March '23

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4 2 G R A P H I C S P R O • M A R C H 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M "It's much faster to cut basic items than contour cuts around smaller images or with thicker substrates that require mul- tiple cut passes." McConnell adds that for entry- and mid-level production flatbed printers, dig- ital finishing "partners well with output and efficiency of getting jobs out the door. As product development continues to advance, high-speed flatbeds and hybrids with automated handling are partnered with high-speed finishing equipment so that the production output doesn't cause bottlenecks." Most shops won't experience a bot- tleneck between printing and f inish- ing because they make sure they have enough finishing equipment to handle full scale production on their printers, Deluca says. "If you were funneling sev- eral presses into a single cutter, then that would certainly create a world of issues. If people find themselves in this type of a situation, they would be well served to calculate out their peak output on their print side and then use that to help define the amount of finishing equipment they would require under that circumstance and begin to build from there." Common mistakes Voight says that one common mistake small print shops make when first entering the flatbed printing market is not measur- ing the thickness of materials before put- ting them on the press. "is causes misregistration of the print and ultimately print quality suffers," he says. swissQprint recommends customers use a micrometer to measure the thick- ness of materials. "With our printers we're able to adjust head distance to compensate for materials that might have an uneven surface or were damaged during handling stages that requires the print head carriage to be raised." Voight also encourages new users to place scrap material around the four edges of a thick substrate to counteract problems with the UV light bouncing off the table or starting to cure the ink on the nozzle plate of the printheads. "swissQprint also offers a stray light protection option that raises the drizzle station and allows the printer to keep all print heads in a print ready state while printing and while idle while at a higher head height," he adds. Daily maintenance is another important step that many shops forget to do. "It is extremely important to make sure the base plate of the printer is clean, the quartz glass beneath the mercury or LED lamp is free of debris or clouding and that the antistatic units are properly main- tained," Voight says. "Skipping the daily maintenance that takes five minutes will bring much larger problems with print quality down the road and will increase downtime and the amount of time jobs take on the printer by having to increase pass count." McConnell adds that it is important to consider how the addition of a flatbed printer will affect substrate inventory needs, finishing capacity and any addi- tional shipping needs. Another common mistake is "under- estimating the application potential that you can offer your current clients or pros- pects," she says. "When you think about the true number of products that can be produced on a flatbed, a commitment to truly taking advantage of every aspect of production that printer offers can be a miss by many flatbed users. Helping a sales team understand how a flatbed printer works and all the different types of substrates that can be used will help your 'front line' aid in avoiding that." GP Getting maximum production with flatbed printers: Flatbed printers can greatly increase your production capability if you have the space and know how to make the most of its technology. (Image courtesy Mutoh) (Image courtesy Durst) Skipping the daily maintenance that takes five minutes will bring much larger problems with print quality down the road and will increase downtime. W I D E - F O R M A T P R I N T I N G

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