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HOW IMPROVED TECHNOLOGY HAS ENHANCED DIRECT TO GARMENT PRINTING

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By Lolita Di from theglobaldispatch.com

The complexity and demand for printing services continues to increase. Printers must work with sports teams, cheerleaders, Boy Scouts and many other groups. Each group requires customised apparel which is suited to their needs, and no two clients are exactly alike. Traditionally, customers had to make a tradeoff between the amount of colours they needed and the price. Most printers charge a lot per colour, and they will also charge for the printing itself. The more colours a customer needed, the more they would pay.

Kathy Searle call my agent shirt photoDirect to Garment Overview

The advent of digital technology has revolutionised the printing industry. Because of direct to garment printing, the number of colours ordered by a customer is no longer an issue. This is because the t-shirt printer can create the design without worrying about constraints or colour limitations. Direct to garment printing also allows for a large selection of shirt sizes which can beprinted without additional fees. This means printers can create garments which have artwork cover more of the shirt for no extra charge.

Another advantage of direct to garment printing is that it eliminates the need for a worker who can separate the colours or perform other manual tasks. Today all you need is the ability to operate graphics software with a printer and computer and you’re all set.

How does Direct to Garment Printing Work?

This versatile printing process can be used for both textiles and non-textiles. When applied to non-textiles a pre-treatment must be added to the product before the printing, as this allows the ink to correctly attach itself to the substrate. Next is the printing process, which is much cheaper than sublimation. The last step is the curing of the ink, which can be expedited by adding a special aerosol. This will give the product the protective finish.

DTG was primarily designed to work with textiles, to embellish them. It is largely replacing traditional printing because ink costs are low, it’s versatile, and the printing process itself is straightforward.

Enhancing the Ink

Direct to garment printing is a new technology, and like all new technologies, it has its flaws. The biggest challenge in the past has been with the quality of the ink. Fortunately, improvements in ink chemistry are allowing this problem to be overcome. A number of contemporary printer brands are about to reveal some upgrades to the traditional DTG, and there will be enhancements in a number of areas, including automated pre-treatment, palette sizes and ink quality.

A new generation of white inks will be introduced which are performing at much higher levels than older formulations. One of the biggest challenges for direct to garment printing technology has been printing brightly coloured images on darker apparel. The problem is that colours often pop off the darker shirt when the underbase is laid down by the printer. Printing bright images on a dark shirt requires the apparel to be pre-treated, a chemical to be added and then a heat press must be applied, after which a layer of white is added. Printers continue to make improvements to both the DTG ink and the printing process itself.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

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