How screen printers need never turn down another job again.

Noga Chen
January 16, 2018

Just in time for ISS, we spoke to David Tulipman, PMM for Direct to Garment Printers at Kornit to try to understand the challenges screen printers are facing.

David has vast experience in product marketing management
for global companies in industries ranging from Semi-Conductors to 2D, 3D and Textile Printing Textile.


What are the major challenges that screen printers are facing today?

Screen printing is one of the most established printing techniques around, and screen printers have been delivering excellent results
to the industry for years. Screen printing factories have been designed to print large batches and they have been able to deliver these at competitive cost and predictable, retail quality. But
now, we are seeing a shift in the industry…a growing demand for shorter and medium runs.

What do you mean by small/medium runs?

500 items or more per run is considered a large run, and
screen printing equipment and factory setups are ideal for such runs. Industry trends show that the total number of large printing batches in the apparel
industry are decreasing.

What is the change that is emerging?

There are drivers in the apparel industry that are “squeezing”
manufacturers to have to deliver much faster runs in smaller quantities. As soon as batches fall under the 500 piece mark, the whole business just becomes
a lot less profitable…for a number of reasons.

What are these so-called “drivers”?

In a nutshell, our modern lives are being driven by change –
the internet, cloud computing and the fact that everything is mobile is changing the way we do everything – and by that I mean FAST.  And with this speed, comes the changes in
fashion, influences and tastes. It’s this speed, together with online shopping,
that is affecting those screen printing batches we just talked about.



Fads, trends and fashions are changing faster and retailers need to adapt to this to ensure that they don’t risk their inventory going bad, as the next fashion trend takes over the previous one. In addition there is a new driver on the block. Personalization is developing in many commercial areas – not only fashion. It’s a trend in itself, but it looks like it’s going to stick – and its trend that screen printing just was NOT built to handle.


What are the risks to screen printing businesses?

With all the drivers we’ve just talked about apparel print short/medium
runs are growing and are becoming a burden to screen printers. Setups costs for screen are the same whether you’re setting up for 10 shirts or a 1000 and this
is where the complications arise. Screen printers have variable costs that get more expensive as the run becomes shorter.


So where does this leave screen printers?

This situation puts a lot of press on screen printers, and doesn’t leave them with many options, these being – to outsource, print at a
loss or reject orders, the least favorable option. Inevitably printing short runs with traditional screen methods at a loss could affect customer retention
and business growth.

What can the market offer to this problem?

For this particular problem manufacturers need a solution
that keeps cost constant and delivers high quality screen-like printing regardless of run size. Direct-to-Garment printing (DTG) based on digital
technology was introduced to the market several years ago, but it has taken time to gain confidence with this technology.

What has been holding screen printers back from adopting
DTG technology?

Until a few years ago it was a less common technology, less known and less accepted for several reasons. Firstly, the print quality
provided by DTG was not close enough to the quality that screen delivers, the ink price was considered a barrier to entry and there was a conception that
digital was much more expensive than screen Cost Per Print regardless of the size of the run. In general, this new technology in the neighborhood had to
prove itself.

How is it all evolving?

Screen printers are weighing up the pros and cons of how to handle short/medium runs and are realizing that there are numerous elements of
the screen printing factory that make the entire process just too cumbersome for these runs – primarily setup and sampling costs, and lengthy supply chain

DTG has advanced significantly over the past few years and is proving itself in terms of printing results and cost effectiveness. Screen
decorators are discovering and adopting DTG printing as the most practical solution for their short and medium runs.

DTG printing, such as that offered by Kornit’s line of
printers is able to produce remarkable results with screen-like quality, and in addition enabling photorealistic images, printing of fine details, and
personalization.  Kornit’s latest technology release offers a breakthrough for these complex problems.

We invite you to visit us at ISS, Long Beach, next week from
19th – 21st Jan to learn more and see it first hand. Set
a meeting: