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; .Since this is a digital process the print is sharper and has a higher resolution, or DPI, than traditional printing methods such as screen printing.Unlike screen printing there is no long setup or clean up process and DTG has the ability to print just one single shirt for minimal cost.
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.
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 2005, at the ISS Atlantic City show, Brother International introduced the GT-541 Garment Printer to the market making it the first “ground up” DTG printer offered. This printer had print heads, ink, and electronics developed specifically for DTG printing.
At the Chicago PRINT 2013 show Epson introduced the F2000 printer. The release of this printer was notable as it addressed many of the issues prevalent in DTG printing at the time. One of the most important features of the Epson F2000 was its ink set as it had a two year shelf life and did not have the settling or clogging issues of previously introduced DTG inks.
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