Ahead of its time

Leather jacket printed with flexible UV textile ink

CPSIA certification for UV DTG applications and the green button print process.

Colin Marsh, managing director of Resolute DTG reports on how direct to garment printing and direct to substrate printing have gelled in dual purpose printers ahead of its expected schedule.

Back in 2016 I wrote about future printers, both DTG and DTS being combined into one system and producing a wider range of products.

In January this year evidence of this was already starting to show. During a recent business trip I witnessed what seems to be another major breakthrough in multiple process printers backed up by a CPSIA certification for a new textile compatible UV ink.

With many people being very sceptical about the UV process being used for textile printing this latest certification proves that when the correct UV ink is used it is a safe process, as the CPSIA test results clearly indicate.

Ahead of schedule

Way ahead of schedule this new breakthrough brings to market the ability to produce printed garments made from, cotton, PVC, polyester, leather and others with no pre-treatment. From the same printer digital braille, photopolymer replication and promotional items such as wrist bands, water bottles, phone cases etc, hard or flexible can also be produced.

With some of the major sports related high street brands quickly jumping on board and this technology the process will for sure spread quickly across the globe taking personalisation to another level.

It is now possible to obtain a fully personalised kit including custom trainers or football boots that has been produced on one piece of equipment including a customised presentation box.

Although cutting edge at the moment and carrying the price tag to match this process is sure to change the personalisation industry. Prices will fall as the technology spreads across different brands but expect to pay in the region of £25k upwards for one of these systems, which in comparison to three machines and three labour costs is incredibly good value for money.

Green button printing

What is green button printing? In order for a process to be green button in general it needs to be a process that can be picked up by a simple manual without the need for specialist training and specific levels of experience. Sheet fed digital printing was around for many years before being considered to be a green button process and the same can be said for DTG printing.

Looking at the recent developments in the DTG process it is closer now than ever before to being a green button process. The art of pre-treating by hand has been removed with the release of pre-treatment machines which give better repeatability than hand spraying. The most recent development towards green button DTG printing are garments that are ready to print straight from the bag with no need for pre-treatment.

Last but in no way least, the ink technology has moved on in giant steps improving curing times and durability in the wash. Some DTG inks now cure in just 35 seconds which is much friendlier to the garment being cured as it does not get cooked for too long weakening the fibres. Durability in the wash has also improved, washing at 40°C is now common with most inks and it is not unusual to see people quoting as much as 50 washes which you would be very lucky to get from a high street brand shirt produced by another method.

So I think it is safe to say, DTG printing if not already a green button process is well on its way being green button and increases in popularity month by month.

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