February '23

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7 6 G R A P H I C S P R O • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M A P P A R E L D E C O R A T I N G and then heat press the product. It is a good process overall to get you by, but not the most cost-effective one in the end, though it also takes up very little space. Screen printing is one of the older print- ing processes on the market and still a top-quality option, but it can take up much more space and isn't very clean. You need space to print your positives and clean, spray out, and expose screens, plus a dark room/dryer room and space to print. Around 14 years ago, when we started in screen printing, our original print area was only 600 square feet. Today it is no more than 1,200 square feet. With screen print- ing you can print onto just about any fab- ric, but the issues are curing the ink and avoiding dye migration with some of the chemicals being used in the dyes of the fabrics. Another issue is how long it takes to train someone on the entire process of screen printing and the attention to detail that it requires. en you have the amount of space and supplies needed. Again, still a top-notch, quality process, hands down. So again, why DTF? You have so many options already… I thought the same thing until I com- pleted my research. is was the one pro- cess that helped my entire company, start- ing with customer service. ey no lon- ger have to sell by number of colors or worry about PMS matches, and this goes on just about any fabric. And, it takes less time to train a new rep on how to sell DTF. With the other processes you have so much more to explain, like what they can or cannot go on, number of colors that can be printed, etc. From a design perspective, the design- ers do not have to worry about color lim- itations with DTF. Most customers' logos are two to four colors, which makes it dif- ficult at times to reduce the colors down to one or two for other processes. DTF also means the designer no longer has to worry as much about how small the design is since it is a digital print, whereas with apparel vinyl you can only go so small and have to take the time to create cut files as well as print files. On the screen-printing side, there was even more to worry about with creating positives for the designs, which is time consuming. With DTF, the designers can put all of their energy into the customer and the designs. Let's talk production. A DTF printer prints to a roll and then all you have to do is trim the transfers and heat press them onto the product, which is literally only a 15-second press. We have been able to press apparel at 270 degrees for as lit- tle as 10 seconds on some products. Why is this great news? You can now provide full-color prints on just about any fabric and avoid dye migration all together. You can also heat press a minimum of 40 to 100 full-color prints per hour depending on your placement and the item. Even 40 full-color prints per hour is huge. ink about it. With sublimation you can typi- cally get around 24 per hour and can only offer white apparel that is only polyester. With screen printing you have to worry about dye migration much more often along with the length of training, and if you wanted a full-color print, using a six- color manual or auto would only get you 24 to 48 pieces printed per hour at most. It is much easier to simply teach some- one how to operate a heat press, explain placements, and have them produce. Not to mention heat presses take up much less space than screen-printing presses. DTF solves so many printing issues, but what's the best part of all? You can print as many prints as you would like while print- ing for any and all customer orders and the cost per square inch is the same, no matter the size of your shop. is is a must-have process for all shops. And, the DTF equip- ment comes in a few different sizes. Our company went with the largest one to start since we knew with our volume, we could use it. Here's to the future of printing. GP Howard Potter and Mike Angel of ColDesi. Apparel vinyl is a process we offered to be able to put full-color images on any fabric for our online stores, but it was not a perfect solution since it can be time consuming to print, die-cut, weed, transfer, and then heat press the product.

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