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How to Expand Your Screen Printing Shop with DTF Printing

If your business strategy involves scaling up quickly, DTF can accommodate this growth.

Integrating DTF printing into an existing screen printing business is a strategic way to generate more revenue, as well as expand your service offerings and cater to a broader market. It offers the flexibility to print detailed designs on a variety of fabrics, including those that are challenging for traditional screen printing.

Market Demand Analysis

Assessing the market demand among current and prospective customers is the first step in integrating DTF into a business. It has become popular due to its flexibility, efficiency, and high-quality output on a wide range of fabrics.

It supports small, medium, and large-scale print runs economically by reducing setup costs and waste. It offers quicker turnaround times than traditional methods, which is appealing in a market that values sustainability and speedy service. DTF’s capability for on-demand customizations suits industries that find such services impractical with screen printing.

As digital technology continues to evolve, DTF’s role in the textile printing industry is set to expand, benefiting from trends that favor customization and small to medium production.

For a screen printing business looking to remain competitive with market trends, incorporating DTF can provide a strategic advantage, catering to evolving customer needs and expanding the business’s service offerings.

Scalability Considerations

If your business strategy involves scaling up quickly, DTF can accommodate this growth, providing an increase in output without an exponential increase in labor or overhead costs.

Investment Costs and Considerations

Initial setup costs include purchasing equipment along with the necessary consumables. The investment might also extend to software upgrades or training.

Benefits of DTF Bundle Purchases

Purchasing a DTF bundle package offers many cost-effective advantages for businesses. “Bundling” items, like equipment and consumables, comes at a discounted rate compared to buying each item separately. Bundling reduces shipping costs, saving on logistics, especially with larger equipment.

These packages ensure compatibility among all components, promoting efficient operations and preventing issues that arise from incompatible equipment. The convenience of acquiring a complete, ready-to-use setup saves time. It also facilitates a quicker start to operations.

Dealing with a single supplier for the bundle simplifies after-sales support, warranty claims, and technical help. Certain suppliers also offer training, which is especially beneficial for those new to DTF printing. DTF bundles streamline the buying process and provide financial savings and operational benefits.

Average Investment Cost for Starting a DTF Printing Business

The average investment varies based on factors like the scale of operations, equipment quality, and business needs, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 for small to medium-sized setups.

This includes the cost of an industrial grade DTF printer, which averages around $22,000. Consider investing in a printer that includes a powder shaker/dryer. Sold separately, a powder shaker/dryer can cost between $3000 and $10,000, on average.

You will need to purchase a commercial heat press if your current business does not use one. Heat presses vary in price from $1000 to $3000, depending on capacity and durability. 

The DTF printing process will require proper ventilation. The cost of ventilation extractors can vary. On average, industrial-grade extractors can range from $2000 to $4000, depending on their specifications and capabilities.

Operational Considerations

Understanding operational space, climate control, electrical requirements, as well as training and maintenance is essential when incorporating DTF. You will need dedicated space for the equipment, operations, and maintenance. DTF ink and transfers are sensitive to UV rays. It’s crucial to establish a storage area that is shielded from direct sunlight.

For optimal results, it’s important to maintain a climate-controlled environment with consistent temperature and humidity based on the machine’s specific requirements. DTF equipment and materials function best within a moderate temperature range, typically between 68°F and 77°F.

The optimal humidity level is between 40 and 60 percent. The electrical requirements for equipment can vary. Most equipment operates on standard electrical voltages around 110 to 120V or 220 to 240V. It’s important to check the specific requirements of each piece of equipment. Consult an electrician to ensure your facility meets these requirements.

Training and Labor Considerations

Before purchasing equipment, it’s important to verify what training is included. The DTF process has a lower average labor cost than screen printing. The average labor cost per employee in the US is around $17 per hour. It also requires fewer employees. The automation and simplicity of the DTF process reduces manual labor and skill required, which can translate into cost savings.

Integrating DTF into an existing screen printing business allows it to diversify offerings, reach a wider market, and enhance profitability. Businesses can tap into the growing demand for customized, small to medium batch printing.

A version of this article was originally published by Coldesi.

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