DTG or screen printing? The times they are a changing

A print made using the new HD technology

Until recently, screen printing would be the choice of most printers for orders over 100 garments. Although the effort involved in creating screens, mixing inks etc. is quite high, the cost per print still made it more advantageous to screen print. Now, digital printing is becoming another option, even for high number production. Peter Wright, managing director of Amaya Sales UK, reports.

At least one manufacturer of industrial DTG printers has developed brand new technology that reduces print cost to nearly the same cost has screen print.

Add on to this the fact that digital printing is more or less instant from design to print. No screen to make, no cleaning up the screens afterwards etc. Not only that, but with DTG printing you are not restricted by colour. As many colours as you like, with no extra cost.

The new technology allows A3 prints in full colour on dark garments for around £0.48.This all revolves around new print head technology and a new type of ink.

Going digital?

DTG printing has always been a much cleaner process than screen but the cost per print has restricted screen printers from considering testing the water. Now, these restrictions are being lifted by the day and screen printers should take a good look at what is happening.

The other massive benefit of going digital is that you will need less qualified staff to operate your production unit. You can go direct from online to production, from printer to dryer with one person. No cleaning up of screens etc. just a little maintenance at the end of the day.

Over the past 12 years, screen printers have been put off moving to DTG mainly because of the inadequacies of the early models, speed and cost per print. The more current direct to garment printers are now up to a good standard if you are wanting to print from around one to 100 a day, the cost per print on dark garments varies from around £1.20 to £3.60 dependant on the printer you decide on. You also have to pre-treat and heat press the garments before printing.

Some DTG printer manufacturers have released the DTG and screen mix which allows the screen printer to print the white ink on the screen and the colours on the DTG printer. This is another way of reducing the print cost drastically.

So, in my opinion, screen printers should take a serious look at this latest technology. Ask for a demonstration and see how your print costs can be brought down.

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