2022 – The year of direct to growth

Phil McMullin, Pro Graphics sales manager, Epson (UK), explains why this year is set to be the year of growth for DTG printers.

Are you considering ways to refresh your service offering or develop broader application possibilities? Perhaps you are exploring new production horizons? Whatever your business objectives in 2022, the addition of direct to garment print production capabilities can enhance your creative flexibility and increase your revenue earning opportunities.

With Future Market Insights predicting the global direct to garment printing market will reach $2.31 billion by 2023 up from $1.86 billion in 2018 the potential is attractive.

Quick and smooth

Helping print service providers enjoy this growth market is the quick and smooth adoption of the technology aided by its simplicity of use. With DTG, as the name suggests, artwork is printed directly onto T shirts, hoodies, jumpers or any 100% cotton garment. It is possible to print onto poly /cotton blends as long as cotton content is 50%.

The garment is loaded onto the printer platen and the inks are applied directly. Our technology uses water-based CMYK and white pigment ink. When printing onto dark garments an underlayer of white ink is printed first while for light coloured garments only CMYK is used, so they are quicker to produce. Pre-treatment, either applied in the process or embedded in the material, is essential for dark garments but optional for light garments as it improves vibrancy. This process stops the white ink soaking into fabric and ensures a pure white base for CMYK inks to be applied. A heat press or tunnel dryer is then used post print to cure the inks.

The technology also enables operations to expand as DTG printers are generally scalable and simple to run as part of a workflow. With just a small space required (desktop options for smaller print volumes or floorstanding for more industrial volumes) to print the designs, finding room is easy and there is no need to store jobs post production as the finished garments can be immediately dispatched.

DTG technology is also helping redefine how garments are produced. This is being shaped by three drivers:

1) Sustainability

The fashion industry produces 20% of all global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions, but localising fashion using more on demand digital printing can save up to 4Kg of CO2 per item.

DTG systems enable onsite, on demand textile printing, producing a low carbon footprint in comparison to traditional textile production. They provide significant reductions in water and electricity consumption in comparison to traditional screen printing and offer designers the flexibility to customise designs and produce exact quantities on demand, with very little waste.

With just 6% of the world’s textiles digitally printed, there is a huge potential for growth for operations that are prepared to rethink their processes.

2) Reshoring

Fashion trends constantly change and there is an increasing demand for personalised goods.

As part of an increased focus on sustainable practices, many companies are making the move towards reshoring and local production to reduce transportation.

They are also reviewing supply chains to deliver the right quantities at the right time. Interest in this has been accelerated by the impact the pandemic has had on supply chains for businesses across different sectors. As a result, many companies are considering how reshoring can change their practices for the better.

3) On demand

By adapting to an on-demand business model customers have much greater control of production in terms of quality, turnaround times, cost and profitability. There is a growing market for the printing of original and unique images and designs onto finished garments and the simplicity of the DTG print process makes it ideal to integrate into web to print platforms, essentially allowing anyone to start an online T shirt business.

Printing what has already been sold eliminates the reliance on mass production, shipping and storage and results in very little waste going to landfill or being sent abroad for disposal.

With so many positive opportunities offered by DTG technology can you afford not to see how it can help you reshape your operation in 2022?

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