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The Consequences of Moving a Prepress Department

(May 2008) posted on Wed May 07, 2008

Thinking about moving your shop to a new facility? Coudray's advice can help you avoid some jams that you might not expect.

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By Mark A. Coudray

A word of caution: Make sure to use vehicles with Air Ride suspension when you move anything electronic. These are special air shocks on the moving truck that minimize bumps and shakes. We quickly learned that the older the equipment, the more sensitive it becomes. Solder connections tend to become brittle and crystallize over time. The more hot/cold cycles they have, the worse the situation. When equipment is not moved, these expansion/contraction cycles may go unnoticed for years, if they are even detected.

If you are not intimately familiar with everything about your equipment, do not attempt to move it on your own. This is especially true of any imaging device that moves on a carriage. These machines are incredibly delicate. Their precision stepping motors are very easily damaged if you do not know how to secure them properly. Even something as simple as setting the machine on an uneven surface can have very bad effects on the carriage assembly. The last thing you want is for the carriage to freely shift back and forth during a move. Most imagesetters have a specific sequence of how you lock the heads and carriage for transport. If you do not know precisely how to do this, spend the money on a tech who does.

Disconnecting equipment causes it to cool to a much lower temperature than normal, an effect that is magnified when your move is in the winter (ours was in January). Millions of tiny fractures and fissures can be stressed beyond the breaking point. Any movement or vibration of rolling the machines over concrete, up a loading ramp, or with a forklift can reap havoc. Add to this the thumping and bumping of lift gates and driving over rough asphalt with potholes, and you have a recipe for big trouble.


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