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Planning for Your First Automatic, Part 1

(July 2007) posted on Fri Jul 06, 2007

Making the move from a manual to automatic garment press can be a daunting task. Davis draws from his own experiences to ease the transition when the time comes for your shop to upgrade.

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By Rick Davis

One of the greatest decisions garment screen printers have to make in the growth of their companies is when to make the jump from a manual to an automatic press. Many printers make this decision when the average run size outgrows the general capabilities of their manual press or presses. Others do so when they find that their technical printing capabilities need to grow to keep pace with customer demands for more color and finer detail. In this installment, we’ll review the planning requirements for moving production to an automated press.

Planning ahead

Take a look at the growth of your average run size, your color requirements, and demand for turnaround time when you review the status of your printing facility. What will you need to do to meet the level of production that will keep your shop competitive? For some, it’s as simple as adding a manual press and an extra employee. But depending on your rate of growth, the situation may require the purchase of an automatic press.

Many printers determine that the time to consider an automatic press is when they start to contract a number of large runs to bigger screen shops. The decision to pursue an automatic must include a lot of planning. You need to consider the impact that bringing an automatic to the production floor will have on your entire operation. Issues to consider in press selection include investment cost, plant layout, dryer capacity, power requirements, supply needs, and staffing.

Current capabilities

That fact that you’re now considering an automated piece of equipment that will far outpace your manual press means you also have to evaluate the capabilities of your dryer. Most small garment-printing businesses do not start out with a dryer that is capable of handling the output of an automated press, which means you’ll most likely need to acquire a new dryer along with the automatic. This is yet another major aspect to consider from the financial perspective. Keep in mind that you are not only looking for a dryer that can accommodate the automatic press, but also the additional output of your manual equipment.


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