Start Here November '21

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Page 89 of 102 85 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 1 to understand just how long that printer will last. With a little TLC, that can be a long time. "Printers are designed to last for very long periods of time," says Lopez. "The key is making sure that all the recommended maintenance is done on time and consistently. Overall life expec- tancy will depend on how often the printer is used." "The lifespan of a roll-to-roll machine can vary depending on the parts the manufacturer uses when building the machine," says Chris Padilla, also of Mutoh America. "Some roll-to-roll machines use parts that are only designed to last a couple years or so, and some use more industrial parts to ensure that machine is going to perform for many years to come." A good industry rule of thumb is that your printer should last you at least seven years before new technology and options make it less profitable to continue without a replacement or upgrade. That doesn't mean your printer won't continue to be a workhorse for you long after that, it's just unlikely to be as efficient in comparison to other options on the market that your competition might possess. Like we've seen over the last couple years, planning for the future isn't an easy thing to do. But when things go well, you'll find yourself wanting to move beyond the introductory machines and into a more advanced machine. In that case, what can you look forward to from a more advanced model of roll-to-roll printer? "Today's product lineup usually offers similar features at every price point," Maxwell says. "The more expensive products, though, will offer faster throughput and expanded capabilities with ink." "Typically the biggest difference between an entry level roll- to-roll machine and a high-end roll-to-roll machine would be the amount of workload it can produce in a short period of time, i.e., print speeds," Padilla says. "Entry level roll-to-roll and high-end roll-to-roll machines generally share the same capabilities as one another, but if the customer needs a machine that is capable of producing prints at a higher rate, then they are most likely going to be looking at higher end machines to accomplish this." Avoiding Workflow Bottle- necks With Film Laminators By Edwin Ramos, GBC Changing rolls to accommodate a variety in finished product widths or finishes can take time for the operator. To avoid or minimize these bottlenecks, stage your work to reduce change over and setups. Run all your same size width prints together or same finish together, then switch over versus changing over for each size/finish. Visit for a more in-depth look into the technical aspects of roll-to-roll printers and which features your shop truly needs. You'll need to decide what kind of ink you want to print with when selecting a roll-to-roll printer. Selections include eco-solvent, UV-LED, latex (seen here with the HP Latex 365), and sublimation. (Image courtesy HP) The Mutoh RJ-900X is a printer that helps shops get their start into dye-sublimation. (Image courtesy Mutoh)

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