Author Topic: EPSON F3070 vs Brother GTX Pro B, and why we are going with the EPSON.  (Read 6804 times)

Offline blue moon

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As many here know, I was sold on the EPSON very early on, but I also promised to reach out before buying anything and give Brother a chance.
Jon Potter brought up some very good points about Brother so I decided to dig into it deeper.

For those that don’t want to read the whole thing, Brother is nice, but EPSON is better and cheaper to run.

Now, back to the story. . .
EPSON has some pretty amazing technology built in. The first step was making sure that the Brother was not behind and in any of the areas offered by EPSON.

-While the printers are not the same, they are very similar and white ink circulation/re-circulation was addressed in both units.

-bulk ink storage is used in both, but EPSON requires daily shaking of the white ink (probably the biggest negative it has) while Brother GTX Pro B has a small impeller that does that for you. Win one for Brother! On the other hand, Brother has to be refilled from a large bulk container and that does not really sound like a good idea. Swapping a bag with ink certainly sounds a lot cleaner if nothing else. We’ll call this a tie with an edge to Brother if ties were not allowed.

- One trick that EPSON has allows it to finish printing correctly even if a nozzle(s) clogs up. It is rather clever and will provide correct image even if there is a problem. Both printers have stellar designs to make sure there are no issues with clogging, but EPSON goes a step further and it assumes there will be clogs (which I wholeheartedly agree with based on our experience) and it figured out how to keep printing CORRECTLY even with heads not firing at 100%. Score EPSON.

-Similarly, Brother seems to have spent a lot of effort to design a new head that would be reliable and long lasting. EPSON has done the same, but then went a step further and made it work in any condition possible including low/high humidity and high dust and dirt. Their system is loosely based on technology used to print on roll fabric in industrial settings that has been around for almost 20 years. Their goal was to make it work anywhere. To me Brother feels like something designed for desktop/office environment and EPSON feels like something that belongs in a factory. I think this is a big departure from the current idea that the DTG needs to be in humidity, dust and temperature controlled environment. While those are available, for many of us that meant setting up in office space rather than on the production floor. I should not have to tell anybody reading this how much lint, dust and heat are produced by our dryers! EPSON supposedly will not care where it’s set up. If it proves to be true, advantage goes to EPSON.

-To really make it industrial, EPSON has designed the F3070 so any repairs are quick and easily done on site by the staff. For example, the head change is only 2-3 minutes and it’s user replaceable. I think Brother said something like 20 min for theirs which is really good, but still shows that EPSON F3070 is a step ahead. EPSON supposedly will ship replacement parts overnight. I am not sure what the Brother’s policy is, but they were proud of their customer support rating and it seems they have earned it. Overall customer satisfaction was the biggest reason Brother was even considered as an option. But in the end, EPSON wins as the design is more industrial which translates into easier repairs and maintenance.

-One new feature that BROTHER keeps bringing up is the high-low platen sensor. This is a good idea as we have had cases where we printed a shirt after a hoodie and forgot to adjust the distance. The print does not come out as crisp and often needs to be redone. BROTHER GTX Pro B has addressed that with a high and low platen sensor. If I understand correctly, and I did ask, after the warning, operator has to adjust the platen height. I have no idea how long that takes, but it's probably rather quick. EPSON on the other hand decided to take it a step further and the printer auto adjusts to the correct level! So the operator can feed a hood and then a t-shirt (or the other way around) without any other interactions needed. Printer reads the distance and self adjusts to the correct height. Score one for EPSON.

-One thing caught my eye on the EPSON. It has dedicated maintenance and cleaning solution tanks alongside the inks. As I understand these will reduce the amount of wasted ink when a head clearing or some other maintenance is required. Not sure if Brother has anything like it. There are only 5 containers in the images, but maybe there is an internal tank somewhere. No call here as I don’t know enough, but so far it looks like EPSON.

-Both printers are supposedly designed for a contract decorator, but BROTHER has a high cost of ink which on average costs $0.25 per shirt more than EPSON. I used the equipment, labor, speed and ink cost in the calculations and even presented it to BROTHER, but they were not willing to budge. Their ink cost is $170 per liter while EPSON is at $150. Additionally, Brother does not offer discounts on ink unless you buy 9! (yes, nine) units and EPSON is providing an ink discount at 2 and then at 5 again. For a large multi unit (contract) decorator, Brother ink is about 40% more expensive! Many of us will never need that many units, but I can see us using 2 easily. In that case Brother is 20% more. In our world a $0.30 difference in ink cost is more than the total margin on product and we just can NOT justify the extra expense. When asked, Brother leadership said they were OK with being more expensive as they bring other things to the table. They mentioned better tech, better service/relationship with customers and lack of integration with production software on the EPSON's side. I have a feeling they did not really understand what is inside the F3070 and that there are several companies out there that will integrate the EPSON F3070 into the complete production and fulfillment package (we are going with smake). As far as the service, Brother is taunting how good they are and by all accounts that seems to be the case. Complaints about Brother seem to be very rare I am not aware of any. That does not happen very often in this industry, there is always somebody with an issue. But this also presumes the EPSON service is sub par or somehow unacceptable. Even if it is not up to Brother’s level, EPSON has good service and takes care of its customers. So not an issue either. In the end, cost of ink trumps and slight service advantage Brother might have. EPSON tech seems to be better so we will chalk this one to EPSON.

-Speed. . . Brother lists 42 full front shirts per hour and EPSON says 80 or slightly more. That is about double! Speed on its own is not everything as in some cases it might be more than the employees can handle. Additionally, Bother is cheaper by a good amount which would bring the cost per shirt down if there wasn’t for the cost of ink. But for those of us that will be looking to print as many shirts as possible,  EPSON has a leg up. It leaves more room to grow without having to buy another unit. On the other hand, two GTX Pro B’s will print at about the speed of one EPSON F3070, but will also provide redundancy. The problem is, two Brothers are more expensive than one EPSON. Considering that these printers are designed to run one, two or even three shifts per day at full speed, I feel that the EPSON is a better fit for such market. Brother requires you to print something like 1,500 shirts per month to justify buying the unit. If not, supposedly the ink goes bad since it has a 3 month shelf life and the containers they sell it in hold 4500 shirts worth of ink (as I understand it). In any case, EPSON is faster and cost of ownership per shirt if we don’t include the ink is about the same as Brother. Buying a Brother would be like getting a 6 color automatic press instead of an 8 color. Another one for EPSON.

-For anybody interested in EPSON’s garment decorating history, here is a video showing them working with Robustelli all the way back to 2001. My understanding is that the F3070 is like a mini Monna Lisa. Not sure how much technology transferred over to the F3070, but at least it shows they have a significant history of decorating fabric in industrial settings.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-poLUYKmew

Please consider the information here as an opinion. Neither of the units is in regular production (Brother started shipping few weeks ago so a very limited number might be out and the EPSON is still about 4-6 weeks away from first units being delivered to the customers) and I have not used either of them. All the opinions are just that, opinions based on the conversations with the manufacturers and the manufacturer’s reps. In EPSON’s case I had an opportunity to go to their R&D lab and get some inside info. Some confidential knowledge was shared about the Brother by one of the beta testers/person involved in development. While only the time will tell which unit is more reliable and thus most likely the better choice, at this point they both look good, but EPSON just offers a bit more.

 Pierre


Yes, we've won our share of awards, and yes, I've tested stuff and read the scientific papers, but ultimately take everything I say with more than just a grain of salt! So if you are looking for trouble, just do as I say or even better, do something I said years ago!


Offline blue moon

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please let me know if you see any gaping holes in the logic here. Any criticism (of the constructive kind) is very welcome. Since we have not yet placed the deposit, I will gladly order a Brother if it is the right choice (means I am a dumbass and missed something really important).
thanx,
pierre
Yes, we've won our share of awards, and yes, I've tested stuff and read the scientific papers, but ultimately take everything I say with more than just a grain of salt! So if you are looking for trouble, just do as I say or even better, do something I said years ago!

Offline ericheartsu

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this info rocks Pierre. thank you!
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Offline brandon

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Thank you! Going down this road soon

Offline zanegun08

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Great write up, but what pre-treater are you getting it with? 

Also what is the ballpark on cost of these?

If I were to get an entry level DTG,  I like the Epson over anything else, however I still don't love the quality of DTG, and the industrial ones at 300k+ are too expensive for an ROI unless you can really automate your workflow and have the business which we do not.

Always interesting technology though, I missed this one at Impressions Expo, I saw the smaller ones but probably walked right by this bigger one as it looks the same!


Offline blue moon

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Great write up, but what pre-treater are you getting it with? 

Also what is the ballpark on cost of these?

If I were to get an entry level DTG,  I like the Epson over anything else, however I still don't love the quality of DTG, and the industrial ones at 300k+ are too expensive for an ROI unless you can really automate your workflow and have the business which we do not.

Always interesting technology though, I missed this one at Impressions Expo, I saw the smaller ones but probably walked right by this bigger one as it looks the same!
there is whole other conversation in those few questions. We will keep pretreating with the Belquette unit we have for now.
F3070 and the GTX Pro B are really designed for very high use and are not a good choice unless many, many shirts are printed each day. For entry level F2100 or GTX are a better choice (except for their high ink cost). Brother is $35K and the EPSON is $50k. Neither of them seems to be willing to budge on the price of equipment or ink. I tried!
the $300K units are definitely not worth it. EPSON will print 75-80 shirts per hour for $50K. the $300K units only print 100-200.
pierre
Yes, we've won our share of awards, and yes, I've tested stuff and read the scientific papers, but ultimately take everything I say with more than just a grain of salt! So if you are looking for trouble, just do as I say or even better, do something I said years ago!

Offline zanegun08

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the $300K units are definitely not worth it.

EPSON will print 75-80 shirts per hour for $50K. the $300K units only print 100-200.

Agreed!

I was interested in this one https://www.photomugs.com/pages/dtg-printer as it was around $30k but the lack of support and distributor made us not follow through.  It was at ISS two years ago.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 03:20:01 PM by zanegun08 »

Offline cbjamel

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the $300K units are definitely not worth it.

EPSON will print 75-80 shirts per hour for $50K. the $300K units only print 100-200.

Agreed!

I was interested in this one as it was around $30k but the lack of support and distributor made us not follow through.  It was at ISS two years ago.
I dont see any attachment picture on app and web based nothing. which model? bluemoon  what about omni print freejet 330 tx plus it does poly?
Shane

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk


Offline blue moon

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the $300K units are definitely not worth it.

EPSON will print 75-80 shirts per hour for $50K. the $300K units only print 100-200.

Agreed!

I was interested in this one as it was around $30k but the lack of support and distributor made us not follow through.  It was at ISS two years ago.
I dont see any attachment picture on app and web based nothing. which model? bluemoon  what about omni print freejet 330 tx plus it does poly?
Shane

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
Hey Shane,
don't know anything about that DTG, sorry. In general though, my understanding is that printing on poly does not really work regardless of what anybody says.
pierre
Yes, we've won our share of awards, and yes, I've tested stuff and read the scientific papers, but ultimately take everything I say with more than just a grain of salt! So if you are looking for trouble, just do as I say or even better, do something I said years ago!

Offline Rockers

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As many here know, I was sold on the EPSON very early on, but I also promised to reach out before buying anything and give Brother a chance.
Jon Potter brought up some very good points about Brother so I decided to dig into it deeper.

For those that don’t want to read the whole thing, Brother is nice, but EPSON is better and cheaper to run.

Now, back to the story. . .
EPSON has some pretty amazing technology built in. The first step was making sure that the Brother was not behind and in any of the areas offered by EPSON.

-While the printers are not the same, they are very similar and white ink circulation/re-circulation was addressed in both units.

-bulk ink storage is used in both, but EPSON requires daily shaking of the white ink (probably the biggest negative it has) while Brother GTX Pro B has a small impeller that does that for you. Win one for Brother! On the other hand, Brother has to be refilled from a large bulk container and that does not really sound like a good idea. Swapping a bag with ink certainly sounds a lot cleaner if nothing else. We’ll call this a tie with an edge to Brother if ties were not allowed.

- One trick that EPSON has allows it to finish printing correctly even if a nozzle(s) clogs up. It is rather clever and will provide correct image even if there is a problem. Both printers have stellar designs to make sure there are no issues with clogging, but EPSON goes a step further and it assumes there will be clogs (which I wholeheartedly agree with based on our experience) and it figured out how to keep printing CORRECTLY even with heads not firing at 100%. Score EPSON.

-Similarly, Brother seems to have spent a lot of effort to design a new head that would be reliable and long lasting. EPSON has done the same, but then went a step further and made it work in any condition possible including low/high humidity and high dust and dirt. Their system is loosely based on technology used to print on roll fabric in industrial settings that has been around for almost 20 years. Their goal was to make it work anywhere. To me Brother feels like something designed for desktop/office environment and EPSON feels like something that belongs in a factory. I think this is a big departure from the current idea that the DTG needs to be in humidity, dust and temperature controlled environment. While those are available, for many of us that meant setting up in office space rather than on the production floor. I should not have to tell anybody reading this how much lint, dust and heat are produced by our dryers! EPSON supposedly will not care where it’s set up. If it proves to be true, advantage goes to EPSON.

-To really make it industrial, EPSON has designed the F3070 so any repairs are quick and easily done on site by the staff. For example, the head change is only 2-3 minutes and it’s user replaceable. I think Brother said something like 20 min for theirs which is really good, but still shows that EPSON F3070 is a step ahead. EPSON supposedly will ship replacement parts overnight. I am not sure what the Brother’s policy is, but they were proud of their customer support rating and it seems they have earned it. Overall customer satisfaction was the biggest reason Brother was even considered as an option. But in the end, EPSON wins as the design is more industrial which translates into easier repairs and maintenance.

-One new feature that BROTHER keeps bringing up is the high-low platen sensor. This is a good idea as we have had cases where we printed a shirt after a hoodie and forgot to adjust the distance. The print does not come out as crisp and often needs to be redone. BROTHER GTX Pro B has addressed that with a high and low platen sensor. If I understand correctly, and I did ask, after the warning, operator has to adjust the platen height. I have no idea how long that takes, but it's probably rather quick. EPSON on the other hand decided to take it a step further and the printer auto adjusts to the correct level! So the operator can feed a hood and then a t-shirt (or the other way around) without any other interactions needed. Printer reads the distance and self adjusts to the correct height. Score one for EPSON.

-One thing caught my eye on the EPSON. It has dedicated maintenance and cleaning solution tanks alongside the inks. As I understand these will reduce the amount of wasted ink when a head clearing or some other maintenance is required. Not sure if Brother has anything like it. There are only 5 containers in the images, but maybe there is an internal tank somewhere. No call here as I don’t know enough, but so far it looks like EPSON.

-Both printers are supposedly designed for a contract decorator, but BROTHER has a high cost of ink which on average costs $0.25 per shirt more than EPSON. I used the equipment, labor, speed and ink cost in the calculations and even presented it to BROTHER, but they were not willing to budge. Their ink cost is $170 per liter while EPSON is at $150. Additionally, Brother does not offer discounts on ink unless you buy 9! (yes, nine) units and EPSON is providing an ink discount at 2 and then at 5 again. For a large multi unit (contract) decorator, Brother ink is about 40% more expensive! Many of us will never need that many units, but I can see us using 2 easily. In that case Brother is 20% more. In our world a $0.30 difference in ink cost is more than the total margin on product and we just can NOT justify the extra expense. When asked, Brother leadership said they were OK with being more expensive as they bring other things to the table. They mentioned better tech, better service/relationship with customers and lack of integration with production software on the EPSON's side. I have a feeling they did not really understand what is inside the F3070 and that there are several companies out there that will integrate the EPSON F3070 into the complete production and fulfillment package (we are going with smake). As far as the service, Brother is taunting how good they are and by all accounts that seems to be the case. Complaints about Brother seem to be very rare I am not aware of any. That does not happen very often in this industry, there is always somebody with an issue. But this also presumes the EPSON service is sub par or somehow unacceptable. Even if it is not up to Brother’s level, EPSON has good service and takes care of its customers. So not an issue either. In the end, cost of ink trumps and slight service advantage Brother might have. EPSON tech seems to be better so we will chalk this one to EPSON.

-Speed. . . Brother lists 42 full front shirts per hour and EPSON says 80 or slightly more. That is about double! Speed on its own is not everything as in some cases it might be more than the employees can handle. Additionally, Bother is cheaper by a good amount which would bring the cost per shirt down if there wasn’t for the cost of ink. But for those of us that will be looking to print as many shirts as possible,  EPSON has a leg up. It leaves more room to grow without having to buy another unit. On the other hand, two GTX Pro B’s will print at about the speed of one EPSON F3070, but will also provide redundancy. The problem is, two Brothers are more expensive than one EPSON. Considering that these printers are designed to run one, two or even three shifts per day at full speed, I feel that the EPSON is a better fit for such market. Brother requires you to print something like 1,500 shirts per month to justify buying the unit. If not, supposedly the ink goes bad since it has a 3 month shelf life and the containers they sell it in hold 4500 shirts worth of ink (as I understand it). In any case, EPSON is faster and cost of ownership per shirt if we don’t include the ink is about the same as Brother. Buying a Brother would be like getting a 6 color automatic press instead of an 8 color. Another one for EPSON.

-For anybody interested in EPSON’s garment decorating history, here is a video showing them working with Robustelli all the way back to 2001. My understanding is that the F3070 is like a mini Monna Lisa. Not sure how much technology transferred over to the F3070, but at least it shows they have a significant history of decorating fabric in industrial settings.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-poLUYKmew

Please consider the information here as an opinion. Neither of the units is in regular production (Brother started shipping few weeks ago so a very limited number might be out and the EPSON is still about 4-6 weeks away from first units being delivered to the customers) and I have not used either of them. All the opinions are just that, opinions based on the conversations with the manufacturers and the manufacturer’s reps. In EPSON’s case I had an opportunity to go to their R&D lab and get some inside info. Some confidential knowledge was shared about the Brother by one of the beta testers/person involved in development. While only the time will tell which unit is more reliable and thus most likely the better choice, at this point they both look good, but EPSON just offers a bit more.

 Pierre
I`m curious, are you already in the position where you know that you will be printing with the Epson day in day out or are you still at a stage where you print a couple of jobs a day only but want this to cover increase in orders over the next few month? We are as well in the market for an inkjet printer, would be our first one, and looking at the Brother GT-X. Not the Bulk Pro version though. But like you said there are a few things that leave room for improvement on the Brother printers. And even though the Epson is a lot more expensive then the GT-X and we have not yet an established DTG customer base I would see it as a purchase for busier days. I don`t like the idea of buying an entry model first and once it gets more busy upgrading to a pro printer.

Offline Maxie

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Pierre what's the life expectancy of these units, more in time than units printed.
Taking into account how fast they are improving technology how long would you lease one of these for?
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Online Nation03

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So brass tax - What's the realistic price per shirt to the end customer to make a reasonable profit? I understand there are multiple variables, but lets go with ballpark figures.

Offline blue moon

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So brass tax - What's the realistic price per shirt to the end customer to make a reasonable profit? I understand there are multiple variables, but lets go with ballpark figures.

maxie brings up a great point. I used the 5 year lease, where it should probably be 3. I would imagine these would still be functional in 5 years, especially now that they are just being released, but something better will be out in about three years or so. On the other hand, I feel that the improvements going forward will have more to do with the software than the equipment. Yes, they will get better, but not to the point that we would want to throw the current generation out the window. GTX is 3 years old now and it is still a formidable piece of equipment.

So... back to the real question!
The cost of print per garment will vary and the biggest factor is how many shirts you print per week. My estimate is $200-$250 per week for the equipment, about $1 for the ink and some labor. at 100 per day the cost varies from $2 to $3 per print depending on the total qty per order. This takes into account the administrative overhead to receive and process the order and prep the art. This is also with a 5 year payment plan.

pierre
Yes, we've won our share of awards, and yes, I've tested stuff and read the scientific papers, but ultimately take everything I say with more than just a grain of salt! So if you are looking for trouble, just do as I say or even better, do something I said years ago!

Offline blue moon

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Please consider the information here as an opinion. Neither of the units is in regular production (Brother started shipping few weeks ago so a very limited number might be out and the EPSON is still about 4-6 weeks away from first units being delivered to the customers) and I have not used either of them. All the opinions are just that, opinions based on the conversations with the manufacturers and the manufacturer’s reps. In EPSON’s case I had an opportunity to go to their R&D lab and get some inside info. Some confidential knowledge was shared about the Brother by one of the beta testers/person involved in development. While only the time will tell which unit is more reliable and thus most likely the better choice, at this point they both look good, but EPSON just offers a bit more.

 Pierre
I`m curious, are you already in the position where you know that you will be printing with the Epson day in day out or are you still at a stage where you print a couple of jobs a day only but want this to cover increase in orders over the next few month? We are as well in the market for an inkjet printer, would be our first one, and looking at the Brother GT-X. Not the Bulk Pro version though. But like you said there are a few things that leave room for improvement on the Brother printers. And even though the Epson is a lot more expensive then the GT-X and we have not yet an established DTG customer base I would see it as a purchase for busier days. I don`t like the idea of buying an entry model first and once it gets more busy upgrading to a pro printer.

we do not have enough work for it to print all day. We are buying a little ahead so we can get a stronghold on the services. We will try to get on demand printing going for our customers which will require fulfilling the orders of one, two or three pieces. There are software packages that allow for full speed printing on orders like that so we will give it a try.

pierre
Yes, we've won our share of awards, and yes, I've tested stuff and read the scientific papers, but ultimately take everything I say with more than just a grain of salt! So if you are looking for trouble, just do as I say or even better, do something I said years ago!

Offline GraphicDisorder

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For me many customers that knew the orders were being DTG printed would not order as a result. Most likely I assume because they have had bad DTG before. Which is logical because just a few years ago DTG was largely trash, just facts. Its getting better all the time I do think people get really really hyped on the printing and how easy that is and forget the BS pretreat steps, heat pressing and all that extra work that is what makes up the most part of your time when offering DTG.

We had a great machine (MLINK) and very little drama with it. But the pretreat BS and time suck all that was.... made it just a much longer process than I think many know. Also I saw prints take seconds and prints take 5 minutes. So if you are using some ideal print like I am sure Epson and Brother are basing speed on don't kid yourself. Many prints probably will take longer.

Interested where the thread goes. Ill be forever watching DTG. We got out of that game mostly due to space and lack of staff to run it within that already tight space. Wasn't going to modify my building to run DTG just yet.

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