February '23

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 5 7 down with the number of vessels printed. Screen printing takes very little money to get started — between $10,000 and $20,000, compared to direct-to-object printers, which cost $100,000 to $200,000, he says. Many companies that have never done screen printing are jumping right into dig- ital, Keller says. "ey don't want to deal with emulsions or screens. It is compli- cated stuff." For ease of use, Barron says he prefers digitally decorating drinkware with cylin- drical inkjet printers. "e growth of digital printing is dom- inant as it offers the most flexibility for small and large runs (down to one-offs), the greatest amount of print options on multiple vessel types and promises eas- ier and quicker set up compared to com- parable methods," he says. Digital also achieves "effects such as mirror print on clear glassware, tone on tone, as well as stunning metallic effects on metal vessels that dye sublimation and screen printing simply cannot recreate." e ink used is important, no matter which type of printing a shop decides to embrace, Keller says. Marabu offers a color manager that allows companies to enter a Pantone Matching System color or PMS, based on its two ink lines, to determine which colors to mix. When talking about UV ink specifically, most are not safe for food contact, he says. Keller recommends that shops "make sure their ink supplier can stand behind their inks." It is important to know what is in cer- tain inks to determine if they are food safe. If they are safe, printers don't have to worry if their ink designs come in contact with a person's mouth. If the inks are safe, a printer can print their designs right up to the lip of the vessel without worrying about users ingesting monomer, he says. "We confirmed with our product that you don't have to worry about it. We've done an FDA test and can print to the end if we want," he says. Inkjet printing technology has advanced considerably over the past five years, with companies such as Amica and Inkcups producing faster and more eff icient machines. Marabu has partnered with a Huntsville, Alabama, company, LSINC, to distribute its PeriOne inkjet direct-to-object printer in North America. LSINC first developed the PeriQ360, a printer that was built with four tunnels that can simultaneously print four objects at a time with an automated infeed and arms to grip. "It is a game changer. We can do things now that we could never ever do with screen printing. We are doing emboss- ing, imitation etch, and multiple colors," Keller says. e PeriOne is an entry-level, single-spindle version of the PeriQ360 that can only print on one tapered or cylindrical object at a time. e output of this printer is dishwasher safe and more economical to produce. He says that he has hundreds of screen printers looking for a digital solution and that is why he developed a partnership with LSINC to make a smaller version of its PeriQ360. Marabu North America distributes inks made in Germany by its parent company for screen, pad, and digital printing. "We do consultative work with our cus- tomers to make sure they get everything they can get. We will come onsite to make it work," Keller says. Most ink manufacturers will have their inks tested independently once a year. Keller recommends that companies get a copy of those documents for their files. When it comes to determining which type of printer to purchase, he says it is import- ant to do the math and buy the machine that "makes the most sense for you as an end user." GP Many companies that have never done screen printing are jumping right into digital. They don't want to deal with emulsions or screens. It is complicated stuff. —Bob Keller, president of Marabu North America

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