Direct to garment printing
Direct to garment printing (DTG) is a process of printing on textiles using specialized ink jet technology. DTG printers hold the garment in a fixed position, and use specialty inks that are applied to the textile directly by the print head and are absorbed by the garment's fibers; these features prevent the distortion seen with some other textile printing techniques.
Direct to garment printing in the United States began in 1996 with the introduction of the first commercially available DTG printer named “Revolution”, developed by DIS of Bradenton, Florida and based on an invention of Matthew Rhome. Rhome had been working on the DTG project for some years and applied for a patent in July 1996. This patent was granted by the US patent office in August 2000 making it the first DTG patent and solidifying Rhome as the founder of the DTG industry.
The Revolution printer was offered for sale until 1998 when Rhome left the company to start development of the first Brother DTG printer, which came to market in 2005. Rhome is employed by Epson America as head of DTG Business Development.
After the release of the Revolution printer, there was a lot of development but not much sales activity in the market until 2004 when Mimaki introduced their printer at the ISS show in Chicago, Illinois and, later that year, when Kornit and US Screen displayed their offerings at the SGIA show in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In early 2014, Epson introduced the F2000 printer which had many ground breaking technologies[clarification needed] and became the number one selling DTG printer in the world.
DTG has the advantage of low set-up costs and an instant turnaround time. Since DTG was first developed, new technologies have improved ink performance and lowered ink cost. Digital printing takes place without hand contact; this allows for a more precise image than is possible with screen printing.
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