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Planning for Your First Automatic, Part 2

(September 2007) posted on Fri Sep 14, 2007

The author's diccussion about upgrading to an automatic garment press continues with an examination of additional costs you'll incur as a direct result of the new machine.


By Rick Davis

In the first installment of this column, we reviewed the basic considerations in purchasing your first automatic. They included press selection and deciding between a new or used machine. This month, we’ll cover some more points to think about during the acquisition of the press and the supplies that are required to go with it.

Many first-time buyers of automatic presses are surprised by how many small details they need to address when they upgrade their equipment. One of the primary issues to keep in mind here is that you’re not only buying an automated piece of equipment, but also the additional supplies that support it. The quantity of some of the items that you’ll need for day-today production will double, so do your best to plan for a dramatic increase in spending in these areas. The initial financial impact can be a real shock.

 

Screens

One of the most obvious increases you’ll experience is in screen inventory. You’ll need to purchase additional frames to supply the press. I firmly believe that if you intend to spend thousands of dollars for your first automatic, you shouldn’t take shortcuts on the accessories that go along with it. Some manual printers may believe that buying the automatic press will drastically increase the quality of their printing, but they’re surprised to find the quality of the finished product is basically the same—only more consistent. This is a common scenario when working with wooden frames. Although the press will deliver a consistent image from print to print, the finished print is only as good as the screens with which it was printed. It’s the old philosophy of quality in, quality out.

If you do not have quality screens, you’ll not get a quality print. To what degree you wish to hold this belief is strictly based on your own commitment to quality. In my case, I was able to buy 30 retensionable frames with the purchase of an automatic press. Although they’re not enough to keep an automated machine going full time, they will enable you to get up and running. Retensionable frames are considerably more expensive than static wood or tubular aluminum ones. But the payoff is in the quality of the finished product, and the retensionables can pay for themselves quickly.


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