More than tees – new possibilities for your market!

A printed cap

This month Folker Stachetzki, marketing manager at Brother, discusses the realms of direct to garment printing possibilities.

After you have got to grips with printing on shirts with your direct to garment printer, the next step is to discover printing on shoes, caps, bags and other substrates.

For your customers it is becoming more and more important to wear their own designs and to show their individuality. In addition, people do not want to wait weeks or spend a lot of money for their products.

For those who want to follow this trend, it was in the past difficult to handle these requests without a large machinery range.

This changed, when the first DTG printer was released a few years ago with the opportunity to lower and to change in a short time the print platen.

With present DTG releases, this trend is realised with finding easy, affordable and smart solutions for this issue.

The production of personalised and individual designs on a wide variety of different substrates is right now as easy as printing just on T shirts – with the same machine.­

Printing some T shirts on customer request, producing cotton bags for a shop, than changing the platen and printing on a pair of canvas shoes using a customer made design, using a cap platen to print base caps for an upcoming sport event – no problem anymore with the right DTG printer.

The right printer

But what is the right DTG printer for these needs?

  • A printer which has to fulfil the above mentioned requirements has to be flexible in the range of already available print platens and the possibility to lower the platen. The platen should have a sensor to ensure that the material, which has to be printed fits into the machine and does not touch the print head.
  • A frame to fix a shirt onto the platen might be helpful, but if it comes to other textiles this is not useful anymore.
  • The process of finishing has to be flexible – using a tunnel dryer, a heat press or even a heat gun should be possible to dry your prints of the different garments.
  • DTG manufacturers can provide special made inks for their machinery for printing on several substrates which contains different kind of material like cotton, canvas, jeans, leather and even silk.
  • Also it is important that the ink has a good washability and to have a wide colour range for a good print result on the different surfaces.
  • There are manufacturers that already offer tools like position optimiser. For example cameras or projectors to preview where the design will be printed and to prevent misprints – this makes the operator’s life easier.
  • The highest resolution does not mean the best result for structured substrates!

For sure – “the more DPI the better” is what you mostly hear, but let´s face the truth – a cotton bag is not a glossy paper. So it is better focus on the other mentioned advantages.

A cotton bag

Time consuming

What about production time? Isn’t it time consuming to print on other things than on shirts?

Even if the preparation of the substrate may take longer than for a T shirt, the return on investment and the possibility to enlarge your product range will help to increase business.

Maybe you are producing less quantities of these items than you can print shirts in the same time, but a unique print on a exclusive item like a leather bag or a canvas shoe will allow you to set a higher profit.

The trend is there and it has never been easier to follow.

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