With today’s advanced printers, such as the Helix® printer from Inkcups (pictured above), direct-to-object digital printers are capable of printing on a variety of products, from drinkware to personalized cosmetics.

Today’s direct-to-object (DTO) cylindrical printing systems serve a handful of modern printing needs. Growing demand from promotional and retail/personalization markets is driving the need for more advanced, higher-quality printing techniques on cylindrical items such as drinkware.

DTO printing makes great strides

DTO cylindrical printing has traditionally been done using screen printing methods. Screen printing has the advantage of a large installed equipment base and a well-practiced technique, but is disadvantaged in labor time, material costs and the need for additional production steps. DTO digital offers three main advantages over conventional DTO screen printing: it can produce multiple colors and/or design effects in one pass; it has the ability to print short runs with customization; and it delivers significant time and cost savings.

Some of the strengths of today’s newer DTO cylindrical digital machines include:

  • Design techniques, such as mirror prints, tone on tone, stained glass, contouring and etching
  • Built-in programmable tilt to reduce changeover time and eliminate the need to optimize print recipes for each SKU change
  • Seamless, 360° printing
  • Image resolution of 1,200 dpi

These machines also can print full color, including varnishes and specialty inks, enabling a wide spectrum of design techniques. This provides the print customer with the opportunity for considerable personalized creativity.

When researching the best machine to fit specific needs, some key considerations are printable diameter, length of the object and depth of the largest contour. Users also should take into account the composition of the item to be printed on, as certain inks can only properly adhere to specific substrates.

The markets: Promotional and retail/personalization

Look around – personalization is everywhere. People are proudly wearing shirts with their dog’s face, sipping beer from a pint glass with their spouse’s photo and appreciating the ambience of a candle with a favorite wedding photo. With the advanced DTO digital printers on the market today, personalization just got a huge upgrade from single-color logos to full-color facial image replication.

The abundance of applications is a strong point of digital DTO printing. These machines can print on an almost limitless variety of products, including glass and barware, stainless steel and plastic sports bottles, candles and candle holders, industrial tubes, disposable cups, beer and spirit bottles, measuring cups, event-based products (i.e., water bottles for bicycle races), personalized items and cosmetics. Printable materials include glass, coated metals, stainless steel, plastic and paraffin wax candles. Just don’t forget to match the correct ink to each substrate for maximum adhesion.

Inkcups is a leading supplier and manufacturer of digital inkjet equipment, pad printing equipment, laser plate-makers and corresponding supplies, with direct sales, technical support and warehouse locations in the US, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Hong Kong and other global locations. Inkcups manufactures high-quality industrial machines for a wide range of industries including apparel, drinkware, promotional, electronic, medical, sporting goods and automotive markets. For more information, visit www.inkcups.com.

Jessica-MakrinosJessica Makrinos
marketing manager