March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 86 of 118

8 2 | PRINTWEAR M A RC H 20 1 5 WORKFLOW Embracing digital technology is essential. In the digital workplace, the same sys- tem can deliver data to CTS and provide management data to verify costs. A tradi- tional film-based workflow can have 12 or more steps from artwork creation until the screen is ready to print. We can re- duce that same workflow to three or four steps using CTS (see Comparison Chart on page 83). This reduced process results in labor cost savings. Consider the numerous steps traditionally involved with film, in- cluding output, positioning on a punched carrier and screen, placing it into an expo- sure system, removing the film and then from the carrier, archiving the film, and so on. Multiply that by the number of screens throughput in a day and you can see how much time is lost comparatively. Lest we forget about the labor costs saved during setup and printing, thanks to the precision of CTS. The advantages of CTS with onboard exposure match the improved quality of prints and reduced time with a precise registration system and perfect registration from color to color. The direct CTS ex- posure takes out most of the steps in con- ventional film-based screen production, resulting in an increase in productivity. ROI Prices for CTS machines range from $50,000 to more than $100,000. It ap- pears that our industry has found its price point on the lower end as most practical applications are in the $50,000 to $80,000 range. Don't look for prices to drop much. It's an investment that produces immedi- ate returns. The bottom line is that it re- duces costs. It is easy to do the math on film itself and compute the return on investment alone on that alone. Two automatics or more is easy math, but any startup with one ma- chine may make sense, as well. Multiple manual shops should be taking note, too. Ultimately, the real numbers are about how many screens are produced per day. Geoff Baxter, director of the Digital Products Division at the M&R Compa- nies, estimates that a shop that produces 6,500 screens a year, about 25 per day, can save at least $12,350 year. This is based on an average film cost of $2 per screen for a total of $13,000 and ink costs of 10 cents per screen, or $650 annually. This film savings doesn't include other factors, Using the traditional film workflow process takes several more steps to complete. CTS SYSTEMS

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