What You Need to Know Before you Buying DTF and UV DTF
What is a DTF T-shirt printing machine?
DTF T-shirt printing is a transfer printing process that is one of the latest and hottest trends in the decorative apparel industry. DTF stands for Direct to Garment Printing. This technique involves printing your design directly onto film, then transferring it to a t-shirt made of cotton, polyester, or a blend thereof, first in CMYK colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black), then It is white ink. The wet ink is pulverized and cured with a hot melt adhesive. After curing, the picture can be transferred to the clothes with a heat press.
What is a UV DTF printer?
Ultraviolet (UV) DTF printing refers to a new printing method that uses ultraviolet curing technology to create patterns on films. These designs can then be transferred to hard and irregularly shaped objects by pressing down with a finger and then peeling off the film.
UV DTF printing requires a specific printer called a UV flatbed printer. When printing an image on “A” film, the ink is immediately exposed to UV light from LED cold light sources. These inks contain a photosensitive curing agent that dries quickly when exposed to UV light.
Next, film “A” is laminated to film “B” using a laminator. The “A” film is on the back of the design and the “B” film is on the front of the design. Next, use scissors to cut out the outline of the design. To transfer the design to the object, peel off the “A” film and apply the design firmly to the object. After a few seconds, peel off “B”. The design was eventually successfully transferred to the object. The graphic colors are vivid and clear, and the transfer is durable and won’t scratch or wear off quickly.
UV DTF printing has many uses due to the types of surfaces the design can be made on, such as metal, leather, wood, paper, plastic, ceramic, glass, and more. It can even be transferred to irregular and curved surfaces. Designs can also be transferred when the object is underwater.
This printing method is environmentally friendly. Since UV-curable inks are not solvent-based, no toxic substances will be released into the surrounding air.
In summary, UV DTF printing is a highly flexible printing technology; it can be helpful if you want to print or edit restaurant menus, print logos on home appliances, and more. Additionally, you can customize objects with any logo using UV printing. It is also suitable for outdoor items as they are durable and resistant to scratches and scuffs.
Why UV DTF Technology?
UV printing technology stems from the limitations of traditional printers; as it can be compatible with more materials, the printed image will not lose clarity and color intensity, and the ink will be absorbed immediately, which speeds up production. It also has its disadvantages, but, for example, if the surface of the object is inclined, the slope is relatively obvious, and it is difficult to print the pattern accurately.
In order to solve the problems left by UV printers, a more innovative and clever idea is applied to DTF printers. Since UV printers cannot print on inclined surfaces, DTF printers first print on PET films instead of directly on the surface of objects. After finishing the spraying and heat pressing process, your design will be transferred to the object even if the surface is uneven or sloped. But for now, DTF printers are mainly used in textile/leather printing.
But due to the difference in ink and the lack of UV printing technology, the color intensity of the pattern printed by the DTF printer is slightly lower. Moreover, although DTF printers are specialized in printing on textiles, leather, and other substrates, the printing effect on other substrates is not as good as that of UV printers. So those who seek the latest printing technology combine the advantages of UV printers and DTF printers to create UV DTF printers. Not only can these types of printers print on surfaces that UV/DTF printers cannot, but they can print high-quality patterns very accurately.
The similarities and differences between DTF printer and UV DTF printer
Some friends will think that UV DTF printers and DTF printers have certain similarities. Both DTF printers and UV DTF printers print on PET film first, and both types of printing require a transfer process. In addition, there are certain differences between the printed products between UV DTF printers and DTF printers. Now we can discuss the following 7 points:
- The ink is different.
UV DTF printers use UV ink (no volatile matter and dusting problems; can improve the quality of finished products; save drying time and improve product output efficiency; no need to configure drying equipment, drying space, etc., reducing the demand for production space; use led ultraviolet light Light curing, low energy demand, saving electricity).
DTF printers use water-based pigment inks (bright colors; high color fastness; anti-aging; cost-saving).
- There are also differences in the choice of membranes.
AB membranes for UV DTF printers are usually separated. A film has two layers (the bottom layer has glue, and the upper layer is a protective film), and B film is a transfer film. The film used in DTF printers has an ink-receptive coating on it.
- The printing method is different.
UV DTF printers use the process of whitening, coloring, and glazing at the same time, while DTF printers use the process of coloring first and then whitening.
- The production process is different.
UV means ultraviolet light. The drying principle of UV DTF printing is that the ultraviolet light emitted by the LED cold light source lamp reacts with the photosensitive curing agent in the UV ink so that the pigment molecules in the UV ink are cured on the surface of the material, thereby completing the printing action.
DTF printing is to print the designed pattern on the DTF film, then cover the pattern with hot melt powder and bake it. Finally, the pattern is transferred to various colors of cotton or cotton-polyester blended fabric by heat transfer printing.
- The printing effect is also different.
UV printers are generally in the color white varnish mode, and the relief effect is obvious. DTF printers are flat effects.
- The relevant equipment is different.
The A3 UV DTF (H300) independently developed by TEXTEK is combined with the laminating machine to save cost and space. After printing, it can be directly cut and transferred. The DTF printer needs to be matched with the powder shaking machine and heat press machine.
- Different applications.
UV DTF printers mainly transfer materials such as leather, wood, acrylic, plastic, and metal. It is generally used for pattern transfer on hard surfaces. Mainly used in the label and packaging industry.
DTF printing machine mainly transfers on fabrics (no requirement for fabrics), and it can print on curved and irregular surfaces. Mainly used in the clothing industry.
Advantages and disadvantages of DTF printer and UV DTF printer
Advantages of DTF printing
Suitable for almost all types of fabrics.
No need to pre-treat the fabric.
Good printing effect, high printing precision, rich and bright colors, natural transition, and clear patterns.
The printed design exhibits good washing and rubbing characteristics, with no cracking when stretching the printed design.
No need for plate making, flexible batches, are not limited by patterns, images can be modified arbitrarily, and single-piece production and batch. production can be realized, and a short production cycle and fast delivery.
Environmental protection, low energy consumption, low pollution, low noise, low noise in the whole printing process, and truly reduce industrial production pollution.
Cost saving, the digital printing machine occupies a small area, does not require a large factory building, and saves space and site costs.
The operation of the digital printing machine is intelligent and automatic, and one operator can monitor the normal operation of multiple devices, which greatly saves labor costs.
The daily maintenance of the printer is simple and the maintenance cost is low.
Disadvantages of DTF printing
Colors may vary when printed (can be enhanced with adjustments in RIP software).
High requirements for printers need professional high-quality printers.
Advantages of UV DTF Printers
Breaking the limitation of UV printers, UV DTF printers can print on almost all materials and surfaces.
Simple printing steps.
Support varnish printing, and higher work efficiency.
Disadvantages of UV DTF Printers
UV ink and PET film (AB film) are required.
Operators must be careful with UV ink.
The price is slightly higher because it combines the advantages of both systems.
The future trend of DTF printing
We all know that in order to meet the stricter requirements of niche markets, various types of printers and tools have been invented, making printers more and more professional in a certain field, but at the cost of more and more limited functions.
UV DTF printers have similar advantages to DTF printers, but users who use UV DTF printers can never avoid the lamination process. All systems have their flaws, which is why we believe that unifying the functionality of different types of stamping will be the next trend in the industry. Especially in the post-epidemic economic recovery period, customers’ demand will only become stronger, requiring more powerful and efficient printers.