STS Inks’ DTF Process Helps Domestic Printing Industry Respond to Labor Shortage

STS Inks, a global leader in the wide format, industrial and household inkjet ink market, launched a groundbreaking Direct-To-Film (DTF) Printing Division in 2021 that is allowing the printing industry to combat current and predicted skilled and unskilled labor shortages head on. STS inks DTF print

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently reported 10.9 million job openings and more than 52 percent of business owners reported no qualified applicants for the open positions at their firms. A recent Booz & Co. study of more than 1,000 CEOs from around the world found “the No. 1 business concern among all respondents is the availability of skilled labor.”

Marking a direct threat to printers, eighty-four percent of the CEOs polled stated there is a talent shortage in manufacturing in particular, with “six out of 10 open production positions going unfilled due to a talent shortage in skilled trades” like screen print operators.

Considered an industry disruptor, STS Inks’ DTF printers are designed to be the most cost-effective solution to simplify the process of quickly creating custom t-shirts and apparel. They also, however, feature key benefits, that include less manpower to operate and less technical training, as well as a compact footprint and an overall lower error rate.

One such U.S. business benefiting from the DTF printers is Central Florida Solutions Group, Inc. in Leesburg, Florida. Bob Rudinksy, President of Central Florida Solutions Group, purchased his first DTF printer from STS Inks in November 2021; about five weeks later, he had paid off the machine and purchased a second machine in December. He estimates he has printed about 6,500 shirts on the printers to date.

For Rudinsky, who currently has a skeleton staff of four employees, the DTF printer is a lifesaver. “Not only was I able to start printing on the DTF machine on day one of receiving it, but the printer also requires very little training, minimum clean-up and after hitting print, you can walk away and check on it every so often,” said Rudinksy. “I am still using screen printing in my shop, but the DTF printer has probably displaced about 70 to 80 percent of screen printing since I purchased it.”

Before DTF, Rudinsky found himself turning away customers because he didn’t have a solution for their needs. Today, not only does he utilize the DTF printer every single day at his shop to fulfill orders, but his customers are impressed with the results. “Thanks to DTF, I no longer have to turn away customers that want full color printing on dark colored shirts.”

Adam Shafran, CFO of STS Inks, agrees: “It’s exciting that a solo business owner can run our DTF printers on their own and still have time to run the day to day in their business. Beyond that, the business owner can confidently know they have access to U.S. based customer support and supplies.”

STS Inks introduced its groundbreaking new Direct-to-Film (DTF) modular system in 2021. Developed in partnership with Mutoh, a best-selling manufacturer of wide format printers, the centerpiece of the new system is a compact printer that measures 24″ and is built to fit onto a table-top or rolling stand in any size print shop. The exclusive STS Inks DTF System is designed to be the most cost-effective and hassle-free solution to simplify the process of quickly creating custom t-shirts and apparel.