Sophie Zosimidou, marketing assistant at Polyprint, shares some advice on taking your DTG printer out on the road
DTG printing combines accurate and high quality results with short turnaround times, and the ability to easily print complex, multicolour designs on a wide variety of garments. This technology also enables entrepreneurs to capitalise on one of the biggest trends in the textile industry: custom printing. Personalisation is an exciting feature to offer and creating a bespoke design gives you an opportunity to build closer relationships with your customers. One of the key benefits of DTG technology is often overlooked, however: DTG printers now come in a compact form which means they are easily portable. In other words, you can take your DTG printer out on the road – all you need to get started is a simple set-up comprising your printer, a computer and a heat press.
Printing right in front of your customers can offer an enhanced experience; attendees have the opportunity to interact in the printing process right from the selection and personalisation of the designs, through to the finished product.
There are many opportunities for DTG printing on-location. For example, you might want to print garments at private events, such as wedding ceremonies or birthday parties, corporate events where businesses promote their brand and products, business dinners, product launches, seminars, conferences, charity events and campaigns, or sponsorships that are organised for non-profit purposes. You could even set up an ‘event kiosk’ at large-scale events such as conventions, festivals and concerts, where you can print customers’ designs or photographs on demand.
The printer can be used outdoors but it would be wise to avoid wet and extremely dusty areas, as well as direct sunlight which could heat up the printer and indirectly affect the performance of the water-based inks. In such cases, a gazebo or tent would be an ideal choice for protecting your equipment. If there is no mains power available on location, you can use a portable generator. The power consumption of the Polyprint TexJet Shortee2, for example, is 100W, while a good heat press will consume around 3,200W. Including the PC and any other smaller devices that may be plugged in, we recommend using a generator of at least 3.5kW. It is also advisable to use a circuit breaker to protect the operators, and also all the equipment from any circuit damage.
Polyprint supplies its own compact and modern style printer stands, which offer the perfect solution for supporting TexJet DTG printers when printing on location. These printer stands are easy to assemble and disassemble and come with castors and built-in brakes so that you can easily move them around. They feature two metal side-handles for fast positioning of the adjustable frames and two closed storage spaces separated by a shelf where you can store your pre-treated T-shirts. Other than the printer, stands, in the case of TexJet Shortee2 printer, any flat surface of at least L80xW70cm would do the job. A separate counter top is not necessary but could help keep your area clean and organised.
The TexJet Shortee2 is compact and easy to transport making it ideal for taking your DTG printing business on-the-road
Tips and tricks
Start by choosing a printer that is able to both satisfy the printing needs of your clients and fit in the back of your vehicle. We suggest a van for transporting all the necessary equipment. For example, the dimensions of our TexJet Shortee2 DTG printer are L105xW67xH42.5cm (packaged L120xW80xH60cm), while the dimensions of a standard heat press are around L80xW45xH65cm (packaged L90xW70xH70cm). This means that for a heat press and a printer to fit in the back of a van you would need at least an area of 2.0×1.0m. The T-shirts can be placed either inside the packaging or stacked on top of it.
Following a few simple tips can make life much easier. For example, it’s a good idea to pre-treat before you hit the road. This way, you will always be production- ready and you also get to avoid the time- consuming and messy spraying process. Next, think about the event you’ll be visiting and plan accordingly. You can have some relevant, pre-existing designs ready to go, so you can quickly upload the software and get down to printing in no time. For example, band logos for music concerts and cartoon designs for kids’ events are great ideas to get you started. When customers want to add their own personal touch to the design, DTG printing helps them do that in a just a couple of minutes. You can also make it easier for customers to pay for their designs by using your mobile phone as a credit card reader. This is a quick and easy way to process transactions without dealing with cash.
Before transporting your printer, make sure you switch it off and remove the power and data cable. Remove and empty the maintenance tank and then place it in its original position. This way you avoid any possible spillage of waste ink. Then, place the transport brake on the platen. Bear in mind that you will need help lifting the printer. The safest way to transport the printer would be in the original packaging. Package the printer as well as possible given the space constraints to avoid any serious damage. Now you’re all ready to break through the limits of a physical store and reach new customers.
The bottom line
DTG technology allows you to enjoy plenty of benefits that other traditional printing methods aren’t able to offer. First and foremost, you can print small batches — and there has been a growing demand for this in the last few years. You can achieve this from your physical store, an online store, or by getting closer to your customers at events. Remember, DTG printers are so portable, you can ‘move’ your business every time you move your printer, expanding your reach to new customers in the process. So, before purchasing a DTG printer, take some time to evaluate your requirements and consider all the available options in the market, including the potential of a portable DTG printer that will help you to grow your business.