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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

Peloquin researched the direct-to-garment market, attended an industry trade show, assessed printed samples, and decided to purchase a garment inkjet printer from AnaJet. Scott Peloquin, co-owner of the company, says he liked the fact that the printer is made in North America and that he also was impressed with the efficiency of the printer’s bulk-ink-cartridge system and use of an Epson printhead. Another plus, he says, was the included training. According to Peloquin, the technology also has allowed the company to open doors into new markets with low capital investment.

“With an environmentally friendly printer like the AnaJet, short-run and personalized custom graphics are a breeze, and turnaround times are not a problem,” he says. “With the portability of the ma-chine, we have travelled to dog shows and printed custom dog apparel in our booth while customers wait.”

The company uses its AnaJet to print on T-shirts, sweatshirts/hoodies, towels, pillowcases, canvas prints, sweat pants, shorts, team uniforms, aprons, and other garments that are 100% cotton or a cotton blend. Peloquin has discovered a lucrative niche in custom animal apparel. Another profitable area for the company is in its alignment with a marketing company that pre-sells custom designs. The marketing company provides Peloquin with multiple designs that Peloquin produces on its AnaJet for pre-sale testing before moving the work to larger screen-printed production runs.

“I have found that this is a good concept for a lot of our customers,” Peloquin says. “We will come up with a few designs for our client, print one-off samples, sometimes on different-colored items, and they can pre-sell for a larger order that they will place with us at a later date. People like to see what the final product will look like. This way, our client doesn’t get stuck with extra inventory, and everyone seems happy. The cost of printing the samples is no big deal with a digital process.”

Peloquin noted only a few drawbacks with direct-to-garment printing. The first drawback is that, based on price point, single- and sometimes double-color and large print runs are more suited to screen printing. A second challenge is to know how the ink will lay down on certain materials. Peloquin explains that AnaJet has helped alleviate this problem by allowing the software to print a test patch to check different ink-flow rates to make sure ink bleeding does not occur.

Digital Edge Signs/JAB Sportswear


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