Yes that is a true statement. It is now possible to offer same day tee shirt printing using a Direct To Garment system of printing.
To explain how it is done just review what it takes to print for example an 8 color design on a basic tee shirt.
A 8 color design will require 8 screens and one screen for applying the white ink on a dark garment.
Art separation is the first item to get done
Prepare the films for each color
Burn the screens
Wash out the screens
Dry screens and block out the design
Align the screens for registration
Print a sample or press check
Clean up the screens
Breakdown the carousel and set up for next order
Now let’s examine the DTG process.
Create art on the computer
Save art as a PNG file
Upload to RIP software
Transfer design to printer and print
Cure design and it’s done.
The advantage of time is so important now that clients are getting accustomed to same day service. This is pure hell for a screen printer who has to try and meet customer demands.
The old days of delivery in less than two weeks is starting to exit the process. Customers want it now. Decosource has 3 state of the art Kornit printers which allows us to make a same day delivery. Our motto in by 10 out by 5 will hold up.
DTG printed garments are now holding up under heavy washing and can go toe to toe with screen printing when it comes to the life of the garment.
The two scenarios above resulted in the fact that the DTG process is more efficient than the screen printing process. The screen print would take at least 5 hours where the DTG would take less than a hour.
This is a process used when printing on dark shirts with water based inks. The pre-treatment is like a primer to make the ink adhere to a cotton garment. This prevents the inks from migrating through the fabric which will create a faded or ugly color finish. It is a mandatory process when direct to garment printing on dark shirts that a pre-treatment be used.
Printing on white shirts is not a problem because the CYMK will work perfect. It is the white ink when printing on darks that creates problems. The white ink has to be applied before printing the dark inks on dark colored shirts. Think white background so the colors will be vibrant and jump out at you. The pretreatment prevents the white ink from soaking into the shirts and distorting the colors.
Some ink manufacturers recommend you wear a respirator and wear protective clothing when applying the pre-treatment solution. This is awkward and not condusive to production efficiency.
There are three methods to apply pre-treatment.
The slowest process
The slowest is to use a hand held print sprayer loaded with solution. This spraying is really time consuming as you have to heat the shirts after applying the solution in a heat press machine to get the pretreatment to fix itself to the garment and make it ready for printing.
Second method is slightly better
The second method is to use a machine specifically designed to apply the pre-treatment solution. The machine looks like a dryer. It does have a conveyor belt which you put the shirt on and then send through the tunnel to be sprayed with the pre-treatment. Coming out of the tunnel the shirt still has to be heated and pressed in a clam shell heat seal machine to make ready for printing.. Again you have poor productivity.
Kornit process is the best
The third method which is the best is that the pre-treatment and printing is done is one process. The shirt is put on the platen and sent through the printer. The process is apply pre-treatment then in the next step is to apply the ink. (all in one step) The final step is to run the shirt through a dryer and it is ready to deliver to your customer.
This process is the best, most efficient and patent protected. Other companies do not and cannot offer this system for printing. The key is the patent which protects the complete system.
Productivity is fantastic with the new Kornit printers achieving a speed of 60 shirts to 200 per hour. At Deco Source (formerly Northwest Embroidery) we have the largest Kornit plant in the Pacific Northwest.