Faster product delivery times
Endless artwork customisation options
Sustainable production processes
Direct-to-Garment (DTG) enables faster turnaround times
On demand or just in time production is driving digital growth. Whether it be an Web store selling custom printed T-Shirts or promotional garment prints for a fundraising event, garment printers are expected to deliver faster and more efficient services in an increasingly digital environment. The tools both that garment printers must equip their businesses with in order meet customer demand are increasingly digital centric. From initial client order placement to submitting artwork for print sampling and final print production, the chain of steps required to complete an order are become more digitally automated. DTG printing itself is only one part of the equation. Ordering systems, production automation and tracking compliment the DTG process itself. DTG printing is designed to enable businesses to respond to such demands. AT the recent FESPA trade show in Berlin, it was evident that direct-to-garment (DTG) printing systems are continuing to improve with increased print speeds, larger colour gamuts and in the case of indirect apparel transfers, hybrid DTG/DTF platforms like the Q Hybrid Series printers which are designed and manufactured by Impression Technology Australia. The Q Hybrid Series printers enable garment decorators to print both natural and synthetic fabrics from a single print platform. The capacity to print to both natural and synthetic fabrics using the same ink chemistry, production system and print engine significantly expands the decoration possibilities for businesses in this sector. Additionally, dedicated Roll to Roll transfer systems for mass transfer production offer further versatility in decorating products including umbrellas, backpacks, leather goods and high-vis work wear. Check out our new Q Hybrid Series DTG/DTF Printers here: https://pigmentinc.com/direct-#0D6BF1to-garment/dtg-printers/
DTG lends itself to endless artwork/customisation options
DTG is an excellent tool for sampling. The ability to handle variable data or multiple artworks in small quantities is very beneficial for speedy print approval. DTG is efficient when printing both multiple designs as part of the one order or multiple orders with one design per order. Artwork is simply loaded into the print software, garments loaded onto the platen and printing and curing completed within minutes. Considering it takes minutes to complete a single DTG print, sampling for multiple orders can be completed same day for approval. In essence, DTG enables faster smaller quantity order completion when compared to conventional print processes. While there’s no doubt that printing metallic inks, certain Pantone colours and special effect inks will remain the domain of the screen printing process, the option to have special inks including green and orange in a DTG printer like the Q Hybrid Series means the printer can be configured with an expanded colour gamut for more accurate colour matching. There are also DTG systems set up with fluoro pigments for fashion applications. With this in mind one must ask what technology advancements for DTG printing are on the horizon. Check out some artwork tips here: https://pigmentinc.com/top-three-artwork-tips-for-digital-print/
Soft hand feel, breathability and environmentally safe
Fabrics play an integral role in our well being and comfort. We wear them as clothing and display them for both decorative and functional purposes around our homes. For comfort it’s important that the fabric retains a soft hand feel after printing. The printed surface must be breathable particularly with printed clothing worn next to the skin. Additionally, the ink chemistry must be environmentally safe. DTG printer inks are a water-based textile pigment ink chemistry that meets a number of important criteria for safety in garment/fabric decoration. Most if not all DTG Inks are GOTS or/and Oeko-Tex approved. This means they are both safe when in our surrounds or worn next to the skin and are manufactured using environmentally responsible processes. Quality DTG inks and digital textile inks in general tend to have a nice soft hand feel when printed. They don’t alter the drape of the fabric itself. This is a specific requirement for fabrics destined for interior decorative spaces where functionality and aesthetics must work in unison. With DTG garment printing, the level of ink load a DTG printer can lay down onto the fabric can be carefully controlled in the print software. This enables precise ink weight control for different fabric weights/types further enhancing the soft hand feel and breathability of the fabric. It also means the deposit of ink required can be kept to a minimum in order to achieve a perfect balance between colour intensity, image quality and soft hand feel and breathability. Check out our ink specs here: https://pigmentinc.com/kodak-inks/
The DTG benefit to small businesses
DTG printing equipment enables smaller local garment printing businesses to obtain printing equipment that’s relatively straight forward to start producing quality work. DTG systems are smaller in footprint and space/energy requirements so suited for both small and larger print businesses. There are less technical steps required to start producing DTG prints when compared to conventional print processes. While having qualification and a background in textile printing obviously helps, DTG printing is more accessible with a reduced need for specialist training. Print proof or samples can be quickly produced as part of a quote. This results in quicker sales closure which benefits both customer and print service provider alike. When the order is approved, the DTG printing process can commence immediately with reproduction consistent to the sample approved. The whole process results in a streamlined print service with less room for errors.
The DTG benefit to the fashion sector
Fashion buyers are changing their ordering habits by reducing bulk purchasing and buying in smaller quantities on a more regular basis. This drives production further towards digital printing processes due to the process being ideal for shorter run lengths and unlimited customisation possibilities. DTG technology is enabling designers to get their products to market quicker and in smaller quantities. Larger fashion brands that typically produce on mass can adopt digital printing to create limited edition designs with each garment being individually numbered thus creating a higher product value. Variations in designs and tt can be printed and tested in the marketplace for success before being committed to larger print runs. This reduces the initial outlay whilst allowing designers to be more responsive to market trends.
Sustainability is a big driving factor
Digital technology advancements in textile production in particular the print process itself results in significantly less waste, energy consumption, water consumption and carbon emissions when compared to conventional print methods. As digital printing technology continues to evolve, larger scale digital fabric printing will become a more viable option. This will further narrow the gap between digital and conventional printing technologies. As more businesses look to elevate their brand by attracting consumers with shared values, sustainability awareness will feature strongly and continue to influence industry wide technological advancements. With this in mind it’s fair to say that digital printing processes benefit both producer and consumer in addressing current demands.