Setting up an automatic press to print samples may seem like a waste of time and money, but Davis explains how the benefits of doing so can far outweigh the costs.
By Rick Davis
The hand of the print also plays a role in approval samples. The customer seldom appreciates hearing that the hand of the print will improve on the production run because the sample was printed on a manual press. The customer wants to see the real McCoy up front—not a close reproduction. Otherwise, you’re giving the client an opening to make interpretations about the quality and accuracy of your work.
If you give the buyer the final print in the samples you provide, then you’ll have an established standard for that print run. The client won’t have the chance to balk at any aspect of the production print if it matches the sample, which it readily should.
Registration is the last aspect of the process that I will address this month. Although manual presses today can hold registration to a degree that is tighter than ever, the heavy-duty construction of automatics generally provides a greater degree of registration repeatability from print to print. Today’s consumer has a more scrutinizing eye than ever and will identify variations from print to print with relative ease.
By man or machine?
I don’t want to suggest that you should avoid the manual press altogether when creating production samples. The use of a manual press for this task is perfectly acceptable when the press operator has a clear and thorough understanding of the manual’s limitations and what it takes to reproduce the actions of an automatic garment press.
The best manual sample printers are typically the best automatic press operators, as they have acquired this understanding and have battled the automatic to produce an comparable prints on a manual press. The best of these press operators have a clear understanding of the capabilities, as well as the limitations of the respective presses. Printers employing short cuts, such as extra strokes needed for opacity or purposely attempting to adjust the ink-film parameters or color intensity through squeegee variations, will typically land the automatic press in a situation where the sample just cannot be reproduced.
Considering the performance differences between manual and automatic presses, I think the best advice is to use the actual press, or at least the same type, you plan to use in production to produce samples. The benefits include more predictable results and, most importantly, more satisfied customers.
Rick Davis is the president of Synergy Screen Printing in Orlando, FL. A 27-year veteran of the textile-printing industry, Davis is a member of the Academy of Screen Printing Technology and has a background that spans production management, artwork engineering, application testing, and industry consulting. He is a frequent contributor to trade publications and a speaker at industry trade events.
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