The DTG is NOT JUST FOR GARMENTS ANYMORE - In today's digital age, customers are asking for more from their vendors, and looking for one stop solutions to their needs. This fact is becoming more and more evident in the Awards & Engraving industry, with customers looking for ink printed promotional products from their Award/Engraving vendors. Enter the Direct to Garment printer (DTG), which while engineered to decorate apparel, has become a proven tool forprinting non-textiles.
Having grown through the challenges of infancy,DTGs have proven to be a valuable addition to an Award/Engraving shop. With the ability to print on not only garments, but a wide variety of non-textiles, this process has become an invaluable tool for many businesses to expand there product base amongst their existing customers.
The process for printing on non-textile goods requires a pre-treatment to be applied to the product prior to printing, allowing theink to properly adhere to the substrate. The second step is the actual printing, which from an ink cost is significantly less than the sublimation process. The final step is to cure the ink, which can be accommodated through application of an aerosol post-treatment (which also provides a protective finish), heat, or open air drying, depending on the product being printed.
The process has proven to be effective on canvas, plastic, wood, glass, ceramic tile, brick, cement, fiberglass and metal. With this versatility, the products that can be customized are too numerous to count. “I have customers send me a different product every week to sample out” says Heath Schumacher, a Product Specialist/Trainer, “and there have been only a couple items that I have been sent for which this process may not be the best solution”. Given the nature of a print head, the best results are seen on flat objects that can be printed as close to the print head as possible. Round items are tougher, but Heath has found success in printing on golf balls (print area of a nickel) and base balls (print area of a half dollar). Most recently, Heath has found ease in printing on the metal product used by Award Shops in the production of plaques, drastically reducing the print cost, and adding the ability for full color photo quality artwork to be introduced to the product.
Overall, the DTG process originally engineered to embellish garments has proven to be a useful tool in the production on custom non-textile goods. The versatility, reduction in ink costs and relative ease of the process allows Awards and Engraving shops to provide a value added service and new product lines to their existing customer base.