Rugby merchandise printer First XV has begun printing its own range of slogan t-shirts with the installation of the UK’s first Epson SureColor SC-F2100 direct-to-garment (DTG) printer.
Taken on at the start of April, the machine was chosen by the Edinburgh-based t-shirt printer after a period of shopping around, as well as considering outsourcing.
Supplied by Castle Donington-based distributor Xpres for "more than £10,000", the F2100 is a completely new addition to First XV’s kit that will allow it to print its own range of rugby-related slogan t-shirts on top of its typical output of names and numbers printed onto pre-existing rugby kits offered by the firm’s rugbystuff.com brand.
Partner Adam Clark said: “Options we explored with outsourcing our DTG offering were too slow to deliver and we did not appreciate the lack of control we had. We have been experimenting with this offering since February, but the Epson has allowed us to get started properly.
“Right now, we are learning as we go but we are also getting great results. We have good links with Xpres and trusted that this was a worthwhile machine. Though we considered the older F2000, we thought about how those models have been around since 2013 and how much technology has moved on and decided to go for the updated version.
“We had more trepidations about moving into DTG than we did about this being the UK’s first F2100 because we had only ever worked with vinyl before.”
First XV’s original rugby kit offering is generated using a Roland CAMM 1 Servo vinyl plotter/cutter alongside a heat press from Leicestershire manufacturer Adkins. All finishing and embroidery is completed offsite.
Running CMYK plus white, First XV’s new Epson SC-F2100 is the first UK installation since the machine’s announcement in January. It can print on fabric up to 25mm thick and improves on its F2000 predecessor with greater speed – it can print on a colour t-shirt in around two minutes – and lower cost of ownership. It is compatible with Epson’s Garment Creator software to generate print designs for t-shirts.
Clark said he now plans to push his company’s new offering and make sure the market is aware of the products it can produce, branching out onto Amazon and eBay to reach a wider audience. He aims to double First XV’s turnover in the near future.
The firm employs eight members of staff.