Over the past 12 months we’ve seen an unbelievable surge in on-demand printing and DTG is taking center stage. But what exactly is on-demand printing?
Think about ordering a t-shirt online. You find the brand or logo you want, the right color and size, add it to your cart and check out. Is it truly that simple? For the consumer, yes. They believe when they find that shirt online that it already exists and is sitting on a shelf waiting to be shipped. In reality, this is when the decorator takes over!
For most online printed apparel sales, the decorator does not have any stock committed to a specific logo. They house blanks in specific colors and size ranges that work with all the digital assets (logos) they offer. Once the shirt is ordered online, the printer’s system creates an internal work order that states the style, color and size of the shirt, the location and size of the print and in most cases, it generates a bar code that will pull the image down from the cloud. When the shirt(s) arrive to the print station, the operator scans this barcode, does a visual check of the art, shirt size, color and loads the shirt to be printed.
Wait. Did I forget a step? “What about the pre-treatment?” I hear you asking. Good question.
Traditionally, all DTG printers require a pre-treatment on each shirt. The ink these machines use needs a coating that allows the white ink to stay on the top of the fibers and creates a base for the color to be printed on. On most machines, this process is a separate pre-production step and requires either a hand sprayer or an additional machine to treat the garment. From personal experience I can tell you this process can be messy! Pre-treat can have a host of potential issues, like staining the garment, scorch rings from the heat press, chemical smells, and bad prints from not enough or too much pre-treat. Getting it just right can truly be a science. And what about the space needed? Whether you are hand-spraying or have a pre-treat machine, it all takes valuable space in a production shop.
Another issue is the limitation on what can be printed. Most pre-treats are only good for cotton and blends that have heavy cotton content. So, what if you want to use the ever-popular tri-blend or performance polyester? These fabric types are very popular and many want to use them in the on-demand space.
Enter SanMar and our new Perfect Tri® DTG Tee from District® – the industry’s first DTG-ready tri-blend tee! This shirt is pre-treated with an innovative proprietary technology that is ready to print out of the box. Where can I print on the shirt, you ask? The DM130DTG is treated all over, with the treatment incorporated into the fabric before the shirt is assembled. Inside, outside, sleeves, front, back, neck label…you can print literally everywhere on it.
Imagine a world without the need to pre-treat. We are working on making it happen! Starting with our most popular tri-blend, we have solved the problem of DTG printing on the most popular style in the industry today. We are now moving on to solve polyester and yes, we will have a 100% cotton as well! So, what does this mean for the DTG print shop?
- No pre-treat equipment needed = Less space required for machines
- No pre-treat chemicals = No chemical stains or smells, no press rings
- No pre-treat process = Print on-site at events, respond faster to trends, offer more than just cotton
- No pre-treat = Less cost, more efficiency
Print away my friends!