GRAPHICS PRO

June '20

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9 0 G R A P H I C S P R O J U N E 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M color management depending on the ink choice made." Shops should spend some extra time educating themselves about proper UV ink choices, which they can consult their pre- ferred supplier on. Rugen also recommends regular schedules to keep print heads in working order, which may include nozzle checks more frequently than a standard wide-format printer. For apparel decorators, Moxley says get- ting a grasp on ink choices is a key element to hybrid printing. "There are many dif- ferent chemistries available to print with hybrid technology, including plastisol and discharge," she contends, adding that a key understanding of high solid water-base printing and variables is essential. In addi- tion, she adds that screen room efficiency is crucial with hybrid print technology, so shops need to ensure they've buttoned up their screen-making and screen mainte- nance processes. If a shop does need training, parties agree that most equipment providers offer some sort of guidance. Depending on the manu- facturer or supplier, this can vary from an in-depth, onsite training session with a technical specialist, "virtual" training ses- sions through an online video portal, or courses offered by manufacturers at their facilities. Many of these courses also guide attend- ees through any of the essential mainte- nance duties required to keep their hybrid printer running in top form. Additionally, many companies feature an education sec- tion on their websites with a wealth of how- to's and tutorial videos, which users can ac- cess for free. MAKING THE MOVE When it comes time to shop around, the consensus is that producers should make sure they're getting all the key information on training and support, as well as how the machine will fit into their existing shop. Landesman points out that in some in- stances, a hybrid printer may not necessar- ily fit into a facility's existing setup, so it's important to know this before purchas- ing. "Some hybrid printing presses require multiple pre- and post-digital printing screens," he explains. "This typically re- quires large investments in a specialized oval printing press." Producers must also make sure their shop has the right conditions configured before the printer arrives. Specifically, humidity control and monitoring helps maintain ink flow, sets the stage for quality prints, and ensures longevity of the inkjet's print head. Roberts urges producers to determine what kind of output they're interested in as that helps narrow down the type of printer they'll need to purchase. Ad- ditionally, he points out that eyeing the competition can be beneficial. "I always encourage those looking to expand into new equipment and applications to look at their current customers' needs and find out what they are currently buying from someone else," Roberts suggests. "The best place to look is at the customers that account for the top 20% of your business. Survey what they are requesting, and more importantly, buying." Like any other new technology or service a business offers, shops should also make sure they consider if they have enough of a client base to support hybrid printing. From there, producers can apply their ex- isting skills to this technology and con- tinue to grow their business. Moxley offers a parting thought on the opportunities: "(Hybrid printing) offers unique aspects that neither screen printing nor DTG can offer, and capitalizing on these aspects is key to ultimately driving the success of hy- brid in your shop." GP MIKE CLARK is the editor-at-large for GRAPHICS PRO magazine and parent company NBM. He previ- ously served as the associate editor for Printwear and Sign & Digital Graphics magazines. Contact him at mclark@nbm.com. define your best offering and refine equip- ment options. While turnkey options are great, being able to make slight modifications to any package is the key for success. Your busi- ness is not the same as everyone else's. You should still be able to get turnkey equip- ment that is tailored to your specific needs. Getting all of your equipment (and sup- plies) from one source means you only need to make one phone call for help. Look for companies that can provide 24/7 support for everything you want to do with your new equipment. It can be incredibly frus- trating to purchase equipment and call for help only to hear the person that sold it to you pass the buck. Personally, I get frustrated when I call a seller for support on my printer only to be told that I need to call the ink manu- facturer. It gets even worse if I call the ink manufacturer, and they tell me it is a print- ing problem, so I need to call the printer people. This is why I always look to spend my money with businesses that provide both the hardware and the supplies. This peace of mind premium is well worth it, es- pecially when getting new equipment pro- duction off the ground. CONCLUSION No matter what option you decide, diversi- fying with one of these turnkey equipment packages is a great way to fortify your busi- ness. Serving more needs of your existing customers and being able to bring in new clients guarantees your future success. GP TAYLOR LANDESMAN is a third-generation family owner and vice president at Lawson Screen & Digital Products. Having started building exposure units at Law- son during his summer breaks from middle school, Taylor worked in various positions throughout the manufacturing process. After getting his law degree, he practiced law in Chicago. Missing the draw of screen printing, he rejoined Lawson in 2016. Taylor currently focuses on marketing, sales, and helping screen printers achieve more. continued from page 46 TURNKEY EQUIPMENT continued from page 18 HYBRID PRINTERS

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