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Defining the Ideal Manual Press

(December 2011) posted on Wed Dec 14, 2011

Almost every facet of a manual press is as important to productivity and print quality as the next. Consider the features and functions described here when shopping for a new manual press.

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By Screen Printing's Solution Sourcebook

No matter how large your garment-printing operation, chances are that manual presses play an important role. In larger shops, these presses may be used to handle sampling and overflow work, while in smaller shops manual models may be the backbone of production. But regardless of what part manual presses play in your facility, the machines must be sturdy, accurate, and reliable.

Ease of use is the first thing to look for in a manual press. You do not want a machine that takes excessive effort to use. Some believe that the heavier a press is built, the stronger and better it is. This is not necessarily true. For example, some presses are built like tanks but have weak registration systems. On the other hand, there are plenty of solid manual presses that require twice the effort to operate.

Start your search for manual garment presses by polling your fellow printers in the industry. Ask for their general opinions on the performance of units they’ve used. Developing a general consensus can help steer you in the right direction. In addition to getting user feedback about different press models, here are some other features and considerations to keep in mind:

Number of colors The number of colors supported by the press you plan to purchase is always an important concern. If you operate a fledgling company, you may want to plan for expansion from the standpoint of colors. Although you may be satisfied initially with a six-color press to keep things simple, you might instead want to consider an eight-color unit that will accommodate future jobs.

Microregistration Design movement during a job run is one of the most frustrating aspects of manual screen printing. To reregister an image, you typically have to wipe the screens clean and print your registration marks. Having a good microregistration system will enable you to make small adjustments to get the print back in register without having to clean the screens. When assessing a press’s microregistration, determine whether the system is easy to work with, accurate, and able to hold its position well once you’ve tightened down your screens.


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