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What Is DTG Printing?

Direct-to-garment (DTG) is a digital printing method that uses inkjet technology to print directly onto textiles. Think of it as an inkjet printer, but for shirts. Typically, a DTG printer has printing stations with interchangeable pallets that hold a garment in a fixed position while moving print heads spray the ink onto the garment.

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The power of our DTG Machines

01

High Output & Quality

Our DTG printers can precisely reproduce even the most detailed and photo realistic images in a phenomenally fast time.

02

Best Service & Support

You and your employees will receive extensive training in the operation and maintenance of the printers by our team of technicians. In case of questions or problems, our dedicated service team is ready to help you with advice and support.

03

Developed & Produced In Austria

As a modern, innovative technology company, our HQ and production facility is in Austria. We and all of our employees are proud of this because it is an important contribution to the development of our region.

04

Sustainability

We take the environment very seriously and it is our responsibility to set new standards. For this reason, we work as closely as possible with local suppliers. We only use GOTS® & OEKO-TEX® certified, water-based inks and continuously minimise the energy consumption of our machines.

05

Automation

Our DTG printers make it easier than ever to connect to popular e-commerce providers such as Shopify™, Shopware™ and social media marketplaces like Instagram™ and Facebook™.

06

Everything From One Single Source

We are your professional contact for solutions in the digital textile printing sector. We provide DTG printers, pretreatment machines, dryers, folding machines and liquids – everything you need for a functioning textile print production.

Why choose DTG printing?

Even one-offs are profitable. And you can run up to 5X more jobs in the same amount of time.

See how you can run a 6-colour job up to 7x faster.

There are no design and colour limits. Our industrial print heads enable unprecedented print resolution.

The RIP on every aeoon printer enables precise CMYK colour profiling for superior colour accuracy and quality.

Parts of an image that match the garment’s colour are automatically removed, using less ink for better quality and a softer feel.

Our printers integrate into your existing ordering and production processes, whether partly or fully automated.

Should you invest in DTG printing?

Understanding the benefits, costs and ROI of DTG.

Personalised garments are a hot commodity in today’s consumer-driven e-commerce era. Whether to promote a brand, raise awareness for a cause or show your support for a team, people want personalised t-shirts on-demand—but often in one-offs or low quantities.

Does adding DTG make sense for you?

As consumer demand and expectations increase, digital printing is becoming key to competitiveness and business growth. Digital printing is a considerable investment however so it’s crucial you work with a partner who will help you evaluate your options and explain processes, costs and ROI over time. The right solution will expand your capabilities, increase efficiencies, delight customers and ultimately multiply your profits.

Screen printing challenges

The trend toward short runs poses a serious business risk for traditional screen printers that need larger orders in order to remain profitable. Pair that risk with staff shortages and an “order today, receive it tomorrow” mentality, and it’s no surprise direct-to-garment printing has grown exponentially. Many traditional screen printers have added a DTG printer to expand market reach and meet customer demand. In fact, according to a report done by Grand View Research, the digital printing segment is expected to emerge as the fastest-growing t-shirt printing segment, registering a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 10.7% from 2021 to 2028.

DTG trend mirrors paper industry trends

The garment industry’s move to DTG resembles the paper industry’s transition to digital presses starting in the early 1990s. Much like garment printing, small paper print runs were prohibitively expensive, needed several weeks of lead time, and mistakes were very costly for the customers and printers alike. As digital printing gained popularity, more and more printers made the leap, investing in digital presses, learning how to optimise the output and quickly realising the benefits of profitably printing any size job. Now, digital printing is standard and only the largest print jobs are run on an offset press.

Using DTG to augment screen printing

While digital is becoming the new standard, that doesn’t mean screen printers today need to completely switch over. Traditional screen printing still has an advantage when it comes to printing large quantities. However, if you have DTG capability too you don’t have to turn away small orders which are in high demand or miss out on jobs due to lack of time or manpower. Benefits, costs and ROI must be analysed to see how adding DTG would affect your organisation.

Evaluating the benefits of DTG

DTG provides considerable benefits for growing your business and boosting customer satisfaction, retention and referrals.

Accept more jobs due to faster print times

Adding DTG printers to your operations will help you print more jobs per day. What’s more, when you want to run the same job again, all you have to do is press a button since the design settings are already saved in the printer.

Never turn down a small job

Since digital printing requires no setup or teardown tasks, the cost per print remains very low for small jobs, making even one-offs profitable. Expanding your offerings will enable you to better compete and meet consumer demand.

Start automating ordering and production

E-commerce has become the expectation, and the t-shirt industry is no exception. Not only does an online ordering and barcode system simplify the process for the customer, but your shop floor and production processes will be much more efficient. While it may not be necessary to add automation right away, DTG printers give you the flexibility to grow into e-commerce and automation when you are ready.

Reduce labor requirements

Don’t turn down jobs because you don’t have enough manpower or time in the day. With digital, all it takes is one operator per DTG printer—and the steps are fast, simple and easy to learn. Free up staff for other important tasks.

Provide creative freedom to designers

Gain new business and delight existing customers by removing all limits to design and colour. Industrial print heads enable unprecedented print resolution, colourful jobs don’t take more time, and CMYK colour profiling and spot colours cover a wide range of Pantone colours.

What to consider when choosing a DTG printer

There are many types of DTG printers that range in price and quality, so it’s important you find the best one for the way you work. Here are six key areas to consider to make sure you get the most out of your investment.

1. What is your daily production?

DTG printing is a substantial investment, so depending on your print volume, it may or may not make sense for your operations. For example, with the aeoon Maikuro DTG printer, you’d want to be reaching a minimum volume of 150 shirts/day. The aeoon Compact model is best for 300 shirts/day and the KYO 12-3 is ideal for 800 shirts/day or more. Evaluate what throughput is needed to see an ROI. The KYO 12-3 would pay for itself for the rest of the month if it ran at full capacity for three full production days—which means you would be earning profit the other three weeks of the month. Work with a partner who will help you understand the best option for your production volume and the way you work.

2. Are quality and ink usage optimised?

Quality prints keep customers coming back and grow your referral business. Printhead performance is critical to print resolution. For each printer you are considering, ask what the smallest picoliter droplet size the printheads are capable of as well as the maximum dots-per-inch (DPI). Colour accuracy is also vital since digital printers use CMYK. Ideally, the printer’s raster image processor (RIP) enables precise CMYK colour profiling that covers an extensive range of PMS colours, without requiring additional spot colours. Ink savings are also realised with a RIP that removes parts of an image that match the garment’s colour.

3. Is continuous training and responsive support provided?

You’re not just choosing a printer, you’re choosing a partner. DTG is an evolving market and the learning curve can seem overwhelming at times. Your partner should be consultative and collaborative, helping determine and develop the best solution for the way you work. Continuous training should be provided to ensure you’re always maximising your investment. Having a dedicated support team is just as important. On-site and remote support options, as well as preventative maintenance visits, will ensure downtime is minimised.

4. What is the useful life and cost per print?

The total cost of ownership includes initial price, weekly output, ink costs, operator costs and more. Ideally, you want a printer that’s capable of the highest output with one operator to achieve the lowest cost per print. Reliability and useful life are other big considerations. True industrial-grade printers, such as the aeoon KYO 12-3 have a useful life of about 15 years which can be more than double the life of other available printers.

5. Is the pretreatment process kept offline?

Separating critical processes is crucial to minimise failure points and downtime, and maximise efficiencies. Machines that integrate printing with other processes—such as pretreating and drying—have far too many failure points that put your entire operation at risk. For example, with an inline pretreatment process, if the pretreatment nozzle ever experiences an issue, your entire print operation goes offline. In addition, textile manufacturers are starting to launch pretreated garments which will eventually eliminate the pretreatment step.

6. Will the printer integrate and be scalable long-term?

Avoid printers that come with proprietary software. Proprietary software limits your ability to choose the software that best matches your business model, and restricts your ability to change or add software solutions. Choose a printer that will integrate with a software solution of your choice to ensure the solution is scalable as your business grows.

Calculating the opportunity
cost of not adding DTG

With DTG, the time savings realised from running jobs faster translates into more revenue opportunities. The below example breaks down the total time and costs to run a 4-colour, 75-shirt job.
While digital will always have higher consumables per shirt and production costs, setup and teardown are eliminated which reduces time and cost overall significantly.
Based on timings across the two options you would be able to run SEVEN different artworked 4 colour x 75 shirt jobs in the same time it takes to run ONE screen job when you consider all the set up and teardown - multiplying your revenue up to 7x in three hours! Using the example below of a £6 profit per shirt, this translates to your business making £2,782.50 profite instead of £330.00!

In addition, with DTG you can print high-colour-count designs and even full-colour photographs. Most important, more colours won’t mean more hours. For example, for a 6-colour, 75-shirt job, screen printing time increases to 4.1 hours, while digital stays the same: 30 minutes. When using DTG to augment your screen printing operations, this example shows how you can run colourful jobs up to 7X faster.

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