Getting Better DTG Printers through Proper Environmental and Humidity Levels for a DTG Printer
Direct-to-garment (DTG) printers can get better looking DTG prints by controlling the environment and humidity. Keeping your printer in stable and normal “room temperature” settings will help you get better looking finished shirts and lower your ink and maintenance costs. A higher level of humidity helps with ink flow and prevents print head nozzles from clogging no matter which brand of DTG machine you have.
You want the humidity (moisture) level at least at 45% all the way up to 80%. Moisture moves from areas of high concentration to areas of lower concentration. This means that if the humidity in the air around your printer is too low, the air will start pulling the moisture contained in your water-based DTG ink into the air. This water removal causes the ink to dry quicker not only on the shirt but inside the printhead too. Since the ink is drying quicker than intended it can cause a buildup inside the print head and machine print lines, leading to unwanted clogs over time.
Just because you are not getting clogged print head nozzles, does not necessarily mean that the humidity is at an appropriate level. The other issue with low humidity is the risk of your printer overheating. As DTG machines get too hot, they self-cool through automatic head cleaning and ink flushing. This is similar to how a computer turns on and off its internal fan. Repeatedly passing ink through the print head lowers the machine’s temperature down but wastes a lot of ink.
Finally, operating your DTG printer in a cold or hot environment also means having to replace the air filter more often. Another way a DTG printer makes up for less than ideal conditions is through bringing in outside air. This process causes the air filter to get consumed at a higher frequency than if working under standard conditions.
Monitoring the humidity level will save you time and money. By using a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels and a regular humidifier as needed you avoid downtime caused by increased machine maintenance. You will also save money on DTG ink that is used in the automatic head cleaning. If you do have trouble attaining the proper humidity, keep in mind that the smaller the space, the easier it will be to control the atmosphere; so, if necessary, try moving your DTG production to a smaller room.