DTG printing is assimple as using lightweight shirts. You'll also be able to track your ink usagedown to the last penny thanks to the RICOH Ri 1000 RIP software. On a whiteshirt, typical ink prices range from 10 to 20 cents per print. All the colors (CMYK)are only printed on the shirt once by the printer.
Because of this, eachprint is produced quickly and with very little ink. Putting on light shirts isas simple as it seems. As a result, extremely little ink is utilized andprinting is completed instantly. One of the most significant variables in DTGprinting pricing is to whom or where it is sold to build a market pricingstructure.
The Epson F2100 withgenuine ink can print a maximum of 61 shirts before screen printing goes abovethe limit. How much should I charge for my custom-printed t-shirts is one ofthe first business considerations that new buyers of DTG equipment will have tomake. DTG producers create their ink to safeguard their intellectual property,which drives up the cost of DTG ink for these two brands. DTG thereforecouldn't compete with screen printing for such straightforward, limited-colorpatterns. Screen printing preparation costs are impacted by Design 3's moreintricate design and additional colors, while DTG setup prices increasedsomewhat.
To effortlesslyintegrate full-color printed clothes production into any shop, digital printingoffers a variety of alternatives, so whether you are now in the appareldecoration sector (or are thinking about moving into it), you are undoubtedlyinterested in the idea. Due to its quick setup and straightforwardmanufacturing, digital decoration is also a great option for on-demand printingand short quantities.
Direct-to-garment(DTG) printing and dye sublimation, two of the most popular methods for appareldecoration, will be examined to gain a better knowledge of the advantages ofdigital printing (or sublimation, for short). They are significantly distinctin certain ways, although sharing some similarities.
The majority of thetime, a DTG printer places an image directly on the surface of a garment thatis mounted on a platen that slowly moves the garment through the machinebeneath the print head using a horizontally moving inkjet print head. Theprocedure involves using unique, fast-drying inks made especially for thefabric being printed, which is normally made of 100 percent cotton.
Instead ofsequentially applying the ink colors in layers, as is the case with screenprinting, they are applied continuously in a single plane. Although the inksare already dry when they are applied, they still need to be cured using a heatpress or drier after printing.
In contrast, thedigital dye technique known as sublimation is used to print photographic andgraphic images onto polymer and polyester surfaces. Sublimation dyes enter thesurface to recolor it from the inside out as opposed to the inks used in theDTG process, which apply color to the substrate's surface from the top down. Asa result, the chemistry of the two processes is very different, with DTGrelying on surface adhesion and sublimation on molecular bonding.
An image is printedonto sublimation transfer paper using an inkjet printer and sublimation dyes inthe sublimation process. The blank substrate is then covered with the printedtransfer paper using a heat press.
The sublimation inktransforms into a gas as a result of heat and pressure, which is simultaneouslyabsorbed by the substrate's opened polymers. (This oversimplified explanationof the procedure serves our objectives, although being inaccurate.) Thetransfer paper is taken off and thrown away after the heat treatment has beenfinished (approximately a minute). The sublimation dye is trapped on thesurface when the product cools (instead of on top). A high-resolution,long-lasting color that won't peel or fracture is the end product.Additionally, even after numerous washings, sublimation will not fade onclothing.
The drawback ofsublimation is that it can only be used on surfaces made of polymers, such assome kind of polyester in the case of clothing. However, sublimation is thebest procedure for the product given the rising demand for polyesterperformance wear.
The two digitalprocesses have now been briefly summarized, but how do DTG and sublimationcompare? Let's investigate further.
To print an image orgraphic, both techniques employ inkjet print heads. In the case of DTG, theprinter is either modified from an existing printer system or is constructedfrom the ground up with surface printing in mind. Office-style printers thatare readily available are used for desktop printing with sublimation (up toaround 13′′ x 19′′ fields), and professional printers are utilized for biggerformats. It should be emphasized that sublimation printers are used exactly as theyare out of the box; no alterations are made.
By combining basecolors that are formulated using formulas developed by the graphics software,inkjet print systems produce picture color. Digital printing gives you thefreedom to mix many unique color combinations without being constrained byprint stations or needles, in contrast to screen printing and embroidery, whichemploy pre-colored decorative materials (ink and thread).
Four, six, andeight-color variants of sublimation printers are available; this refers to thenumber of base colors that can be mixed, not the number of colors that can begenerated. To create more accurate color detail, such as realistic facial skintones when working with images, more base colors must be used. DTG printers arefour-color devices, and they are suitable for the majority of graphicalapplications, particularly clothing.
The fact that the inksand dyes will only adhere to the surfaces for which they were designed isanother important aspect of digital printing. DTG is generally used withcotton, whereas sublimation is only possible with polyester. Both will functionon materials that have been blended, although the colors can look washed out,faded, or muted.
It can be difficult toachieve consistent color output on the finished product with digital printingin general. Digital artwork developed with industry-standard software packageslike CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop, and Illustrator is a prerequisite for both theDTG and sublimation processes. To give precise color output to the print headproperly, however, requires a higher level of improvement.
Raster image processor(RIP) applications, which might not have been part of the initial equipmentpurchase, are necessary for DTG. Systems for sublimation require certainprinter drivers, color schemes, and profiles that are often supplied by themanufacturer.
WHITE INK, WHATABOUT IT?
This brings up afurther crucial point: how the color of the image is impacted by the color ofthe garment. White is without a doubt the ideal fabric color for printing ofany kind. The image color could degrade as soon as you enter something else.Thus, printing on colored clothing, especially dark clothing, presentsdifficulties. One approach for DTG printing is to utilize a chemicallyformulated ink known as "white ink."
When printing ongarments, white ink serves two objectives. It can be used as a foundation forimages on colored clothing as well as to replicate the color white on colorfulclothing.
Different ratios ofbase colors are combined to produce digital colors (mixing). Unfortunately, nocombination of hues can create the color white, hence white ink must bedeveloped as a separate, stand-alone ink.
Graphics programsoften leave any white portions in a design "open" in the belief thatthey will be applied to a white surface because there is no recipe for thecolor white. In that case, the background color generates the necessary whiteby filling in the space. However, the claimed white portions would suddenly beblue if the same image were used on a blue shirt, which might not be the bestoption. With a white ink system, an instruction instructing the printer to usethe white ink (from a separate cartridge) when necessary is delivered, enablingprinting of the color white.
Base coat productionis the second feature of white ink. When printing digitally, a tiny layer ofink or dye is used, which means the colors of the ink and the fibers will mixand perhaps change the color of the image. Applying a foundation layer of whiteink, which masks the background color, can counteract this effect so that theimage is applied to a white background rather than directly against the colorof the clothing. Although it seems simple enough, there is much more to thisprocedure.
White ink needs to beboth thin enough to pass through the inkjet nozzle and thick enough to lay downa good foundation. It must also cure rapidly to prevent any quality problemswhen other inks are layered on top of it. Chemically speaking, it must begin"drying" the moment it touches the fabric of the garment.
This is achieved by atwo-pronged strategy. The white ink itself needs to be designed to heal quicklyas the first factor. The second is that before printing, a secondary chemicalknown as a pre-treatment is often put to the surface of the garment. The curingperiod is hastened when the white ink comes into contact with thepre-treatment, allowing manufacturing to continue as usual. As a result,there's no need to wait for drying to finish.
Early white inksystems had a reputation for print head clogging and drying out, which resultedin costly repairs. Technology has significantly enhanced the process, and ifyou completely comprehend how your system operates and adhere to themanufacturer's instructions, you should, for the most part, have few problems.
Since white ink is notrequired for every work, not all DTG printers provide it. But weigh yournecessity against your want before insisting on having white ink capabilities.There are some difficulties with white ink, one of which is that artwork mustbe altered to suit white ink. Therefore, be aware of what you are getting into,especially since it frequently increases the cost and level of manufacturingcomplexity.
Can white ink be usedfor sublimation? It is not accessible. Alternative techniques include alloversublimation, in which you apply a picture to cover the entire surface of ashirt. Starting with a white shirt, you can add graphics and recolor it all atonce (per side). It is becoming more and more well-liked for producingretail-inspired designs for a variety of market segments, but it does require awide-format printer and heat press.
RANG AND PRICE
When it comes toprinting on colored surfaces, DTG beats out sublimation, but sublimation winsout when it comes to the variety of products that can be embellished. Plaques,awards, promotional items, photo panels, memorial products, signage,flip-flops, koozies, flags, tiles, iPhone covers, laptop sleeves, stadiumseats, acrylics, and other items are examples of merchandise that are ready forsublimation. Numerous products can be decorated with a single machine!
Moving on to expenses,both systems produce images with similar production rates, with the media costsfor a large, full-color image average of around $1. However, there arenoticeable disparities between the two in terms of initial costs. Costs for DTGprinters start at around $16,000 and go up from there. On the other hand, abasic desktop sublimation system costs as little as $575 (without a heat press)and as much as $2,500.
Which system issuperior to the other? It all depends on what you need. Take the time todetermine the ROI for each, which goes much beyond the cost of the equipmentbecause you also want to take adaptability into account. Depending on yourcompany's needs, which technique will offer you the broadest selection ofdecorative services and product options? In the long run, the response to thatquery will result in the greatest business. Be diverse, original, and mostimportantly, successful!
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