January '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 J A N U A R Y P R I N T W E A R 5 7 tasking. With this auto-manual rotation, the shop can keep a constant flow of work throughout the day without bogging down the auto or needing to give customers longer turnaround times. Taylor agrees, noting that both presses can be "integrated and used to complement one another." In addition to this balancing act, sources encour- age shops to purchase a pre-registration system if for some reason they don't already have one. This allows printers to quickly and easily slide screens into register on any press and reduces setup and teardown time. Other ideas for maintaining a steady flow and speeding up manual production include running multiple dryers, having enough hands on deck, keeping a clean and organized space, and adding an automated flash-cure unit into the mix. According to Till, the key to running two manu- als, two autos, or one of each is to have multiple dryers. This setup allows his shop to take on two different jobs and set each dryer to the appropriate temperature and needs for the garment while knocking out down- time. Regarding speeding up production on a manual press, he sug- gests having it focus on jobs that call for dark ink on light-colored garments, as well as any wet-on-wet printing. For large manual jobs, it can be helpful to have someone load- ing and unloading garments, as well as a designated dryer atten- dant. These extra hands aren't necessary for the smaller jobs, but it's something worth keeping in mind, especially if shops are working under a time crunch. It's also essential to keep workspaces clean and organized and have plenty of clean squeegees ready to go. This allows for a printer to move from each step in the printing process without wasting time on unnecessary movements or supply searching. Trimingham and Mark Clewell of Vastex International both encourage shops to think strategically about equipment layout. They suggest position- ing dryers between presses so that garments can be loaded from either side. Trimingham notes that "many shops will opt to have an auto on either side of the dryer and then a manual at the front of the dryer. Another option would be to extend the infeed length of your dryer. This will give you more space to offload shirts from multiple presses without overlapping." KEEPING MANUAL IN THE MIX Making the most of a manual press in auto setup doesn't have to be difficult. It's "just a matter of production scheduling and making sure that every job can go on either press," says Rhein. If shops have auto and manual presses that can run jobs with the same platens and screen sizes, it then comes down to which press is more available at a given time. Sales and production must work together, Trimingham says, to ensure orders are efficiently planned out. It's also important to note that the typical "small" manual customer can grow into one of a shop's more significant accounts over time. Manuals are also great to have around when first introducing a customer to printing services. If you run a shop like Native Sons, Taylor says you never want to turn down an order. A manual helps make those small jobs possible and profitable. He says having a skilled printer who can oversee a job from start to finish is key. Someone who works independently and is able to work through staging, layout, setup, approval, printing, and any bagging and boxing is helpful for smooth manual workflow. Whether it's a small run of shirts for a local busi- ness, a batch of koozies, or a one-off sample, your manual press can come in handy for more jobs than you probably realized. With a careful look at your production schedule and fine-tuning of your workflow, you can effectively run manual and auto jobs simultaneously. PW Is it right FOR THE JOB? ACCORDING TO SOURCES, MANUAL PRESSES ARE WELL-SUITED FOR: • Small-volume orders (generally under 36 pieces) • Single- or two- color prints • Proofing/sampling • Unusual printing placement • Shirts with buttons • Neck labels • Bags • Hats • Koozies • Pant legs • Umbrellas

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