The DTG Column

An investment in the future O

In the field of textile finishing we find innumerable processes to make a textile unique or to produce large runs. Here Folker Stachetzki, Brother’s marketing manager, explains why investing in direct to garment printing is an investment in the future.

ne of the most forward- looking and innovative technology is definitely direct to garment printing. But what is it that makes DTG printing so future-oriented? Well, there is a whole lot with which the DTG printing printer can do to convince! The first thing to mention is for sure the extremely high versatility. From linen shoes to classic T shirts to denim jackets, there are almost no textiles that you cannot print with a DTG printer.

For all of the above materials, you do not have to convert the entire printer, just replace the print platen, which is very easy to do with the most systems. In addition, there is no need to change the ink for this.

The preparation time, which you need for other textile printing processes is also eliminated – so it doesn't really matter whether you print a design thousands of times or print a design once. The high- resolution image files which you´d like to print are either sent to the printer via a RIP or driver based. So, the only time you lose are a few seconds of data transfer. This ensures extreme flexibility in order processing and makes it also very easy and efficient to print personalised textiles! In the times of digitisation and networking, DTG printing can make another advantage – since the creation of the print designs is completely digital, it doesn't matter where the printer is. A designer from Japan can easily control a

printer in Germany or send the print file to a company that can print it for him anywhere in the world.

Connect worldwide

Many companies offer solutions with which their printers can be easily connected to existing online shops or easily added to existing workflows. The photo-realistic resolution of most devices also ensures that there are practically no limits in terms of design. We have reached a point where the print quality is limited more by the textile or its surface than by the quality of the printer. All of the above is already available by most of the leading manufacturers. But why is direct to garment printing an investment in the future?

That´s very simple – in contrast to traditional printing processes, DTG printing is not only ready for so-called Industry 2.0 – the points mentioned above make it appear as if direct to garment printing had been developed for this very purpose.

In addition, there are more and more young, aspiring start-up companies that certainly cannot or will not afford an expensive screen print carousel at the start. The acquisition costs of a good DTG printer are significantly lower in comparison and are therefore much easier to manage.

I have spoken above about the many printing options of DTG printing. “Everything might be correct, but only as long as it is cotton,” – I hear the critics

say. And that's right – right now! Hey I thought we wanted to talk about the future – or not?

Right now the first manufacturers already offer printing on polyester and other materials like leather. Even if the current techniques are not yet 100% perfect it is only a matter of time until it is possible to make this process suitable for mass production.

Unrivaled technology

If it is then still possible to achieve the same printing results like printing on cotton and the whole thing with non-harmful, water-based inks, a market will open up in which this technology is unrivaled. Think about it. From personalising fan shirts in a few minutes to photo-realistic CMYK printing, everything will be possible.

I am sure, that other lucrative markets will also be opened for DTG printing in the foreseeable future. Just as there are, as mentioned above, already the first printers that can print on polyester, it is now partly possible to use DTG printers to print on leather in high quality. This technology may still be in its infancy, but here too there will certainly be a further development of the process.

The DTG printer companies in particular are constantly developing this technology and not stopping. Imagine that – the advantages of DTG printing without being limited to certain materials – that's what I call a reason to invest in the future!

June 2020 |39 |

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