the RIP software is easy to use and can make your printing as economical as possible. You should be able to set up different preset colour management and under base settings so you can drag and drop your design into the appropriate design queue. It should have workflow support that enables the quickest file preparation and production times. Also, make sure it’s included in the price. ● Maintenance

Make sure to ask about the maintenance and how long it takes every day. It should be a simple process that takes no longer than five minutes. Try and learn as much as possible from the technician when the equipment is installed. If the company does technical training courses then it would be a good idea to invest in one. It will help you save time and money in the future. You will also learn more about how the printer works.

So, look around, go for demonstrations if possible, ask questions and make the right choice

August 2020 |17 |

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