November '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 5 N O V E M B E R P R I N T W E A R || 83 I t's not enough to have a great print- er-cutter; you also have to understand how to use it to reap the maximum return on your investment. And that doesn't mean just having the ability to oper- ate the machine. You also have to be aware of the variables that impact its performance and output, and know how to address them. SETTING UP The proper environment and setup for your printer-cutter is crucial as a well mapped out workflow and helps to maximize pro- ductivity. The ideal environment is: Clean. The ideal location is away from the lint and dust typically found around screen printing machines and garments. If dust gets in the nozzles, the print head will spit out particles as the ink is sprayed, producing a grainy look. Dust also can cause spraying ink to deflect, which affects print quality and necessitates cleaning. Static-free. It is best to keep printer-cutters off of carpet, which can create stat- ic electricity. Static on media can "grab" the ink droplet, and cause it to misfire. Cement, wood, and most solid flooring are better options. If you have to use your machine in a car- peted area, do what you can to minimize static, such as laying down plastic floor mats. Since static poses the biggest issue with me- dia, pay particular attention to "static proof- ing" your media storage. You also can install static bands on the back of printer-cutters that act as magnetic ropes to dissipate static on the media as it goes by. Temperature controlled. The optimal temperature for printer-cutters is in the 70 degree F range. High heat increases ink flow, and results in more ink being laid down than usual. Conversely, if the area is too Joseph Burt is a field technician for Stahls' Digital Division. He installs, trains, troubleshoots and repairs dig- ital direct-to-garment printers and printer-cutters. He can be reached at Far left: Dust, lint, and dirt are enemies of any print- er-cutter machine. To re- duce the chance of a break- down and to keep your machine in tip top shape, wipe it down at least once a week using a soft damp cloth and an all-purpose cleaner. (All images courte- sy of STAHLS' Equipment) Left: The printer-cut- ter does some automatic cleaning itself using rub- ber and felt wiper blades. The rubber blade should be manually cleaned weekly using only a foam-tipped swab to clean off excess ink and dust that has collected in the past week. Setting Up For Printer-Cutter Success Maximize Printer-Cutter Productivity with Proper Environment and Care B Y J O S E P H B U R T

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