US-based industry researcher Keypoint Intelligence has highlighted four new DTG printers – including DTG Digital’s "robust" new Q2 – in a report by Johnny Shell that looks at the closing gap between commercial and industrial segments, titled ‘New DTG Printers Are Blurring the Lines.’

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     by Johnny Shell

"If you’ve been paying attention to some of the new direct-to-garment (DTG) printer launches this year, you may have noticed that the gap between commercial and industrial printers appears to be closing. DTG machines are typically divided into segments based on a percentage of the maximum print speeds [see chart above].

If you’re like many apparel decorators, you’ve seen the DTG portion of your business grow during the past several years. Now you may be faced with the dilemma of purchasing additional printers to keep up with demand. Those of you who have commercial printers may be frustrated with the slower print speeds, while those who own one or two Industrial printers may be upset by not having enough redundancy and suffering during production stops caused by machine issues.

The newest DTG printers are delivering faster print speeds, higher print accuracy, and are incorporating advanced technologies…all with a smaller footprint and price tag—closing the gap between commercial and industrial printers.

New Additions to the Market Are Closing the Gap

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In January, 2022, Brother International launched their GTX600 industrial direct-to-garment printer [above] that has added new features including a projector system that automatically projects the design to be printed onto its intended position, which enables the user to see the design as it will appear on the garment before printing to avoid misprints. Brother’s Digital Line all-in-one pretreatment system can be paired with one or more GTX600 printers and conveyor dryers to maximize workflow efficiency. The system is available in two options: a Synergy pre-treat unit, a FireFly conveyor dryer manufactured by Brown Digital, and a heat press or using the Schulze Pretreat Maker LINE machine that can pretreat up to 300 garments per hour—combining the processes of pretreatment, drying, and pre-pressing in one machine. Using three GTX600 printers, a digital line pretreatment system, and conveyor dryer, the system can produce up to 182 garments per hour. Brother is a frontrunner in utilizing the pod concept that combines multiple DTG printers, automatic pretreatment, and dryer.

Aeoon Technologies launched their MAIKURO printer in April, 2022—which is a smaller, two-platen DTG printer that can print up to 65 garments per hour. The printer uses eight Ricoh Gen5 printheads that jet images at 600 dpi with a maximum image size is 40 cm x 45 cm (16" x 18"). The MAIKURO is a single gantry printer and (as the video below shows) each platen is first printed with the white underbase followed by the colour pass. While print speeds are less than the other devices included here, Aeoon classifies the MAIKURO as an Industrial DTG printer, which is somewhat misleading given the hourly production rate. At 65 dark garments per hour, the MAIKURO is really a high-end commercial or entry-level industrial printer.

 DTG Digital (a subsidiary of Pigment Inc.) spent the last two years developing their new Q2 DTG printer. This printer is configured for hybrid capability to print direct onto a finished garment as well as direct-to-film transfers on a single platform. The Q2 delivers industrial level production speeds of 100 dark and 150 light garments per hour and has a footprint of only 1,006 mm x 1,400 mm x 1,931 mm (42" x 55" x 76"). The printer also incorporates some robust features like a linear motion platen carriage guide with auto height adjustment, two stage ink mist extraction, and a staggered four printhead array. A unique aspect of the Q2, as shown in the video below, is the simultaneous printing of both platens.


 Ser. Tec. SRL offers the Eagle TX S that can print up to 120 garments per hour. The printer can be configured with two, three, or four printheads and features printhead position control that automatically adjusts the printhead’s height based on garment thickness to avoid head strikes. The Eagle TX S can also print materials up to 15 cm in thickness. A unique feature of this printer is the multiple dual platen configuration. As seen in the video below, the circular workflow allows for continuous loading and printing simultaneously.

Keypoint Intelligence Opinion

While improvements continue across all DTG segments, recent developments point to advanced, robust commercial DTG printers and smaller yet hearty industrial DTG printers. The lines between these segments are blurring and should give you a broader range of options. Having “high productivity” no longer means investing $250,000 or more for an industrial grade DTG printer. Using a pod concept, multiple printers can be grouped together to produce volumes that have historically been associated with higher priced industrial DTG printers that may have caused concern over investing a large sum of money on a single printer only to have it shut down for one reason or another. That’s what makes the pod concept so attractive."

- This article by Johnny Shell appears courtesy of Keypoint Intelligence

Johnny Shell, director of the Functional & Industrial Printing Service and an Inductee of the Academy of Screen and Digital Printing Technologies, is a printing expert and recognized industry leader with over 35 years of print industry experience. 

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