Garment and textile screen printers who focus on high-volume production have turned to automatic carousel presses almost exclusively for the past two decades. These machines offer the speed and repeatability to complete jobs quickly and accurately, no matter how large the print run. However, some shops that are in growth mode or are poised to expand their businesses may not have the floor space to accommodate a carousel’s footprint.
The oval press is an alternative to the carousel design that is configured to make more efficient use of a printer’s available production area. Their typically long, narrow footprint may also be better suited to areas interrupted by columns or other physical obstructions.
M&R engineered its new Alpha 8, available in standard, intermediate, and jumbo-size configurations, to provide garment screen printers with what the company describes as a versatile, compact, and expandable automatic press that can be configured for almost any production requirement.
The eight-station Base/Drive Module supports up to six printheads, and M&R’s Plug & Print modular design provides for expansion, in six-station increments, up to 62 stations on Alpha 8 5070 and 6080 models and up to 32 stations on the Alpha 8 80110 model. Maximum image area is 20 x 28 in. (50 x 70 cm) on the Alpha 8 5070, 24 x 33 in. (610 x 838 mm) on the Alpha 8 6080, and 31.5 x 43.5 in. (80 x 110 cm) on the Alpha 8 80110.
Alpha 8 features a digital touchscreen control panel with icon-based labeling that displays information and commands in different languages. It incorporates a multiple-indexing capability, which allows a variety of load/unload scenarios and allows users to start with as many printheads as they need and to add more as their needs change and, with the exception of end stations, it poses no restrictions on printhead placement. All other stations can support printheads, and any station can be left open. Alpha 8 also allows users to change the placement of load/unload stations and to run multiple jobs simultaneously.
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