Sign & Digital Graphics

April '18

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54 • 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 "Some companies will be better suited to handle more process steps than others. Prospective buyers need to understand how it fits their business," Perrelli says. So when choosing a direct-to-gar- ment printer, companies need to revisit their business plan. If they are looking to get into the performance wear and synthetic garments market, "there aren't as many options available to accomplish that as there are for cotton," he says. Crocker adds that different printers fit different needs. If the printer wants to do high-end custom shirts and charge a premium that will determine the specs they are looking for in a printer. "If you are going for high design and really high quality prints, you are not as concerned about the speed but are absolutely concerned about the color and accuracy of the print, high resolu- tion and all that," Crocker says. If they are going for high production, they will want to get a faster printer. Small printers are great for someone who wants to take them to an event and print out a handful of shirts there. AnaJet and Ricoh developed a CMYK direct-to-garment printer that is less than $5,000, says Crocker. It doesn't do white ink, so a business is limited to printing on light garments. It is also entry-level, so it is slower than other machines. "But for someone literally just starting out, who don't have a T-shirt portion of their business and wants to try it out, this is going to be a good option for that, a low-cost investment," Crocker says. The machine is the size of a desktop printer but a little bit taller. It is based off a sublimation printer that Ricoh makes. It includes a curing unit, instead of hav- ing a separate heat press, so a print shop would not need as much space to fit it into its current location. It will be avail- able in the spring. Direct Color Systems' UV printers can print both synthetic and cotton gar- ments without a harsh chemical pretreat- ment. They also can be used to print on more rigid substrates like water bottles or signage, Perrelli adds. Print shops need to ask themselves whether they need that type of versatil- ity in their business or if they are strictly looking for a direct-to-garment printer that will print on dark garments. "There are options out there for varying levels of applications and price points. Seeing demos, reviewing samples and seeing what else the technology is capable of are all things prospective buy- ers should review," he says. If a print shop is entering into the direct-to-garment market, they need to make sure their space is controlled for (Image courtesy of Direct Color Systems) (Image courtesy of Kornit Digital North America)

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