By Melissa Donovan
Part 2 of 2
Direct to garment (DTG) printing has grown in popularity as do-it-yourselfers and print shops alike capitalize on consumer customization trends. The upside, with demand at an all-time high, there is no shortage of options when it comes to the hardware and consumables available for the DTG printing process.
However, for the newly minted, it’s important to understand that part of the printing includes pretreatment. Any garment that uses white ink requires a pretreatment prior to printing, to ensure the ink sits on top and offers a vibrant print. There are other scenarios that benefit from pretreatment as well, meaning it is something that should be considered at the time of a DTG printer purchase.
Pretreatment solution, hand sprayers, and enclosed dedicated pretreatment machines are important components. We’ve compiled some of the vendors that offer them here.
ColDesi’s new G4 DTG Printer uses Kodak Kodacolor inks under the G4 inks brand along with pretreatment formulas designed specifically for that ink set. The combination of the G4 DTG printer and its patented vacuum platen, the inks, and pretreats are optimized to work together to produce the best end product.
DTG Connection recently launched SK Pretreat to the U.S. market., which offers bright prints, eliminated staining, and softer feel. It currently offers a dark shirt formula and plans to introduce white shirt and polyester formulas soon.
DuPont offers Artistri Brite P5001 and P5003 pretreatments for dark coating and cotton/polyester blends. For white shirts—cotton and up to 100 percent polyester—it provides DuPont Artistri Brite P5010, which delivers bright colors even on polyester.
Ecofreen Co. Ltd. recently debuted the Mister-T2 automatic pretreat spray machine. It includes two nozzles with adjustable angles for complete spraying coverage. Offering consistent spraying, the machine contains preset functions that allow the user to save frequent spraying options. It is also able to calculate the cost of pretreat liquid for each spraying.
Epson provides two different pretreatment liquids designed for use with Epson UltraChrome DG inks. One pretreatment is for fabrics composed primarily of cellulose—cotton and cotton blends; and the other is for fabrics composed primarily of polyester. The pretreatment solutions are OEKO-TEX EcoPassport certified.
FIREBIRD Ink manufactures through a partnership with Miele a full-immersion pretreatment system, the FIREBIRD Industrial Process. It fully saturates a garment into pretreatment and then removes all the excess liquid—which is reused for the next batch of garments. An additional benefit of the system is that it pre-washes garments prior to pretreatment application. The company also runs CheaterTee, a website that offers pre-pretreated garments for sale.
i-Group Technologies manufactures the Viper line of pretreatment machines, the Image Armor line of pretreatments, and RTP Apparel pre-pretreated apparel. The Viper line includes the MINI for small shops and startups, the XPT-1000 as a mid-size unit, and the MAXX is a fully capable production machine. Its Image Armor pretreatments can be used in all DTG printers on the market and are available for white and light colored shirts, dark color shirt pretreatments, and pretreatments to make polyester printing easier. The RTP Apparel shirt is already pretreated and removes the process completely from the user’s perspective.
Kornit Digital NeoPigment Eco Rapid ink is designed for the Kornit DTG line of printers including the Storm HD6, Avalanche HD6, Atlas, and Vulcan Plus systems. Available in four-liter bottles and in color sets of CMYK, red, green, and white, it comes with Eco Fix, which is a fixation agent.
Lawson Screen & Digital Products resells Epson DTG printers and manufactures a variety of pretreat solutions and machines including pretreat sprayers and electric and gas conveyer dryers that cure pretreat and DTG ink.
Nazdar SourceOne offers single- and multi-nozzle, single shirt loaded, and continuous-feed pretreatment machines. It also sells a gram scale, which ensures the manufacturer suggested amount of pretreatment is applied to achieve optimal results. Nozzles for pretreatment are not all the same, which is why the company provides various options designed to reduce the amount of fluid, narrow the spray pattern, or specific nozzles for polyester pretreatment.
Polyprint USA developed a new pretreatment machine referred to as the PreTreater Pro. It features top-of-the-line manufacturing, four spray nozzles, auto-recirculation, full customizable spray areas, self maintenance, and the option to have two different pretreatment types always loaded.
Ricoh DTG, a division of Ricoh Printing Systems America, Inc. offers i-Group’s Viper line of pretreatment machines to complement its DTG printers. Get more vibrant prints, higher image quality, improved washability, and softer garments with the new Ricoh Pretreatment for Dark Garment DTG Printing. Available as a premixed formula, the new Ricoh Pretreatment offers a premium, high-performance pretreatment solution for your highest quality.
Schulze manufactures the PRETREATmaker IV. The unit is equipped with a multiphase motor and a total of four valves, which can be individually switched on or off. The maximum spray area is 40 centimeters in width and 60 centimeters in length. The width is regulated by switching the four valves on or off. Length is regulated in two centimeter intervals. Uni- and bi-directional spraying is possible.
Thought Tech developed the Pearl series of pretreat devices. Pearl Lite, PTM, and Elite feature spray areas of 15×18, 16×21, and 16×20 inches, respectively. The Pearl PTM in particular is the ultimate production pretreat machine. It offers shirt production upwards of 300 shirts per hour, and advanced features such as a cycle counter, level meter, and production calculator.
Ahead of the Pack
Getting a sense of what you need to do to add pretreatment practices to your DTG printing process will set you ahead of the pack. Knowledge is half the battle and being armed with this understanding ensures pretreated blanks turn into quality digitally printed garments.
Read part one, The Foundation of DTG Printing.
Jun2021, DPS Magazine