My first recommendation is always to research the market first. As with any business, it’s important to understand the market and how this technology can leverage a new or current business. As DTG becomes more widespread, we are finding that customers are sending jobs to different DTG owners to test the print quality before placing their final order. The better quality print sample typically wins the contest. There are many advantages to digital garment printing and the customer needs to understand how to maximize these strengths in order to be successful. Foremost it the ability accommodate short multicolor print runs with a quality unmatched by any current textile printing technology. Digital printing allows you to print on demand, easily process variable data and print photo-quality in multicolor. All these advantages should be the key drivers to your business.
The three most common questions I am asked regarding digital garment printing are: the speed of the printer, cost of the ink, and the level of service and support they will receive. In regards to speed, customers should know it takes relatively the same time across all Epson based printers to print one image. However, what customer must realize is that this does not mean that the actual production rate of the machines will be the same. The "cycle time" to setup the machine in-between prints takes precious seconds, adding to production time.
For example, one average size image on a light garment will take roughly one minute to print. Hence, in 60 minutes you should be able to print 60 shirts, but this is misleading. Consider the time it will take to load and unload a garment, for the software to process the file, and the initialization of the printer to begin a new print. Given this cycle time, it is impossible to reach the perceived 60 shirt hourly production on a standard one shirt loading machine.
During the design phase of our NeoFlex system, we implemented several features to specifically shorten the cycle time of the machine. First, we expanded the printable area of the printer (17”x42”) giving the user the ability to print three shirts in one pass. Secondly, we designed the printer to move over the bed instead of the bed moving underneath the printer. This type of design allows the user to unload and reload garments as the printer is already printing the next job. Lastly, we implemented into the programming logic of the printer the ability to recognize a multi-pass job (i.e. white underbase and color layer). The printer will only travel the distance of the image itself, instead of having to reset in a home position prior to each pass. Our goal was simple, if we keep the printer printing longer, at the end of the day we will achieve more production and a faster return on investment.
In regards to cost of ink, white ink is one of the more expensive tools of digital garment printing. Light garments run an average of $0.25 or less, while dark garments can range between $1 to $3. With our new NeoRIP Pro software, we have dramatically decreased the amount of white ink usage on dark garments. Not only is the NeoRIP able to determine where not print white ink, but it is also able to determine the minimum amount of white ink needed to order to achieve an accurate color output. An added benefit is also a much softer “hand” or feel to the shirt in comparison to other digitally or screen printed garments. The NeoRIP also comes equipped with an ink cost calculator and a print time estimator, offering the user better visibility and control over their expenditure. As important as the hardware is, the software that drives the machine is equally as important. The quality and detail of the print, color reproduction, gradations, glows, flesh tones, color brilliance, white and color registration, ect. will all be the result of how well the printer AND software interact with one another. We feel our new NeoRIP PRO software is in the top of its class and invite you to request a sample from us to show you and to compare.
With regards to service and support, I would highly recommend for customers to visit online forums such as https://www.t-shirtforums.com/neoflex/ and ask for several references from actual customers. Ask questions on how the company responded to issues they may have faced with the customer. Our company culture here thrives on the saying “Your success is our success”. We recognize that our success as a company will only go as far as the success of our customers. I hope we will have the opportunity to show this spirit of partnership to you in the near future.
Please download Neoflex brochure.
Best of luck to you in your search.
Justin Choi Vice President
[office] 215.634.2235 [fax] 215.634.5566
[address] 495 E. Erie Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19134