The use of digital textile printing machines for direct-to-garment (DTG), continues to grow rapidly and is gaining popularity worldwide. As a technology built to deliver speed to market, it’s built for on-demand production and as such sustainable manufacturing—driving down inventory and production costs. This article is written by Debbie McKeegan, a textile expert and WhatTheyThink contributor. It focuses on DTG opportunities as well as the expanding field of direct to-film garment printing.
(Image courtesy Texintel
The direct-to-garment (DTG), production is growing steadily with a predicted vertical ascent. The DTG digital textile printing machine continues to be a highly successful business model that is gaining momentum worldwide. As a technology built to deliver speed to market, it’s built for on-demand production and as such sustainable manufacturing—driving down inventory and production costs.
DTG printing is expected to grow at an 8.3% annual growth rate to US$1,820 millions by 2032, from US$822million in 2022 (FMI). This is more than a doubling of the global market in a decade, many experts pointing out the unique advantages of direct to garment printing. These advantages include ease of entry, a “nil finished inventory” business model, and moving in lockstep with the market shift to customization and print-on-demand ecommerce.
Innovations are a key driver for the sector.
Kornit Digital (KD) has made considerable strides with its inks particularly for polyester fabrics, where its Neopigment™ Olympia ink is its unique, innovative ink for high-quality printing on polyester, delivering a wider color gamut, solid color coverage, and precise Pantone color-matching. This eco-friendly ink was specifically developed for Kornit systems and is made in-house.
You will enjoy outstanding durability and hand feeling, as well as a higher L value and greater opacity for bright print. Additionally, you can get increased strength and flexibility to increase print elongation. These attributes ensure that KD machinery meets the highest standards of retail quality and durability.
DTF (direct–to-film technology) is a promising option for greater success. This area of print is fast and thick for quick garment production. DTF printing is one the most versatile methods in the print industry. It offers incredible color vibrancy, as well as fabric versatility. DTF printing can be used with many fabrics, including nylon, fleece, nylon and classic cotton.
DTF printing refers to printing a design onto PET Film (a special film with an adhesive coating that helps transfer designs). This is done using water-based and powder inks. The PET film’s design is then heat transferred onto fabric with a heat press. This printing method is durable and the design’s print quality is impressive, detailed, and the colors vibrant.
Roland DG and Mutoh are the leaders in this field with their BN-20d, Mutoh and Sublistar, respectively, with their VJ 628d and DTF 6002 Pro max DTF lines. Ricoh offers DTF printer options.
There are many apparel manufacturers that produce blank apparel and they are eager to supply DTG. A wide variety of blank apparel is available to potential producers, including T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, and V-necks. They can find it all at Bella Canvas and Fruit of the Loom in America, as well as many European wholesalers. The demand for responsibly-sourced apparel is growing and the DTG industry is adapting to ensure that organic, certified and recycled polyester print bases and rPET recycled polyamide print bases are available.
The Brother GTX Pro bulk is your best option for sheer production and low prices. It can produce 14,000 T-shirts per week in a single 8-hour shift. Brother DTG Direct to Garment Printer Inks are manufactured according to Brother DTG’s exclusive formulation, providing the best possible results from a DTG printer.
These Brother Direct to Garment Printer Inks are among the first to not only carry the Oeko-Tex® Certification, but also to be GOTS APPROVED and CPSIA-compliant to help ensure they are safe for printing and are environmentally responsible. They also have the highest washfastness in DTG.
The Kornit Digital DTG range is a new line of machines that will provide the highest in speed and efficiency as well as flexibility and profitability.
As if the XDI profile ink system isn’t enough, Kornit machines from the Atlas to the Vulcan provide the perfect platform for an up-to-date and profitable digital printroom and, in 2023, Kornit is about to promote its new Apollo system. The manufacturer recently unveiled the Apollo machine, which uses its Max technology to offer “the highest retail quality combined with full automation control and integrated smart curing processes.”
The printer also utilizes technology from Lichtenau, Germany-based Tesoma, Kornit’s most recent acquisition. Kornit said, “the single-step end-to-end system addresses accelerated post-pandemic market trends for streamlined supply chains and production nearshoring.”
After early customer engagements in 2022, it is expected that the product will be available by mid-2023.
Direct-to-garment is on the rise thanks to innovation, efficiency, speed of production and other factors.
The machinery agenda is also moving at a rapid pace: we are seeing the birth of the hybrid. Hybrid DTG printing is a combination of screen printing and digital print. This technology has attracted particular attention. Aeoon’s Kyo Hybrid DTG printer is an outstanding example. The Kyo Hybrid Series combines both screen and digital textile printing. It is the perfect printer for high-volume production and has unique production flexibility.
A combination of screen printing or DTG printing can be combined. This combination delivers a great finish and significant savings on the ink consumption.
DTG success stories range from Inkthreadable, Printful and more. The DTG sector is meeting the market expectations of a textile industry with strong and unstoppable growth. We have a lot of things to look forward to over the next few years with the addition of DTF technologies as well as hybrid print solutions.