July '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 8 J U LY P R I N T W E A R || 51 differing money-down requirements, buy- out clauses, and market value options. By comparatively shopping around to different financial institutions, shops can typically find a lender that will accommodate their needs, especially if they are an established business with an existing reputation. In addition to researching leasing possi- bilities, Wells stresses that shops can make the mistake of spending too much of their own money without seeing what they may be entitled to through other outlets. Many states offer grants and other funds for busi- nesses in urban renewal zones, or are mi- nority- or female-owned, as well as special considerations for military veterans. Some of these funds are also available through the Federal government. TRAINING Similar to other mistakes related to bringing an auto press into the shop, business owners can make the error of fast-tracking training on the equipment, hoping to churn out more high-capacity orders. "We seem to be in such a rush at times to complete jobs," contends Jirasek. "At the same time, a poorly-trained employee can cost you a lot of money in the short and long run." Jirasek recommends owners schedule am- ple time to walk a press operator through the entire process from start to finish, cover- ing all crucial setup and registration steps. Once an experienced trainer has walked the employee through the process, he rec- ommends having that employee run a test print on their own with the trainer shad- owing them. This way, shops can catch any incorrect approaches to the auto-printing process long before employees are pulling poorly-printed shirts off the conveyer belt. In addition to an attentive approach to on-press training, shops can avoid mistakes by maintaining a set of checks and balances. By cross-training employees and having a system where each part in the production chain checks the other employee's work helps ensure consistency, builds a culture of empathy, and ultimately improves over- all productivity, explains Goldberg. "Just because the press does the majority of the work once it is set up and can crank out nice production numbers does not mean it couldn't benefit from some additional help," he says. With a more team-oriented workflow, shops can avoid that idle time, and turn more of their employees into as- sets. GETTING TO WORK Parties agree that these five mistakes can all spiral into other errors, but starting with the foundation of knowing why the shop wants to bring on an automatic press will help set the stage for success. Bigger is not neces- sarily "better," stresses Landesman, and if a shop already has existing issues anywhere along the production or ordering chain, owners should rectify these problems be- fore spending more money on equipment. Carter sums it up saying, "People think that machine will inherently fix all the existing problems they have, but the quality of what goes in to your press will determine the quality of what comes out." IN THE INK A WORD ON COMMON MISTAKES WITH SCREEN- PRINTING INK U sing ink on an automatic press is a detailed discussion on its own, but industry voices offer these few basic suggestions to avoid the mistake of over- or under-using ink: • "You want enough ink in the screen to fill the well and print without stopping too much to refill. Putting too little ink means having to constantly replenish, which slows you down." – TAYLOR LANDESMAN, LAWSON SCREEN & DIGITAL PRODUCTS • "Run a test print before you load up your screens with ink, and keep in mind that the size of your print, mesh count, and quantity of shirts all play a part in determining your ink volume." – MICHAEL JIRASEK, ANATOL EQUIPMENT • "Computer-based ink-mixing systems allow you to calculate how much ink is needed per screen. If a computer-based system is not used, start with a reasonable amount and add as it is consumed." – DAN GOLD- BERG, THE M&R COMPANIES • "Make sure you have enough ink to ensure it has a nice roll/ wave to and it shears across the stencil." – BRAD CARTER, WORK- HORSE PRODUCTS Many modern presses feature digital interfaces and controls to improve the overall efficiency and accuracy of performance. (Image courtesy Workhorse Products)

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