Sign & Digital Graphics

Start Here October '19

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71 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 9 Third-Generation Stamp Maker Adds Screen Printing Courtesy of Advance Stamp & Sign Co. Rubber stamps have been the mainstay of Advance Stamp & Sign Co. since Bernie Sitron opened his doors three generations and 60-plus years ago. The family business has since expanded to include engraved signs and notary seals, large format printing, vehicle lettering, architectural signs and—most recently—screen printing for garments and Coroplast signs. "To this day, we still make rubber stamps all day long," says general manager and Bernie's grandson, Elliot Sitron, who joined the company in 2005. Once on board, he began investing in automation to reduce labor and improve efficiency. Upgrades included a laser cutter and engraver for making rubber stamps and a rotary engraver/router for producing Braille signage. With the advent of high-tech equipment, the shop was able to fill larger orders while keeping all services in-house—with the exception of printed gar- ments. "Every now and then someone would request a printed T-shirt or hoodie," Sitron says. "We hate to say no to a customer, so we'd outsource the work. But we lacked control over quality and turnaround time." He began researching screen printing for garments and discovered that the process could also make a cost-effective alternative to vinyl cutting, the shop's standard method for producing Coroplast signs. In 2018, he purchased the necessary pre-press and printing equipment from Vastex International of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Thereafter, he and one of his employees attended a three-day Vastex training course to learn the screen printing process. With its new 4 color/4 station V2000 HD manual press, Advance Stamp & Sign began printing shirts and hoodies for local businesses and schools as well as signage. The press's micro-registration system allows fine-tuning of print alignment to maintain registration throughout the run. Adjustments are made with hand knobs instead of tools, which was a selling point for Sitron. For garments, he uses a RedFlash flash cure unit with an 18 x 24 in. (46 x 61 cm) heater and an Autoflash upgrade to flash plastisol ink between colors. The head of the unit rotates into place via a foot pedal and automatically rotates away from the pallet after a preset dwell time. "Because we're relatively new to screen printing, it made sense to have an automatic flash cure unit," He says. "It takes a variable out of the process that could potentially be a problem: if we forget to move the flash unit, it could scorch the shirt."

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