Staging is the key to proper production planning for garment screen printers. This primer will help you start staging your garment jobs effectively.
Minimizing press-changeover time
Staging saves the time usually spent on gathering or assembling all of the pieces of the job necessary for setup. If there is a problem, then the press crew can move immediately to the next job in line. In addition to staging with the art, ink, screen, and garment-inventory departments, you need to have a production person who is responsible for assembling the accessory components for the press (Figure 1). This includes the correct squeegee and floodbar for each color, as well as the right platens for the job.
Finding this information depends on knowing all of the information for the previous departments listed. If the information is accessible by computer, that’s even better. However, even with computer access, the person responsible for the press accessories needs to see the film positives and screen-mesh designations to know what squeegee width and floodbar type to use.
The more items that you stage ahead of time for the press crew, the faster they will be able to set up the press. Staging should be at least a half a shift ahead of production. If the screenmaking and inkroom employees end their day at 4:00 p.m., then they must produce all that will be required from their departments through noon of the following day before they go home.
You have four acceptable ways to accumulate staged items at the staging area: staging carts designed for this specific purpose, general-purpose carts that can house staged items, pallets that you can user to carry and support staged items, or tables in the staging area that can support all of the staged items. Placing assembled components directly on the floor is unacceptable.
A form, such as the one shown in Figure 2, will help the stager or expediter work from department to department and bring together all of the materials, equipment, and goods needed for a specific job. The expediter assembles the job components and verifies their existence.
When a job is complete and the press is ready for changeover, the expediter should be at the press with another cart to take away the remains of the ink, screens, and press accessories. That said, the destaging process involves more than just taking screens to be cleaned and stored or reclaimed, disposing of ink, etc. The expediter is the ideal statistician and should note and record the following information: time the run ended, number of impressions, weight of remaining ink for each color, number of off-quality pieces, and number of damaged screens.
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