Screen Printing - August/September 2012 - (Page 30)

A LOOK AT DYE-SUB PRINTING FOR GARMENTS This article describes effective and profitable ways to integrate a large-format dye-sub printer into your garment-decorating operation. Syd Northup Gans Ink nderstanding the printers, RIP software, bulk ink systems, color management, and heat press technologies can seem a bit overwhelming when you’re new to dye-sublimation printing. By breaking down these system components piece by piece, printers can get a detailed screenshot on how a sublimation garment system works. A matrix of the square-foot-cost relationship to the return on the investment also provides bottom line costs and profits. The first question is what does one need to know to become successful day in and day out with this printing technology? While running my inkjet print shop in 2006, I decided on investing in a couple of 44 in. wide-format Epson 9880 printers, a Roland SP540, and a George Knight 42 x 64 dual shuttle heat press. The larger printers and heat press allowed us to print up to 3XL custom all-over T-shirts as well as providing full-sized production runs. The core of my sublimation business was providing runs of 20 x 20 in. or less sized sublimation prints, also referred to as front or back hits, along with allover sublimation garments to a wholesale/reseller base. These two types of sublimation printing techniques should be something all screen print shops should consider bringing in-house to escape from turning away smaller job runs and add the ability to produce 30 SCREENPRINTING U fully sublimated T-shirts with the allover graphics process (Figure 1). While running an in-house sublimation operation, it always comes down to how many jobs are on the sublimation printers and to keep them running. For some garment screen printers, a market for sublimation may not be in place, but opening up your clientele base with sublimation technology can allow for some very rapid growth. We must also not forget the higher profits, less time to produce a garment and the endless amounts of other products that you can also be introduced to customers that are sublimatable—koozies, mouse pads, banners, flags, hardwood panels, etc. One of my biggest recommendations and/or selling points with sublimation garment printing is to make a sample with a customer’s logo incorporating a photo or graphics. Take the time necessary to build a good, clean graphic template and import the customer’s logos to sublimate. This introduction can really show the wow factor of sublimation and how it can complement short-run custom capability versus screen printing. Then, downsize the image to a koozie template, sublimate the logo on it, and watch how the sales immediately begin pouring in on the sublimation side. FIGURE 1 Dye sublimation can be used to produce all-over prints, such as the one depicted in this software RIP, on T-shirts in very low quantities—a job that would be unprofitable for most screen shops.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - August/September 2012

Screen Printing - August/September 2012
New Products
Strategies for Navigating the Regulatory Maze
New or Used?
Thin Is In
Color-Management Aids
Performance Equals Profits
A Look at Dye-Sub Printing for Garments
Shop Talk
US & Canadian Directory
Advertising Index
Editorial Insights

Screen Printing - August/September 2012