Blue Richardson, Senior Vice President at DPIQ said, “Immediately we saw increased production capacity. Labor cost dropped slightly, but we experienced issues that impacted quality of print, up-time and vendor support was poor. We pushed through these difficulties, thinking this was the best option available.”
At the 2019 ISS tradeshow, the DPIQ team was introduced to Aeoon printers. They found it hard to ignore the quality of Aeoon’s prints, the speed at which they printed and the quality of their machines.
Gary pointed out, “Changing our equipment at this phase of our growth would be difficult, but it was hard to ignore the quality and speed of Aeoon. So, we started on a new journey to see if it made sense to invest in Aeoon.” Over the next 10 months the DPIQ team evaluated several key areas: pretreat, speed, print quality, cost of operation and reliability.
Initially, their biggest question was whether pre-treat should be done in-line or off-line. They quickly found pre-treating off-line to be a huge advantage because it offered flexibility they hadn’t had before. By pre-treating off-line they were able to choose the best pretreat solution for the garment they were printing, which opened up options to print on polyester and other difficult fabrics. This had not previously been possible because their current equipment did not offer options for different pre-treat solutions.
Blue recalls, “Aeoon also provided equipment that pre-treated garments at a very rapid pace. A single operator can pre-treat 400 to 500 garments per hour, enough to keep up with several very fast DTG printers. Labor to pre-treat was no longer an issue with this new level of productivity. On top of that, about 1/3 of our garments do not require pre-treat at all when printed on Aeoon, which is another significant advantage. Our existing equipment required pre-treat on all garments.”
Speed, cost of operation, and quality were next in their evaluation process. They were surprised by the results: productivity tripled, consumable costs dropped by an average of 54% and even with pre-treating offline their labor costs dropped significantly. Blue said, “Aeoon was the clear winner.” And continued by saying “Quality usually suffers with increased speed but that is not what we found with Aeoon. Printing on a dry surface rather than wet, Aeoon printers were able to achieve a greater level of detail, brightness, color saturation and clarity than we were getting from our old equipment. Not just a little bit better, significantly better quality.”
Their last key area to evaluate was reliability. The existing equipment failed too often which impacted deadlines and ultimately customer satisfaction. Gary remarked “We needed more reliable printers. Our down time with Aeoon has been minimal. Our other equipment failed far too often and impacted our ability to meet deadlines.”
DPIQ experienced what Aeoon has worked hard to achieve, their printers are designed to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they rarely fail. When the equipment does have a problem, DPIQ’s team was quick to point out that “Aeoon’s support staff has been stellar when they needed them.”
Print on Demand (POD) is very important to the future of DPIQ. It’s an exploding growth market for DTG printers, but Gary insists that it requires automated production to be truly successful. He has seen that commitment to automation varies greatly among DTG printer manufacturers. Pointing out that some of them don’t address it at all. And took the point further saying Aeoon has taken the necessary steps to fully integrate automation into their equipment.
POD is important to the growth and profitability of DPIQ. They’ve been able to achieve great success very quickly in the POD market. “Automation eliminates mistakes and improves turn times, which increases DPIQ’s profitability.”
Gary believes Aeoon’s technology creates a distinct advantage for their company by increasing productivity, lowering cost of operation, and contributing to error free production. This allows DPIQ to give their employees the technology they need to succeed, and while he admitted that’s it’s definitely a balancing act, they have been able to compensate their employees with competitive salaries. Blue remarked, “Everyone is happy. We want our employees to earn a better living, and Aeoon is helping to make that happen.”
DPIQ had a few detours on it’s journey to find the right equipment to meet their customer’s expectations. When asked what would you say to others breaking into the DTG market who are looking at Aeoon printers? Gary said “We’re incredibly happy with Aeoon. They give us the reliability, speed, low cost of operation, and the quality we need. Aeoon’s forward-thinking, quality-minded manufacturing process has helped us grow more quickly than we ever thought possible.