August '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 74 of 106

You're Going to Miss Me Commonly Overlooked Tools for Apparel Decoration Businesses B Y M I K E C L A R K 66 || P R I N T W E A R A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 R unning a successful shop typi- cally starts with having the right equipment. While this can range from a well-maintained press to an embroidery machine running in top form, there are other tools and equip- ment to consider. These tools often encom- pass more than one decoration discipline and in their own way, have a major impact on a shop's livelihood. OFTEN FORGOTTEN When it comes to the most overlooked shop tools, some are more tangible items like wrenches, while other "tools" can in- clude business management aides, such as software. For screen printers, Joe Clarke, Synergy Inks, points out there is often a disconnect between screen makers and press operators and the tools they use. While the screen de- partment is keyed in to specifics like mesh count and thread diameter, he explains, a press operator may not always be aware of these details. "The press operators grab the squeegee blade not knowing a screen's specs," says Clarke. Too often, he adds, the operator will pop the screen into a press that's not calibrat- ed properly for the screen's specifications. To ensure a press operator is using the proper squeegee and adjusting the press to the right calibration, Clarke suggests the operator keep a few tools handy: a durom- eter, tension meter, thread counter, and 20X loupe. With these tools, he contends, a press operator can always stay on top of proper tension, squeegee type, and mesh counts before moving to the next steps of production. Sara Broghamer, Easiway Systems, says screen printers also tend to overlook the importance of washout and filtration tools. A pressure washer, proper drain filtration, a backlit washout booth, and safety equip- ment are all important tools and compo- nents screen printers should have in their shop. On the more virtual end, Tony Williams, ShopWorks, vouches for the importance of software, particularly shop management With the right tools, a press operator can ensure they're using the proper squeegee and adjusting the press to the right calibration. (Image courtesy Easiway Systems)

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