Published on January 27th, 2020 | by Ali Dino0
The History of DTG Printing
Direct to Garment Printing, popularly known as DTG printing is an excellent way of getting prints on fabric, other than screen printing. This industry dates back to 2005 when it was first launched in the USA.
Well, just like any other technological developments that have spanned numerous changes in the recent decade, DTG printed t-shirts are getting better day by day. The printing has evolved from using a single color print to using multiple color prints, including yellow color on black garments.
DTG Baby Steps
Years before 2005, the only option printing entrepreneurs had access to was screen printing. You’ve probably had an experience with screen printing because most t-shirts back then were printed in that similar manner. Mimaki & U.S. Screen are the first revolutionaries who came up with the First T-Jet printer that was officially manufactured in Japan.
After that, Brothers launched their GT-541as a light solution that printed shirts only. This brand later dominated many printing shops in the streets of New York as Brother Graffitee DTG Printer line. Several innovations and attempts to better DTG culminated in the launching of the Kiosk brand in Singapore at ITMA Asia.
This brand opened the whole world into the opportunity of DTG printing as the printers did not cost much as their counterparts. Moreover, these machines were user-friendly with automated head cleansers and ink chip resetting.
The White Ink Revolution
Initially, it was almost neighing impossible to have white color printings on heavy fabric. In fact, printing was only done with light colors, because when you add an intense color on another one, you get a mixture of something different, especially on dark garments.
However, at the end of 2005, white inked was developed as a pretreatment process for printing other colors. This ink was exclusive for use in Fast T-Jet printers of the U.S. Screen brand.
The white ink was later released to other vendors in the industry a year later.
The industry saw the need to control the use of white ink, as many colors had different properties. DTG HM1, at its early conception, came up with a large bottle with a magnetic stir pill, which significantly minimized settling. HM1 later upgraded to the HM1-C, which stepped up with a Circulation System as a replacement for the stir pill.
Modern DTG Printing
The DTG printing industry spun for nearly four years before other innovations knocked on the printers. Of course, there were multiple attempts to customize the printers and printing designs in between the years, but most of them were in-house based on legendary designers.
In 2009, renovations started knocking the industry and following modern DTG printing machines were open to the world of possibilities:
Viper DTG Printing
The Viper DTG is the first modern printer to be launched back then in 2009. The printer is massive and requires a bigger shop space. It has a unique belt-fed system that feeds in the garment into the printer. The belt system operates the same way conveyor belts work.
The main advantage that this printer has over its predecessors is that it can print multiple garments at a go, thanks to its 4-2-1 platen system. The printer also had a pressurized mechanism that tackles ink flow during massive production.
DTG M2 Printing
Most DTG brands had been relying on the services of Epson printers, until in late 2011 when DTG M2 was first launched at the Fort Worth ISS Show. Today, Epson continues leading the market with models built on the success of previous generation printers, such as the Epson SureColor F2100 direct to garment printer. The engineering process that develops this kind of printing eliminates any ink chips and waste counters to reset.
Consequently, this technology has doubled the productivity of the first DTG printers. Now, the best thing about this printer does not only revolve around its worldwide acceptance but has also revolutionized DTG printing on an array of fabric. For instance, it is now possible to have direct prints on blue jeans, beach towels, and even duvets!
DTG Viper2 Printing
The latest millennial achievement in the DGT industry is the launch of Viper2 printers, an extension, and improvement of the original Viper brand. The Viper2 has seen important breakthroughs that have proved reliable and efficient in as far as printing is concerned.
These include the cartridge-based printing system, doorway dimensions, and the 4-2-1 platen system. The first breakthrough ensures minimum waste of ink when printing as the design is based on a short ink life run. The printer also fits through a standard doorway, not to forget that it can print up to four t-shirts at once.