Globally, the direct-togment (DTG), digital textile printing machinery is experiencing a remarkable growth rate. 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
With a predicted vertical rise in direct-to–garment (DTG), DTG production continues to grow. DTG digital textile printer machinery continues to see remarkable growth, which is helping it gain traction around the world. 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 represents more than doubling of global market size over a 10-year span. Experts attribute this to direct-to-garment printing’s unique advantages. 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. KD machinery is known for its high quality retail and durability standards.
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 allows you to work with more difficult fabrics such as nylon, fleece, nylon, or 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. Next, heat transfers the PET film design to 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.
Supply is plentiful as there are plenty of blank apparel manufacturers waiting 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 in America and Fruit of the Loom in Europe. 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.
Brother GTX Pro bulk offers the best price-quality ratio. The Brother GTX Pro bulk can produce 14,000 T-shirts per week during an eight-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 are also known for their best washability in the DTG market.
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.”
It will likely be available in the middle of 2023 after early customer engagements during the second half in 2022.
Direct-to-garment is on the rise thanks to innovation, efficiency, speed of production and other factors.
We are also witnessing the emergence of hybrid machinery. The development of hybrid DTG printing where digital printing and screen printing can be combined is worth special attention. The Kyo Hybrid Digital Textile Printer (Aeoon, Austria) is a standout. The Kyo Hybrid Series, which combines screen and digital textile print, is the first to do so. This printer is perfect for companies that need high volumes and has unique production flexibility.
You can combine both screen printing and DTG printing. This combination allows for significant cost savings and a superior finish.
The success stories of DTG are numerous, from Inkthreadable and Printful. As the DTG industry meets the market’s expectations for a textile sector with significant and irreversible growth, there are many DTG success stories. There are many things to look forward to in the coming years, with DTF technologies and hybrid printing solutions.