July '22

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4 4 G R A P H I C S P R O J U L Y 2 0 2 2 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M Artwork generation for most print production methods is also similar. e main difference in preparation for DTF versus sub- limation, for instance, is that designs need a transparent back- ground as this is what the RIP software uses to generate the white ink layer, according to Copeland. Sublimation is like DTF in the sense that you print onto a sheet and then transfer the image to the garment, Bianco explains. However, the process varies with how the sublimation toner is printed onto a sheet and is pressed. "While curing, the ink embeds into the fabric through the sub- limation process, which means printed toner moves from a solid state. Once heated into a gaseous state, it becomes one with the garment. Once cooled, the ink is trapped within the garment. Also, sublimation only works on polyester or mostly poly gar- ments that are white or light in color," she says. "Since it ( DTF) is digital, it allows for variable data and sizes without any special set up – much like DTG printing. Press times are short – typically 10 seconds followed by a five-second finish- ing press." says Copeland. "With a transfer, there is no 'commit- ment' to the garment until it is sold." For designs that are reordered on a regular basis (such as school logos, curated art, stock designs, etc.) shops can keep an inven- tory of transfers printed and ready to go on demand. Other than expanded apparel range offerings (more fabrics, more customization, lower minimums), a DTF printer can lend the opportunity for a business to sell wholesale transfers. "Many screen printers need short run prints for reorders, vari- able-size prints, and customization work (names/numbers, etc.). Tourist destination shops like you find in beach towns, moun- tain getaways and the like will often keep inventory of transfers and press their own shirts as needed," Copeland elaborates. "On top of these you can also press transfers to bags, caps, patches, and more." e addition of DTF technology allows a business to diversify their product portfolio without the need for substantial initial investment, says Fischer. MAKING THE INVESTMENT Copeland says that good commercial solutions will range from the mid-$20,000 to mid-$30,000 range. e price mostly depends on the quality, size, and speed of the equipment. Depending on the dealer, the investment typically includes: Tourist destination shops you find in beach towns and mountain getaways will often keep inventory of transfers and press their own shirts as needed. (Image courtesy OmniPrint International)

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