Direct To Garment (DTG) digital printing is the latest and most sophisticated technology available in the printed clothing and non-textile printing industry. DTG digital printing is also often commonly referred to as digital garment printing and inkjet to garment printing.
DTG Printing UK
Over the last decade the printing industry has seen a drastic rise in direct to garment inkjet printer technology, especially in terms of their resolution and speed, a development that can be most attributed to the rapid growth of digital textile printing.
The Science Behind DTG Printing
A DTG digital printer works much like your standard inkjet printer at home or at your office but instead of feeding through paper, a DTG digital machine prints directly onto garments and non-textile items. These machines use a highly sophisticated type of water-based ink that results with a vibrantly multicoloured and long-lasting print.
Digital textile printing uses the technology that is known as sublimation inkjet printing. Basic inkjet dye sublimation uses a heat sensitive dye that is dissolved in a liquid to print graphics and text onto special inkjet paper (known as dye sub transfer). Dye sub transfer and a sublimatable item are then placed into a heat press. Once the heating completes, an image that was on the paper is then transferred onto the coating of the item and becomes part of the garment surface. Running a finger or hand across the surface will feel nothing. With materials like polyester, satin, and other synthetic fibers, the sublimation dye will in fact penetrate the fibers and become part of that fabric.
Sublimation must always be conducted on a polyester, polymer, or polymer coated fabric. The science behind this process is explained Most Unexceptional by understanding that at high temperatures the pores of the polymer open up and the solid dyes in the print convert into a gas state. Once the dye is in a gas state it penetrates the pores of the polymer. When the garment is removed from the heat press, the temperature reduces, resulting in the polymerâ€™s pores closing and the newly penetrated dye gas reverting back to its solid state. At this point in the process, the dye has essentially become part of the polymer. The only way the dye will wash out or come off is if the fibers or coating are damaged.
Inkjet sublimation cannot be done on natural materials, like 100% cotton. Cotton and other natural materials are not coated and thus do not have any pores that will open to allow dye to penetrate at high temperatures. The majority of inkjet sublimation is done on white garments, or substrates, because it does not interfere with the coloured inks. Inks are actually transparent when they are sublimated and as a result require a background to appear on. White works very well because it helps to enhance the colours of the ink. The technology with inks and inkjet sublimation has indeed come a long way and we are proud to say that we possess the equipment and expertise to DTG digitally print to both white and dark textile/non-textile items.
The majority of DTG printers are operated through the use of a computer using Raster Image Processor software, or RIP. RIP software allows for printing with higher volumes of ink, generating white ink underbases for dark shirts and providing for more precision colour management through colour profiles. The more advanced RIP software, which we use, allows for operating multiple printers from one computer, advanced job queuing, ink cost calculation as well as a real time preview of the file prior to printing.