We thought it would be nice to give you an update on our production process here in the LKC studio. We’ve been very hard at work behind the scenes, trying to improve our processes with new developments in technology and constantly testing different workflows. We are also committed to using only environmentally-sustainable processes and ethically sourced garments, while delivering you a high quality product.
With all the changes around the studio, we are now more efficient than ever before! Here are some of the things we’ve been working on:
Introducing environmentally friendly chemicals for improved ink-to-garment bonding: Before we print on our shirts, jumpers, hoodies and totes, we spray them with pre-treatment fluid and then press them dry with our heat-presses. Without this crucial step, the ink from our DTG printer will not adhere to the garments. This makes the prints on our garments more durable and vibrant, in case you chuck them into your dryer accidentally (but it’s still best not to though!)
Investing in new equipment to cure the ink super thoroughly: Warwick has lovingly dubbed this his “Blominos Pizza Oven.” (not really Blominos, but use your imagination!) After we print on the garment, it is then carefully moved over to our heating conveyor tunnel, where it will cycle through to cure for a few minutes. It then comes out the other end, ready to be packaged and go out to you! This step ensures washability and vibrancy for your new garment.
Training new staff: Our team is small, but mighty! They are trained across multiple areas of the business, and everyone can do a little bit of everything. We’ve got our team taking on extra printing shifts so we can decrease production time, process more orders, and get them out to you more quickly!
Reconfiguring our studio space: This is the next step for our business! We have moved around our equipment to separate the printer from the heat-presses, and swapped our tunnel to lower the temperature down, and keep the area dust free. We’ve found that on hotter days, the printer needs more downtime for maintenance, and this slows down production time dramatically, and sometimes even stops it completely. We’re trying to avoid that wherever possible, so this is what we’re doing to make sure we can keep the printer running and printing t-shirts for you!
Final Note: Perhaps you may have heard of DTF (direct to film) printing. All of our competitors are currently moving towards this method because it's cheaper and quicker. Why aren't we doing it? Every print requires a new sheet of plastic, which currently can't be recycled due to the collapse of RedCycle. The amount of plastic waste generated by this printing process causes significant environmental damage. Moreover, the prints themselves contain plastic, adding stiffness to the fabric and making the shirts less comfortable to wear. Maybe in the future, they will develop a way to use transfer paper instead, but until then, we want no part in this. Fortunately, our own methods use water-based ink and do not include plastic in any stage of the process, resulting in a softer and more breathable print. We even recycle our leftover inks! When you shop with LKC, you are opting for a greener and more sustainable future, so cheers to you!
We hope that you’ve enjoyed getting a glimpse of our production process! It’s a constant trial and error, and we are always trying to find little ways to improve our final product. Thanks for being so loyal to our brand, and we hope to see you again very soon!