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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi There,

I help run a pretty successful screen printing based business.

We're looking to set up a DTG offering which we hope would be up to printing about 10,000 shirts a month within 6 months to a year and hopefully much more over time. As the shirts would be sold at a relatively low price, being able to print them as cheaply as possible would be a priority for the business to work.

We're exploring DTG options but it seems very difficult to get clear answers on what the best options are.

The way I see it the options seem to be:

1. Staring with a basic printer like a Brother GT-381 and adding more of them over time. In theory 5 of these would output more shirts per hour than one of the more industrial machines (like the Kornit Avalanche) and cost less in terms of the hardware.

2. A more industrial machine like the Kornit Avalanche or Aeoon. The downside with these is the initial outlay of €250,000+ though I'd imagine they should in theory offer far cheaper ink costs and lower the cost of production overall (if not I'm not sure why they'd exist)

Is using multiple cheaper units always going to be much more expensive than one larger one? I'm not sure would the likes of Brother be open to doing a deal to reduce ink costs if our quantity used was sufficient?

With technology changing fast in this area I'd be slow to spend hundreds of thousands on a single machine without proving the demand for our business also.

If anyone has any suggestions on which the better approach might be I'd appreciate it.

Thanks in advance!
 

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You may start with couple of smaller ones generate sales then jump to bigger one.

What is the print size area you are aiming at? Epson bases a3 printers are getting cheapper and cheaper.

For bigger machines ink is cheaper that's ture (atleast for AEEON).

Where are you located?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks,

We could buy the bigger machine outright to begin with, and as I mention, the whole project only makes sense if the ultimate print cost is very low.

What I'm trying to work out is whether it would be possible to get close to Aeoon/Kornit pricing using a number of smaller machines and possibly with getting discounted ink (I think it should be possible to get 30-40+% off Brother ink costs by buying in bulk for example)

I'm in the UK
 

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I would strongly suggest that you contact the local dealers / manufactures for all the equipment and ask them directly about buying ink bulk. A lot of us on this forum are from the USA and are not that well adverse on the taxes you have in the UK. You are going to want to know the landed cost (i.e. shipped to your place) for the consumables, service and replacement parts.

I would also strongly suggest you consider into your equation the service component. Your ink cost means nothing if the equipment is not working properly. I talk with a lot of screen printers that repair their own equipment. Automatic presses are more mechanical. DTG printers in general are more electrical. Not necessarily the same thing. Look at what the cost would be to get you replacement parts and how long it would take for them to arrive. A broken down machine (depending on whether you have only one machine it is greater or if you have multiples and can rely on others) can quickly kill profits and drop your overall production down.

Best wishes as you go through your due diligence and decision making process.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Mark,

That's part of the concern with the more expensive machines. There seem to be reliability issues with them and so you are in danger of being without printing abilities. The Brother machines seem to be better in terms of reliability/maintenance.

In theory 5 x Brother Machines (buying more as we need the capacity) should be able to output prints on dark shirts faster than 1 x Kornit Avalanche.

They'd also cost under €100,000 so half the price of the Kornit and offer a more reliable solution in terms of if one broke down.

But I suppose the real deciding factor would the the ink cost of the Kornit/Aeoon vs the multiple printers.

I'm surprised that there is not a best solution for various requirements, it seems as though with so many different options it's hard to work out what's the best option.

Any further advice would be much appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Remember at the same time you are trying to figure this out, others will be doing the same thing.....And the resulting competition will drive prices down....So nay of your math will need to take a price drop into consideration.....
Thanks, not sure what you mean by this? I'd imagine the cost of DTG printing will reduce greatly over time, so that's another reason to be reluctant to throw down €200,000+ on a machine today when I'm sure the same amount will probably get you a lot more bang for your buck in 1-2 years.
 

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I don't envy you your decision.

Whatever you buy today will be undercut in price and possibly surpassed in performance before you have even halfway paid for it.
People who enter the industry after you will get a competitive advantage ( in terms of their selling price) that you may find hard to match. Two years down the line you may still owe more for your equipment than a 'late adopter' pays for theirs.

If I were you I would think I would start slowly with one of the Brother machines, and see how the market progresses. At least then when you add extra machines you are benefiting from the latest technology, and more importantly the latest price.

Whatever you do keep your eye on the screen printing ball. Digital technology will also help keep that industry competitive. Equipment such as the new M & R 'direct to screen' imaging will drop in price, and once you take the hard work out of screen making you eliminate one of the major downsides to screen printing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Guys,

I've got in touch with Brother about ink costs but even offering to buy loads the ink cost looks to be 3-5 times more than using the Aeoon/Kornit.

Are there any other options in the circa €20,000 printer market that might have cheaper ink/printing costs or the ability to use a bulk ink system?

It seems ridiculous to be paying so much for ink, clearly there is a massive mark up going on.

Thanks again!
 

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Hi Blobert,

I am running a business with brother GT782 and 2 GT381 machines, they really doing very well.
When it comes to ink costs on a black shirt the pricing is also very acceptable and certainly not 5 times more
than a Kornit. Aeoon i do not know because i do not know anybody running one (they are too new).
Friend of my runs business with 2 Kornits, maybe the ink purely for the print is OK but the rest, wauw serious money.

Did you talk to brother direct or dealer ?

Can send you PM.

Cheers,

John
 
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