Page 39 - Print 21 Magazine March-April 2019
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Textile Printing
“In the past they had to turn people away with short-run jobs, but now they’re investing in this technology.
Jamie Weller, regional manager at manufacturer Kornit Digital says, “DTG used to be re-engineered from photographic printers, whereas nowadays they’re built as DTG from the ground up. The technology is now much more stable, and cost of investment is far more acceptable,” he says.Where direct-to-garment shines is in short-run production.”
According to Weller, most of the market share is – perhaps counter- intuitively – at the lowest end of the scale.
“Overall the market is trending towards smaller batches. Most
of today’s jobs are less than five hundred items, which our Atlas HD technology fits into: it was designed to help screen printers in their digital transformation.
Increasing market
“We also see an increasing market share in the twenty to a hundred piece market, which can be addressed by our Storm HD and Avalanche HD platforms,” he says.
Supplied in Australia by Kissel + Wolf, Kornit’s new HD range of DTG printers can speed up production
by cutting out entire steps from the process, says Weller.
“Our DTG solution reduces the steps of production from five – pre- treatment, heat press, print, heat press and dry – to only two steps: printing and drying. That eliminates three steps, saving time and money, and it’s why we’re market leaders in DTG,” he says.
As always, it’s not wise to invest in new equipment without doing your research first – failure to plan is planning to fail, says Michael Davies at GJS. “A DTG printer is not a licence to print money. You need a business plan,” he says. “Customers are now coming to us with business plans and knowing their target market, not just going in blind.
“A company can take a four-dollar blank shirt and a dollar worth of ink and turn that into a twenty-five to thirty-five dollar product.” — Steve Richardson, Impression Technology
People are very well-educated; by the time they come to us they have done a lot of research, and now they want to see the sizes and how the platform works.”
Warby recommends speaking to suppliers and channel partners who can help structure solutions that meet your business’s individual requirements.
“Research the market, find where you feel you could slide your business into those segments,” he says.
“Do your homework – printing
and manufacturing is a process, and making sure you understand your market and have sustainable business is the best advice we can give.”
Weller adds that print service providers should look into using DTG to bring more solutions to their customers.
“Existing printers need to look at diversifying their application range, and offering more to their customers. As their margins in traditional print are shrinking, there is an opportunity to tap into the digital textile printing market where margins are healthy,” he says. “Today it is easy to source blank garments and then customise them locally. Offering promotional products such as t-shirts, polos, hoodies, tote bags and so on to existing customers can provide an additional revenue stream.”
It’s no wonder, then, that so many printers are now wearing their love for direct-to-garment on their sleeves. 21
Above: Direct to textile: printing onto t-shirts with Epson F2160
New kids on the block
While companies such as Kornit, Epson, Impression Technology, and Brother are well-established in the market, other manufacturers are now taking notice of the opportunities in the sector and releasing their own DTG machines.
Though it is better known for wide-format inkjet printers, Japanese manufacturer Roland DG has expanded into direct-to-garment printing with its new VersaStudio BT-12 desktop DTG printer for cotton-based products.
The BT-12, which is set to release in April,
is designed for on-demand personalisation. According to Etsuo Harada, president of
the COTO business division at Roland, the company’s inkjet printers are increasingly used to produce custom apparel and fabrics, so this next step is a logical one.
“In-store personalisation services for printing customer designs have grown rapidly. To meet this demand, the COTO Business Division has developed the new DTG printer,” he says.
The A4-sized machine can produce a fully- finished custom printed product in a matter of minutes, the company claims, and its 399mm x 760mm size gives it a small footprint that makes it suitable for sites such as shopping centres, kiosks, apparel stores, gift shops, and events. It can print in full colour on products made of at least 50 per cent cotton, such as T-shirts, tote bags, and interior décor.
Ricoh, too, has brought out its own range
of DTG machines: the Ri3000 and Ri6000, which are more “traditional” DTG printers, and the entry-level Ri100. According to Henryk Kraszewski, senior product manager for commercial and industrial print, the all-in-one Ri100 is the smallest, safest, and cheapest DTG printer in the industry.
“It has the most appeal to those just entering the industry - even those who didn’t know they could print onto garments themselves. The one device can print and cure, whereas every other DTG requires a separate heat press for the curing,” he says.
“They can print on T-shirts, tea towels, pillow cases, aprons, and so on. A design
or image can be produced or shared and immediately sent across and printed – there’s
a wi-fi setting with the ability for someone to send images from smartphones, and have them printed straight away.”
According to Kraszewski, the low cost of entry and ease of use makes it ideal for print businesses looking to enter new markets with minimal; investment. The Ri100 retails for less than $8000 through dealers.
“We had a customer who purchased one, made their money back in a few weeks, and switched up to the Ri3000,” he says. “It’s
a perfect way to test the market or offer something new to your clients where you can set it up and be operational within minutes.”
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