Save both time and money with some top tips

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A line of industrial R-Jet 5 DTG’s serviced and ready to go

Do you want some advice to use when buying a used DTG printer and on how to save time and money with scheduled servicing? Well look no further, as Colin Marsh, Resolute DTG’s managing director, shares his top tips.

If you are in the market for a pre-owned direct to garment printer there are few things to look out for before making your decision.

Appearance is everything

If the printer you are looking to buy is dirty inside or has ink mist that you can scratch off steer well clear. Here is why.

Inkjet printers, DTG printers especially produce images by firing ink at high speed from a tiny hole called a nozzle. Inevitably this method of printing generates ink mist which collects in and around the printer. Over time and if left unattended the ink residue can cause the printer excessive strain, reducing its ability to produce quality prints and in some cases causing it to break down and reduce its life span.

Previous owners

A DTG printer that has had a hard life can share this information with you. Through software or on a test print, normally known as a nozzle test print it is possible to see how much work the printer has done. The expected lifespan of a well looked after DTG printer that has had normal use is five to seven years. If the printer has worked shifts this may reduce its lifespan from five to two years depending on the amount of hours per day worked.

Always check how many owners the printer has had previous to you buying it and how much work it has done. The original manufacturer should be able to give some of a printer’s history without breaching data protection, buying from various other sources where history cannot be checked could leave you high and dry after purchasing.

Who to buy from

When buying a car it is safe to say you have some protection when buying from an authorised dealer. The same applies when buying used printers, a dealer or original manufacturer does not want any bad press therefore will avoid supplying anything other than good used equipment back into market. Buying from the original or authorised dealer is without doubt a wise decision but in no way compulsory.

One thing to bear in mind is, that some parts are unique to each printer and simply not available to unauthorised companies and cannot possibly have been changed and maintained correctly. Most authorised dealers will also be able to offer some warranty on equipment purchased from them that the original manufacturer will honour.

Below are a few key points to check when doing your research:

  • Find out the service history.
  • How many previous owners has the printer had.
  • Are you buying from an authorised dealer.
  • Check the age with serial number and manufacturer.
  • How much work has the printer produced.
  • Have you seen the printer fully working.
  • If it has all the necessary software included.

Service makes your DTG printer smile

Preventative maintenance is good practice, its saves time in the long term and will definitely save money, avoiding down time and parts that may need replacing because of the damage ink mist can cause. It is important to understand all inkjet printers no matter what process they produce suffer from some form of ink mist, some worse than others.

Let’s look at a couple of examples of this by using actual experiences spread over the last two to three years. These are both companies running eight or more DTG printers.

Company A

This company produces T shirts on demand via web to print and also prints in bulk for businesses via a retail store. Using multiple DTG printers and screen printing they can produce any design required in any quantity.

Chart showing cost differences between service and breakdown
Chart showing cost differences between service and breakdown

Company B

This company also produces T shirts on demand through various internet retail sites such as Amazon and eBay. Multiple DTG printers are used here but no screen printing or retail store.

Looking at the chart to the left it is plain to see who is spending wisely on scheduled service work and who is ignoring maintenance until a breakdown occurs.

Breaking down 2013/14 into 4×6 monthly periods you can see from this chart the trade-off between planned scheduled service costs or breakdown repair costs.

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