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Maximizing Efficiency in Your Inkroom

(January 2008) posted on Tue Jan 29, 2008

One effective way to boost production, improve efficiency, and reduce inventory costs in your shop is to utilize ink-management equipment. This article explores a variety of options available for ink handling, mixing, and dispensing, as well as the benefits these products offer.

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By Lori Leaman

The IDS and LV systems use Sun Chemicals’ Ink Manager software. It allows users to keep track of recipes and color blends as the operator formulates them, keep track of inventory, set minimums, and generate reports when certain inks are running low. An estimation feature helps users calculate how much ink they’ll need for a job. The rework function allows users to use excess ink that has been entered into the system. The software does require some user input, such as the size of the print, percent coverage of a certain color, number of impressions, which screen mesh will be used, and whether the job is singleor double-sided. The software considers these factors and uses the ink mileage that would be input into the system during setup and then calculates how much ink the user will need for a specific job. The software also can calculate the cost for that particular ink.

Presutto says that several factors should be taken into account when considering the purchase of an automatic dispensing system. Those factors include number of blends you typically mix per day, typical blend sizes, and space requirements of your facility.

“The real benefit to screen printers of moving into an automatic dispensing system is reducing the amount of excess ink you have on your shelves. We train our customers to make less ink than they think they need,” he says. “Dispensing systems, when used properly, allow you to make ink on demand. You don’t want to make more ink than you need and let it sit on the shelf for six months.”

SPEC offers dispensing systems for a variety of end users and ink manufacturers. For example, the company couples its 2000EV and RTL2000 dispensers (Figure 6) with Nazdar’s ColorStar color-management system. ColorStar is available in several versions, including ColorStar Pro 2.0, ColorStar Manager, and ColorStar CheckWeigh. The version you choose depends on batch size and the software functions and features that you require for color management.


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