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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.

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By Rick Davis

The purchase of additional frames is among the first big buys you’ll make, but you also have to consider the additional aspects of the process that are associated with the use of those new frames. First and foremost, you will need a new (larger) screen-drying cabinet for freshly coated screens. Your options are either to buy a unit or build your own. In either case, plan to have the cabinet in place before you start up the press; otherwise, you’ll have no means of properly drying your screens.

Your mesh inventory is another financial consideration you’ll have to plan out. Your mesh consumption will easily double, especially because your frame sizes are likely to be twice what they were on your manual screen-printing equipment. While we’re on the subject, you may also want to introduce additional mesh counts to your stock now that you have a press that does the printing for you. In many cases, you can slightly increase the mesh counts, which allows you to achieve the same print quality but uses a lot less ink per job. Additionally, you need to plan for an increase in emulsion consumption, reclaiming chemicals, etc.

Besides all of this, keep in mind that your exposure unit/ vacuum table must be of sufficient size to accommodate your larger screen formats. If your current unit will handle the larger screens, you’re good to go. Otherwise, it’s time to get a new exposure unit.


Screen cleaning

Because I started with a single six-color manual press, I was content to use a mild screen cleaner to treat my screens on press. But when my screen size doubled, my screen-cleaning requirements grew as well. This is the time to think about investing in a screen-cleaning tank. Wiping the screens by hand on the press is not efficient when working in the larger, automated format. A screen-cleaning, or parts-cleaning, tank is a much greater time saver with larger screens, squeegees, and lloodbars.




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