Encarna Luque, senior product manager for inks and business development in textile and decoration for Roland DG EMEA, explores why direct to garment printing is the future of the post-pandemic print industry.
I would not go so far as to say that DTG is the future of the printing industry post-pandemic, but it will be one of the fastest-growing areas.
COVID-19 has had a negative impact on almost every sector, and the printing industry is no exception.
Despite this, a recent Roland DG survey suggests that print professionals remain optimistic for the future and continue to rely on our brand to develop new areas of business.
Prior to COVID-19, sales of DTG equipment were growing due to the high demand for personalised garments. Subsequently, temporary closures, reduced mobility, economic uncertainty, the need for diversification, and the development of new business areas have changed our buying habits. All these factors together have made direct to garment printing one of the driving forces of the textile printing industry after the pandemic.
Direct to garment printing is set to take centre stage.
But why is DTG printing so lucrative for print businesses looking to stand out in the months ahead?
Below are a few reasons why.
- Versatility, low investment to start and quick ROI
DTG printing allows the direct printing of garments for clothing and decoration, creating high-quality products. The DTG printers currently available on the market have a wide range of options that allow printing on garments that are difficult to print with other systems such as zipped garments, trainers, sleeves, etc.
The digital nature of DTG printers means that the machines can print almost any image, regardless of its complexity, they do not require as rigorous training as other traditional systems, nor do they require minimum print runs to be competitive.
As a result of this versatility, DTG printers are ideal for print businesses branching into new applications and offerings, including small businesses or start-ups looking to more easily create a broad range of products at an affordable price.
- The ability to personalise
A key print trend over the past year has been personalisation: a recent Roland DG survey found that the UK personalisation market is set to reach £1 billion over the course of 2021.
The versatility and accuracy of DTG printers make these machines a great choice for print businesses hoping to tap into this expanding market. DTG printers are also compatible with digital web shops, which have risen in popularity since the pandemic and allow print businesses to start selling and offering personalisation options to customers online.
- Just in time and lower cost of production
For immediate production, DTG is the system of choice with a shorter workflow.
For short and medium runs, DTG printing typically has a lower cost of production per product than the traditional screen printing process, which becomes cost-effective for long runs and simple design. Although traditional systems are improving their production costs, we must remember that the more colours needed in an image, the more expensive it is to produce in screen printing in addition to the fixed costs.
Since DTG machines require no advanced setup, products can also be printed on-demand, which avoids the accumulation of redundant stock and the associated wasted funds, boosting long-term profit.
- Boosts eco-friendly credentials
Governments, brands and consumers are increasingly demanding a higher standard of eco-friendly textile products, so it has become important for print businesses to be able to boost their eco-credentials
The DTG printing process reduces product wastage by producing one-off designs and on-demand products, helping to stop, overproduction which is endemic in the textile industry.
What’s more, the inks used by DTG printers are typically water-based and eco-friendly, reducing the environmental footprint of DTG print businesses.
- High-quality output
DTG printers can produce durable, vibrant, full-colour designs, photos, logos and text, capturing intricate details which are difficult to do with screen printing. As a result, branching into DTG offers a significant boost to brand reputation, allowing businesses to produce the best quality products for their customers.
It is undeniable that print companies are facing tough times in the wake of the economic downturn that is causing this pandemic. But forward-thinking companies that find opportunities to modernise their offering and identify new revenue streams are likely to not only survive but thrive in the aftermath of the pandemic.
The myriad of benefits associated with DTG printing makes it an attractive offering for print companies looking for these solutions and in the months and years ahead, we can expect DTG to positively transform not only individual printers but the industry as a whole.