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Maximizing Efficiency in Your Inkroom

(January 2008) posted on Tue Jan 29, 2008

One effective way to boost production, improve efficiency, and reduce inventory costs in your shop is to utilize ink-management equipment. This article explores a variety of options available for ink handling, mixing, and dispensing, as well as the benefits these products offer.

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By Lori Leaman

With the Pro 2.0 version, customers can use the software on their own computer and utilize features such as an enhanced calculation field for quantity- usage predictions, storage of print parameters for each formula, selection of UV ink lines with 360 Series inks and new PANTONE formulas, and creation of a database of custom colors. ColorStar Manager is equipped with all of the features of 2.0, in addition to an inventorycontrol field, inventory-status reports, inventory work-off functions, calculation of inventory-cost updates, productionmanagement reporting, and open architecture, which allows entry of any ink series or importing of custom formulas.

The CheckWeigh version includes ColorStar Manager, a desktop PC, laser printer (black and white), and lab scales for weights up to 4100, 8100, and 35000 g or production scales that support weights of 20 or 50 lb, depending on customer requirements. Other capabilities include scaling accuracy, automatic overpour correction, automated systems integration, lab-scale interface, ink-ratio calculation, Pantone color matching, quantity and usage predictions, job costing, storage of print parameters, and inventory tracking.

SPEC’s RTL2000 is designed for small batches: quarts, pints, or smaller containers. The system’s ink-supply tanks are arranged in a carousel configuration inside the machine. The carousel rotates to bring the ink ingredients to the dispensing point and then dispenses the ingredients into the containers. The machine then rotates to the next ingredient and dispenses that one at the same dispense point. Basic functions of the RTL2000 include a dispense-control computer that handles formula storage and dispensing controls, a dispense-control unit that houses the PC and necessary electronic and pneumatic control components, a digital scale, and 12-14 dispense containers.

The 2000EV system is designed for larger batches, typically 1- to 5-gal buckets, and includes the same inkmanagement features of the RTL2000. But is equipped with 10-20 multi-stage, pneumatically operated, piston-type dispense valves, in addition to 10-20 supply pumps, a pump stand with integral supply and return hose trough, recirculation capability, and a dispense-head washer.


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