What is belt printing for t-shirts?
A belt screen printing press is a very expensive and highly specialized piece of equipment that allows screen printers to print all over a t-shirt. In most cases it covers up to 38 inches wide by 84 inches tall and that can easily cover the entire front or back of a. This makes printing across the seams and printing from top to bottom very easy. This sounds wonderful and I’m sure you are already wondering why all screen printers don’t have a machine like that and what if any are the drawbacks.
The reason that not all printers have this equipment is because the machine is so expensive and so specialized. Plus the pricing for an all over print from a belt screen printing machine is typically very high as well which dissuades many customers from placing an order for this style print. Another problem is that the belt screen printing press is very large and takes up quite a lot of space. In addition to this with such a costly piece of equipment in can take quite some time for the screen printer to try and recoup the return on investment from the purchase on one of these machines, especially if they aren’t getting regular orders for this style print.
Another problem is that the machine is not built like a regular press it takes extensive training to understand all the nuances and create the best possible print. This isn't necessarily a downfall, it is just something to consider when researching belt printers. This extra investment in time and skill also makes some printers hesitant to give it a try.
Because of the rarity of these machines in the United States the screen printers who do own one of these machines are able to make up the rules and prices. In most cases the minimum print run to use a belt printing press is 144 pieces, and that is on the low end of the spectrum. It would not be unheard of for the minimum to be as high as 288 pieces.
Belt screen printing is not for every job. For those that require it, it is a lifesaver. For those that just want it, there is a lot to be considered when deciding if a belt screen printing press is going to be worth the job. In many cases it makes more sense to simply get an order printed with traditional screen printing equipment instead.
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