Awards & Engraving

Start Here October '19

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82 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 9 Direct-to-Substrate misconceptions about printheads clogging. "Printers often think, 'If I don't have clogging issues, my humid- ity level must be fine,'" says Combs. "Humidity levels below 40% will cause the print head to start to overheat." That overheating, Combs notes, will result in excessive cleaning of the printheads. To get acquainted with DTG, parties recommend doing some experimenting before advertising the ser- vice to the general public. Combs points out that when it comes to garment selection, shops should take their time exploring their options. "Pretreat several brands of T-shirts using the same pretreatment process," Combs says. "Then print them with the exact same graphic, using the exact same print settings." Decorators can use the best versions of the print as samples for their customers, and that way they'll know which brand of shirt to choose. Moreover, despite the service being known for its speediness, parties encourage newcomers to take it slow. "The primary challenge we (see) is a customer trying to do too much with their D2 machine too early," says Rumbaugh. Dialing in all the vital elements like rou- tine maintenance, best garment brands, a pretreatment process, and humidity balance will take precedence over making the sale. Adding it to the mix DTG works well as both a standalone discipline and a supplement to other decoration methods. Combs points out that on its own, shops can use direct-to-garment for full-color designs as well as photorealistic prints. These two options mean decorators can tackle those jobs that feature more complicated designs, as well as highly-per- sonalized goods like family photos or memorial prints. The short turnaround with DTG also means produc- ers can turn out a smaller job and charge a premium for 'rush' service. That model helps cut down on excessive inventory, Rumbaugh says, which benefits both the shop and the customer. "The old idea of customers having to order dozens of extra shirts 'just in case' and take the risk of having lots of shirts leftover that they can't sell is solved by DTG printing," he explains. "The customer can buy fewer shirts at a time (paying more for them), but their overall total will be about the same or less." If the shirts are used for purposes like fundraising, the client can now place follow-up orders throughout the year and manage their cash flow instead of ordering hundreds of shirts in one bulk quantity. Additionally, cleanup on most DTG printers is much less labor-intensive compared to washing out screens and squeegees. As a supplement to screen printing, Rumbaugh says DTG also works well for follow-up orders. "One of the most frustrating things a screen printer can deal with is taking down a six-screen print job, which took up 4–6 Typically shops will use DTG for orders that demand a short turnaround. (Image courtesy Epson) To get acquainted with DTG, parties recommend doing some experimenting before advertising the service to the general public. Before taking any jobs in, decorators should take time to learn the process and potentially take part in education from their manufacturer or dealer. (Image courtesy Equipment Zone) For curing direct-to-garment prints, producers will want to ensure the heating element is isolated from the printing area. (Image courtesy Same Day Tees)

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