Sign & Digital Graphics

April '18

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52 • April 2018 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S SPECIALTY IMAGING DIGITAL GRAPHICS Paul Crocker, marketing director for AnaJet, says that it doesn't have to be "a formal business plan, but the key is to have a real plan for how they are going to get customers." Crocker says he has heard way too many stories about people who thought that if they bought a direct-to-garment printer, the customers would just come and that isn't always the case. "If I'm putting $15,000 to $20,000 into something, I want to make sure I'm confident I can start to make that money back or at least enough to make the pay- ments," he says. "From an operational standpoint, in direct-to-garment print- ing, printers like to run. They don't like to sit in a corner, so you'll eat up a lot of your overhead and are going to spend a lot of money maintaining the machine if you are not running it consistently pro- ducing customers' orders." Another thing companies should do when determining whether to enter the direct-to-garment market or not is to figure out how much space they need for the equipment. Some companies do make smaller direct-to-garment print- ers. Many people start their businesses in their garage because these machines don't take up a lot of space. Most machines are at least 3' x 3' and they go up from there, he says. Along with the printer itself, companies need floor space to work on the front of it, loading shirts, and room to put a heat press. "You don't want the press too close to the printer. You want to have a few feet of space between the heater and printer. It creates heat and drives out the air, which then will potentially give you issues with, primarily, your white ink," Crocker says. "You want to give yourself enough space between the two so the heat press doesn't impact the environment around it." Screen printers, who already have access to a tunnel dryer, can forego buy- ing a heat press, but shops that do not should buy a heat press with good pres- sure on it and make sure it is big enough to accommodate the largest print size their printer can produce, he adds. DTG- printed shirts that come out of a tunnel (Images courtesy of Direct Color Systems) The pink shirt is coming off the press of the Avalanche HD6, and shows the level of detail the printer can achieve. (Image cour- tesy of Kornit Digital North America) The "Miami Beach" photo shows a colorful pattern printed on one of Kornit's machines (using more colors than a screen printer can), on a polyester garment. (Image cour- tesy of Kornit Digital North America)

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