A textile printer is a necessity for any company that makes and produces fabric. But choosing the right one for the task can sometimes be a complicated process for even a small company. There are basically two classifications of large format textile printers to think about: transfer printers and direct printers. While most all fabric printers are either transfer or direct, there are some out there that are able to do both.
The first thing you have to decide if you should go with an inkjet printer is whether or not you’re going to be using colored inks. There’s a big difference between the two. Inkjet printers use an air gun to wet and spray the ink onto paper while thermal printers use a heating mechanism to fuse the pigment into the paper fiber. It’s best to try a few out before deciding which one is best for your needs. Both types use similar technology, but the performance between them is somewhat different.
Cost – There’s a lot of hidden cost when you buy a new textile printer. If you don’t need a top speed printer, then the initial investment isn’t going to be much of an issue. However, it’s still something you should take into consideration. Ink cartridges for example, can cost several hundred dollars depending on how many you need to purchase. Transfer printers use similar ink to paper that doesn’t have to be re-washed, so you will spend just a few dollars more on ink.
Overall, although both of these choices have their pros and cons, the deciding factor in your new digital printer purchase will really be how much you’re willing to spend. You’ll want to look at the cost of each type, not just the overall total cost. When it comes to print quality and speed, they are about equal. So don’t let the cost of a higher end unit influence your decision, as it will always be trumped by the cost of an older model.
If you need high quality textiles for your business, a top of the line digital textile printing machine may be your best choice. The good news is that these machines are now priced well below what they used to be. This means you can upgrade to a new digital textile printing system while sticking with an already efficient machine. Of course, it will be expensive upfront, but over the years you will make up the lost cost and save money.
Ink Types – These days there are literally hundreds of ink types to choose from. Some printers use a variety of different cartridges for different jobs. Some use continuous ink refill cartridges (CIR). With today’s printers you can choose from both types, providing a higher level of convenience for novices.
Maximum Variety of Fabrics – If you need a lot of fabrics printed, or even a lot of fabrics processed at once, a printer is designed to handle that. Some printers handle single colors, some handle full color variants, and some can even process fabrics in an astounding variety of fashions. Some are designed for bulk processing only, while others are designed for single job processing on a routine basis. Some are designed for printing only flat colors, and some are designed for printing with a pattern and utilizing several colors. Depending on your needs, your options in a printer will vary greatly.
Technology – Sublimation printing is basically new technology that uses heat to transfer inks or colors on fabrics. It was first introduced way back in the 1950s for printing textiles for medical purposes. This process has now been improved and is widely used in the textile printing world. Other technologies include dye sublimation printer (using dyes) and oil and water sublimation printing.