EducationQ&A

Should I invest in a DTG machine or printer/cutter?

The answer lies in your product mix. If you are a screen printer or embroiderer, e-commerce, or kiosk business, and your product mix is heavy on cotton garments, direct-to-garment is an excellent choice. With the ability to print great detail and fades, direct-to-garment provides a super soft hand and a durable print.

DTG printers can successfully print on 90/10 cotton/polyester, 80/20 cotton/polyester, and even some 70/30 cotton/polyester blends. When you start to expand into activewear and uniforms made of polyester, Lycra, Spandex, and nylon, more factors play into the success formula.

One challenge is the coatings and treatments commonly used on performance fabrics. Unless you have tested a specific brand and garment, you may find that a finish will affect the DTG inks’ ability to bond with the material. This bonding issue can result in dye migration during the curing process and even in the wash/dry cycle when laundering. However, advancements in this area are making polyester printing easier than in years past.

Because most businesses need to print on more than cotton, having the ability to offer an alternative in the form of a printer/cutter allows you to meet a broader product demand from their clients.

Moisture-wicking, Lycra/Spandex blends, coated polyesters, nylons, and even vinyl are common substrates in today’s promotional landscape. Backpacks, umbrellas, cinch bags, leather padfolios, and vinyl beach bags are available through full-line dealers. With a vinyl cutter/printer, you can produce full-color logos on these items.

Polyester fabrics have dye migration issues, especially when temperatures get above 295 degrees F, but with printable heat-applied materials with a charcoal-backed adhesive, decorators can inhibit it. 

When you decide it’s time to go digital, be sure to look at your goals and current client needs. Both processes allow for quick and impressive results with relative ease in countless colors and limited cleanup. Digital is the way of the future, so now is the time to look at your options for doing so in your decoration business.

   —GroupeSTAHL

Brian Pursel

Related Articles

Check Also
Close
Back to top button