The most important question when considering a pre-treat machine; do you have the volume to justify the equipment? Less than 50 pieces per day I would pre-treat manually. 50 or more, buy a machine.
A pre-treat machine is more than a financial investment it is also an investment in time, maintenance, and training.
A common misconception is that a pre-treat machine makes pre-treating shirts simpler. This is true to an extent. Pre-treat machines require regular maintenance. Pre-treatment is a sticky substance and most mechanical sprayers will clog easily. This means before and after each use you must prepare your sprayer and this can take time.
It takes about the same amount of time to set up, pre-treat 50 shirts, and break down an automatic pre-treater as it does to pre-treat 50 shirts manually.
That being said, if you’re running some serious production and averaging 50+ pieces per day, BUY A PRE-TREAT MACHINE! Once the machine is running you will be flying through shirts. You can easily pre-treat 100 shirts an hour.
There are a number of machines on the market. Be very cautious of most pre-treat machines. As I have said, pre-treat solution can clog up a machine rendering it nearly useless unless it’s been thoroughly cleaned. The only machine Melco will sell are the pre-treaters made by Lawson. They are industrial, easy to maintain, and extremely reliable. You’re already onboard with the top of the line DTG Printer, now get on board with the top of the line pre-treat machine. Don’t sacrifice quality and reliability to save a few bucks on a lesser unit.
Pre-treating shirts manually can be extremely fast and simple.If you need to pre-treat large numbers of shirts at once, a machine makes sense. If your typical orders are 5-10-20-50, shirts per day, I believe it makes more sense to pre-treat manually. I recommend anyone interested in the F2000 should know how to pre-treat manually, even if you decide to purchase a machine. Epson has put together a helpful video showing the proper way to pre-treat manually. Watch here.
Melco sells the exact kit shown in the video. Purchase at www.shopmelco.com
I should note, automatic pre-treaters use about 20% less pre-treat solution. Manual pretreating is easy, fast, little to no cleanup and makes sense for low volume runs however, you should factor additional cost for pre-treat solution.
Only use Epson pre-treat on the F2000. Mix Epson concentrate 60-40 for dark garments, 70-30 for medium colors, 80-20 for lights.
Pre-treating should be easy. Don’t overthink it, do it right and be happy!
John LeDrew • DTG Director • Melco International