Inkcups encourages apparel decorator companies to expand into printing on promotional products, such as drinkware, as demand for personalized, customized products continues to grow; Inkcups Helix ONE system prints on cylindrical objects

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July 13, 2023 (press release) –

Did you know that acquiring a new customer can cost you five times more than maintaining an existing customer? Moreover, investing time and effort in nurturing and strengthening relationships with your current customers can yield mutual benefits. Now, pay attention if you operate as a direct to garment (DTG), screen printing, or garment decorating company. Expanding your services from apparel decoration to include promotional products like drinkware is both seamless and rewarding. As you may already know, personalization and customization trends continue to grow. By offering your customers the convenience of ordering both garments and drinkware from a single location, you provide them with a streamlined and comprehensive solution.

Benefits of Expanding for Apparel Decorators

The primary objective is to become a one-stop-shop for customers. By expanding your business to include drinkware, you can establish a stronger customer bond and boost sales. In the short term, this expansion can have a positive impact on your bottom line. Instead of directing customers to other companies for additional needs, consider meeting those needs in-house. The greater the share of a customer’s wallet that you can capture, the better.

The investment in adding a cylindrical printer to complement your existing screen printer, direct-to-garment printer, heat press, or other methods will quickly pay for itself. Furthermore, the learning curve for operating a cylindrical printer is minimal, as the knowledge and skills from your existing printing operations will seamlessly transfer over.

The Drinkware Craze

Consumers exhibit an insatiable frenzy when it comes to their drinkware, swiftly emptying entire shelves the moment they are restocked and stalking online sites. As single-use cups are phased out, and leaders of caffeination like Starbucks allow customers to bring their own vessel, the demand for reusable drinkware holds strong.

Drinkware: One Size Fits All

How much time do you spend forecasting, ordering, and printing a wide variety of sizes, cuts, and shapes of apparel? Not to mention the re-stocking. Drinkware eliminates this. Consider beginning your drinkware journey with offering five different drinkware vessels. That’s less SKUs than any one t-shirt when you factor in all the different size offerings.

Expand Promotional Product Offerings

Despite being the second most popular promotional product, drinkware often gets overshadowed by t-shirts. It’s worth noting that, on average, a promotional item is retained for about a year. In line with this trend, drinkware also generates approximately 1400 impressions throughout its lifetime. Moreover, the use of reusable drinkware contributes to significant environmental benefits, saving approximately six trees per person over a ten-year period. The positive impact of reusable drinkware extends to various areas and underscores its value as a promotional product.

Expanding your offerings to include decorated apparel and customized drinkware opens up a wider customer base that you can appeal to. Consider various events, such as bachelorette parties, team building activities, corporate swag, charity events, and more, where participants could benefit from having both branded apparel and personalized drinkware. By catering to these diverse needs, you can attract a larger audience and enhance your business opportunities.

Shallow Learning Curve

Similar to decorating apparel, there is a wide range of methods available for decorating drinkware. Dye sublimation, screen printing, pad printing, and digital printing are among the most popular techniques. Each of these methods comes with its own set of advantages and limitations, making it crucial to identify the most suitable method for your specific operation. Taking the time to select the right decoration method is essential to ensure optimal results and success in your drinkware customization endeavors.

Dye sublimation: Dye sublimation involves transferring ink onto drinkware using heat, causing the dye to convert into a gas and permeate the surface of the material, resulting in vibrant, long-lasting prints with excellent color reproduction.
Screen printing: Screen printing utilizes a stencil and a mesh screen to transfer ink onto drinkware, allowing for precise and durable prints with vibrant colors, making it a popular choice for large quantities and simple designs.
Pad printing: Pad printing involves transferring ink onto drinkware using a silicone pad, which picks up the ink from an etched plate and then stamps it onto the surface. It is a versatile method suitable for complex designs and various shapes of drinkware.
Digital printing: Digital printing utilizes digital technology to directly apply ink onto drinkware, enabling high-resolution, full-color prints with intricate details and gradients. It offers flexibility and is well-suited for customization.

For a full exploration of different drinkware printers, please visit: All About Direct to Object Cylinder Printers.

Digital Cylindrical Printing Machine for Small Shops

The Helix® ONE is the latest addition to the Helix® line of printers and is the perfect option for any small business looking to decorate straight walled and tapered cylinders. Its compact, benchtop size still offers full CMYKWV, 360° prints.

Despite its benchtop form, the Helix® ONE surpasses competing products in the market with its superior components. This machine showcases motor-driven operation accompanied by a fully automatic programmable tooling fixture and height adjustment, ensuring precise and efficient performance. With a robust linear drive system, the Helix® ONE guarantees high precision throughout the printing process.

Equipped with an 8W segmented software-controlled UV curing unit, this machine provides optimal curing capabilities for exceptional print quality. Additionally, the Helix® ONE incorporates an automatic wiping system and sub-tank stirring system for white and black inks, enhancing maintenance efficiency. Furthermore, it offers the option to include a jettable primer for expanded printing possibilities.

The print heads of the Helix® ONE employ cutting-edge MEMs head technology, integrating a temperature control system and boasting high-definition drop size of 3 picoliters. This ensures precise and sharp printing results, achieving remarkable image clarity and detail.

Digital printing for drinkware offers numerous advantages, including the capability to produce breathtaking, full-color images seamlessly on cylindrical surfaces, which are instantly cured using UV light. The UV inks utilized are meticulously formulated to adhere flawlessly to various substrates. Inkcups takes it a step further by providing an impressive selection of eight distinct lines of digital inks, guaranteeing that you will find the perfect option to suit your specific requirements.

Like all of Inkcups printing machines, print with ease knowing that the Helix® ONE is backed by Inkcups global support of 20 technicians worldwide and six remote caseworkers. No matter where you are located Inkcups will keep your machine up and running to eliminate downtime.

Helix® Line of Cylinder Printers

The Helix® ONE joins the line of Helix® cylindrical printers, made up of the Helix®, Double Helix®, and the Revolution®. All four of the line offer different output speeds and features.

The Revolution®, the powerhouse of the line, boasts 12 stations printing CMYK with a dedicated white print head and varnish. Print seamless graphics up to 8.66″. Printing with the Revolution® creates stunning print quality due to Helical printing that can achieve much higher resolution images than single pass printing in both X and Y directions. With output speeds of 600 parts per hour, plus integrated pre-treatment and automation load and unload, the Revolution® is perfect for high volume runs.

The Double Helix® features two print stations for double the production volume. Capable of printing on parts up to 12 inches long, the Double Helix prints artwork up to 8.6 inches long. Stand out from competition by utilizing print techniques with the Double Helix® like mirror print, tone-on-tone, contour print, and the ability to print photorealistic images.

The Helix® offers half the volume as the Double Helix® but the same quality. With one print station, the Helix® prints on all the same straight-walled and tapered vessels as the Double. The Helix® can be paired with two different forms of automation: ArtPrep, and automated artwork preparation software, and/or a robotic arm. Additionally, the Helix® has TPC (transparent pin curing) to print on clear vessels without the fear of additional wear and tear on the print head.

Next Steps

You’ve already put in the time compiling a loyal customer base and chances are if the relationship established is positive and strong, they’d be willing to expand with you. Time for direct to garment and apparel decorators to expand with your customers rather than losing them to other companies. It all begins with accessing the resources you currently possess, the invaluable active customers. For more information, visit The Business Case for Drinkware.

Question or ready to get expand your offerings? Contact Inkcups today!

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.

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Dan Rivard
Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

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