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The DTG User Experience

(March 2009) posted on Sat Mar 07, 2009

Sampling, prototyping, and on-demand printing are some of the benefits direct-to garment inkjet printers represent. Discover how four companies have made these machines important parts of their businesses.

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By Ben P. Rosenfield and Lori Leaman

If Jackson has a complaint, it’s that turning the machines on or off uses a lot of ink. “It does a purge process, where it puts some ink through the heads and cleans everything. They’re concerned about keeping the nozzles clear, and they lean more on that side vs. ink consumption,” he says.

In terms of print quality, Jackson says he’s found that dialing in the necessary pretreatment is one of the most important parts of getting premium output. He explains that the pretreatment must be tuned to the absorbency of the garment and that properly matching the two can deliver an exceptional print that really stands out visually.

“If your vendor then decides to get a shipment from a different manufacturing location (country of origin), then that absorbency depends on where the cotton came from, and all of these things will change a little bit and affect your vibrancy,” he explains. “You can get in-to the domino effect in complexity, but once you get the system working, it’s very impressive—and now they have the pretreatment all built in and it sprays it and prints. That seems to work very well.”

Perhaps the biggest benefit Jackson sees is the ability to offer customers a large assortment of apparel from which to choose. He also says it’s really nice to be able to go from one product type to another in the same run.

Peloquin Promotional Printing

Peloquin Promotional Printing, Aylmer, Ontario, Canada, is a family-owned business. When Peloquin opened in 1994, the company provided computer art and prepress services and then used its experience to offer print brokering services. Eventually, the shop developed into a full promotional-products business.

Peloquin became interested in direct-to-garment technology as a solution to problems the shop had with its screen-printing suppliers. Additionally, the company’s space requirements, small order sizes, and need for full-color printing made digital apparel decoration seem like a logical choice. Easy computer-file setup and a clean production process, free of harsh chemicals, also would be ideal for an office setting.


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