Machine: DST Transfer System
From Global Print Solutions
Tell us a bit about your business
My brother Gary and I set the business up over fifteen years ago initially producing and supplying house signs – this explains why our company is called Homefront Signs. We kept the name, but it’s been many years since we‘ve made a house sign. We soon realised there was a better business producing commercial signage and printing garments using the old Roland plotter that we‘d bought to cut the vinyl lettering for our house signs.
What systems do you use?
To begin with it was a secondhand Mutoh 1204 and a Summa S120 to contour cut. Our next purchase was a Roland SP540i. Our solution for single-colour work on top of the Summa was a couple of small Roland Camm 1 machines; we‘ve since upgraded to Graphtec CE6000-60 machines. Despite having all these solutions, I was still missing out on the large runs of logos as I couldn‘t produce them for my customers at the price they were getting elsewhere. Aware of the jobs I was missing out on, I decided I had to look into it.
What transfer system do you use now?
I stumbled across a company from Denmark that had a full-colour screen printing solution. I sent an email and soon Paul from Global Print Supplies in Yorkshire was on the phone. He explained the system and invited me to Barnsley, where I was shown the full process from start to finish. It surprised me that a screen could be made so quickly and within 20/30 minutes you can be printing full-colour badges. After seeing the process in action, I realised that the screen printing side of things that initially put me off was actually a simple part of the process. To be able to produce full-colour badges with just one screen was ideal.
How much did it cost and when did you get it?
The full system cost just over £26,000+VAT and arrived in April. I also lease a printer to print the DST sheets, but I also use it to produce short runs of leaflets and brochures etc. The system allows me to print not just full-colour DST badges, but also plastisol transfers.
It has opened up so much more business opportunities for us and it’s also great to have the support and advice there if required
How easy is it to learn to use?
Paul and Steve came up and gave me and one of my employees, Greg, two full days of training. Pretty quickly we got to grips with producing jobs on the system. We had a couple of teething problems, but Paul was so helpful and always available to help. We were soon fully up and running without any problem whatsoever.
What is it used for?
With the DST system the minimum order I do is 12 sheets. It needs to be that to cover the cost of making up the screens, but what is great about it is that I can mix jobs on a sheet so really no job is too small for it. With my regular customers who require, say, 25 sheets with four large logos per sheet, if there is still a little space left the arrangement is to add in a small breast logo that they always need stock of.
We have also set up a system to sell runs of DST logos to our shop customers. They basically buy runs of sheets upfront, which we print for them and then hold in stock. Thereafter they can place orders large or small for a discounted price. It’s another win-win because they are basically getting a quantity discount by buying only their badges up front and we know we’ll have the orders behind that for their garments.
What would be your advice to others considering this system?
It is still early days, but I can only see good things coming from investing in the DST system. It has opened up so much more business opportunities for us and it’s also great to have the support and advice there if required. To date it has been the biggest investment I’ve made, but it’s a versatile set-up with so many plus points.