Sign & Digital Graphics

September '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • September 2019 • 51 Hunter advises that, as a good rule of thumb, the cost of a dye-sublimation printer should roughly match your investment in an eco-solvent printer. However, dye-sublimation is a "two- step" process also requiring the purchase of a heat press, which can add another $4,000-$75,000 to the total cost. According to John Whitt, owner of Just Vision It in Lone Jack, Missouri, dye sublimation is "the up and coming new kid on the block." A long-time expert screen printer, Whitt has applied Six Sigma operational management skills to transform his business and many others over the years. For the past six years, he's devoted all his efforts to building Just Vision It, a wholesale custom fabricator of soft signage, tradeshow booths, event marketing, home décor and SEG fram- ing systems. While Whitt believes that dye-sub- limation is the way of the future, he strongly urges PSPs to research their options carefully before entering the mar- ket. Today's dye-sub printers offer high- quality, fast output production, however the production process can be affected by a wide variety of environmental factors (i.e., temperature humidity), and even the quality of the material you are using. "The science of dye-sublimation is easy, and the craft is familiar with belt pressure, air pressure and speed. But color manage- ment takes a lot more time and attention than you might think," he said. Direct-to-Garment (DTG) Printers Direct-to-garment printers are a great option for PSPs looking to print on light or dark cotton fabrics, and, like other the types of digital textile printers, they range in price and speed. DTG printers can produce an aver- age of 20 to 50 white shirts per hour. However, dark shirts take more produc- tion time, and require an additional pre- treatment step. Like dye-sublimation, direct-to-garment printing also requires an investment in a heat press. DTG users most often opt for a smaller clamshell heat press, which costs less than the larger calendar presses more typically used with dye-sublimation. Hunter notes that depending on your required output, there are smaller, more affordable DTG printers which can be a good option for an initial purchase. Roland's VersaSTUDIO BT-12 direct- to-garment printer, for example, has a compact footprint and an easy-to-use interface. Smaller D T G printers like the BT-12 also take out the complexity Images courtesy of Roland DGA

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