Learn about the various programs that ink manufacturers offer for tracking, mixing, and organizing inks and find out what improvements have occurred since our last review of ink-management software in the May 2001 issue of Screen Printing magazine.
By Lori Leaman
Ink Manager This Windows-based ink-management program from Coates Screen can be integrated with manual mixing routines and automatic dispensing systems. The program is designed for use with Coates Screen's C-Mix 2000 ink line, but it can accommodate other ink lines as well.
The Control Module features five major functions: formula management, base color and ingredient management, stock control, mix list management, and system settings. Through the Formula Management screen, users select from various functions, including store ink formula sets by series, create, view, copy, edit and delete, blend, estimate, rework, and print. Users can create, view, edit, copy, and delete information in the Base Color and Ingredient Management screen as well.
The Stock Control screen (Figure 1) offers nearly 20 selections that provide users with detailed information about their current ink stock. It allows the generation various reports, ranging from job usage to batch number and low-stock readings. Users can check base-color costs and quantities, reorder levels and quantities, as well as stock locations, meter readings, and valuation reports. Report information can be manipulated and written to spreadsheets.
The Mix List Management screen allows users to create, view, edit, copy, and delete mixing formulas. And in the System Settings menu, users can adjust access levels, weights and measures, system defaults, label formatting, wall papers and backgrounds, and dispenser configuration.
Ink Manager can be integrated with the Integra PC Balance Blending System for a solution that combines accurate weighing with formula storage and numerous color and stock-control features. With the Integra/Ink Manager combination, users can manage base colors and recipes, as well as create and edit recipes. A barcode labeling and scanning system is optional, as is a thermal label printer and an A4 sheet-fed laser report printer. Support for GretagMacbeth, X-Rite, and Datacolor spectrophotometers also is available.
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