March '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 M A R C H P R I N T W E A R 5 3 cess is efficient? Caleb Morgan, Texsource Screenprinting Supply, points out that there is a wealth of chemicals on the market for shops that can't afford to buy an all-in-one tank system. "If you don't yet have a dip tank, products like screen and press wash make removing ink a breeze and even for those 'on-press' quick color changes," explains Morgan. Some chemical providers now also provide a 'one-step solution,' with ink cleaner and emulsion remover combined into one con- tainer. While these can be a useful tool for small shops, parties recommend decorators consult with the manufacturer before they start using these products to ensure they're using them correctly and not causing un- due damage to their screens. In some cases, these products may also not be 100 percent ideal, depending on what the screen-print- ing job calls for. If a shop wants a dip tank but can't come up with the funds, Marcotte contends that a homemade system is also possible. "All you need to do is have something that is water-tight and can hold the volume of water and chemistry needed," Marcotte adds. Here again, it's recommended that shops, especially newcomers, consult with a professional to ensure even if they've built something on their own that it is water- tight and won't leak. Regardless of size and annual volume, parties agree that a shop should keep in mind that a dip tank should be an invest- ment at some point, especially if owners want to see the business grow. "While you might have to invest a little more upfront, a solid heat-welded dip tank will last you for- ever," says Landesman. Shops will typically use up fewer chemicals and water over time, he contends, and it improves a decorator's ability to work with halftones and lines without extensive power-washing. Shops can also do a cost analysis just as they would with other pieces of equipment to truly determine if the tank will be a fea- sible investment. Marcotte recommends looking at some basic production statistics: "How many screens are you reclaiming per day and how many hours a week are you reclaiming or paying someone to reclaim?" he states. With a dip tank in place, shops can typically ramp up their reclaim number, which eventually loops back to the ability to take in more jobs and bump up revenue. Morgan offers some sizeable numbers to ar- gue the case for making the purchase. "Most dip tanks allow you to reduce your chemical consumption by as much as 70 percent and your labor costs by as much as 50 percent. It's worth the upfront investment." ALL THE RIGHT TOOLS Outside of reliable frames and a solid re- claim process, there are a handful of tools parties recommend every shop should have in their arsenal, regardless of size, volume, and general budget for screen making. The loupe is a magnifying lens that helps shops check their exposure time. (T&J Printing Supply)

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