Although purchasing an automatic screen printing machine is a huge investment, upgrading to one offers many benefits. From helping you take bigger jobs to cutting down your labor costs. It will save you from turning down jobs that your manual press can’t handle or can’t be accommodated into your tight schedule.
An effective automatic screen print machine can help you lay down quality prints for hours. An employee at the squeegee for several hours might find it challenging. This way, an automatic screen printer machine helps you grow your business and allows you to take on larger orders and deliver them quickly. So, it allows you to devote less time to the press operation. And focus on marketing your business and procuring new clientele for your business.
But if you’re new to the screen printing business, the sheer number of available options is enough to overwhelm you. So, here is an in-depth guide to help you buy your first automatic screen print press.
Things to Keep in Mind While Buying Your First Automatic Screen Printer
There are certain considerations that you must keep in mind. Especially if you’re buying your first automatic screen printing equipment. Here are the things that you must consider before making a purchase.
First, you must decide what press configuration suits your business needs. Ask yourself how many colors you want printed and how many color stations would suffice for your business. Your needs for printing capabilities will give you a good target for the configuration you need.
While considering color stations and capabilities, remember that a white under-base screen or a flash cure unit may take up a station on certain jobs. This will reduce your color capacity. If you can afford it, consider purchasing one step up from the configuration you think would be ideal for your business. While there might be a negligible difference in cost, a larger press configuration will go a long way in helping you transform your shop into a press over time.
Another factor you must consider while buying an automatic screen printing machine is its size. Your press must be compatible with your shop’s floor plan and allow enough space. So that can allow your employees to operate the press and move around. It would be worthwhile to measure the size of the machine you plan to buy and leave about two to three feet of the area around it vacant. This will allow you ample room for daily operations and maintenance.
Make sure to leave enough room for any support equipment like a chiller, air compressor, or any other equipment you might need while upgrading your press.
Pneumatic or All-Electric
While automatic screen printing machines have been long functioning on compressed air, modern screen printing machines have gone fully electric. Therefore, you will need to take a call on whether a pneumatic or an all-electric press is more suited to your shop. If you have a smaller shop, consider going for an all-electric printing machine. This is because an electricity-powered printing press can help you fit even a larger press configuration into your shop. Because they don’t require an air compressor or chiller. Also, an electric press requires much less maintenance. As you will no longer have to deal with issues like compressors or airlines interfering with the operation.
The different special features are mostly what set an automatic screen printing machine apart from the rest. So, you will need to decide whether you would like to go for an automatic print machine with basic controls. Or if you want the precision that comes along with high technology-driven computerized controls. You will also need to consider different features. Such as off-contact controls, safety measures, screen clamps, squeegee setup, pallet leveling systems, step-back capabilities, and lubricating systems and compare these with different models.
All of your focus is going to be primarily on upgrading your shop with an automatic screen printing machine. You will also have to upgrade additional equipment so that you can prepare the rest of your shop for an automatic screen printing press. You need to assess if your exposure unit is of an appropriate size for the larger screens that are deployed in most automatic printing machines. Also, you need to take stock of whether or not your dryer system is large enough to put up with the suddenly increased level of production. Unless your dryer can keep pace with the increased production capabilities, you won’t be able to benefit much from an automatic screen printer.
Setting Up The Shop
As you consider purchasing a screen printing automatic press, you will also need to ensure that your shop is ready to deal with the demands that naturally come from an automatic press. This means that you might have to upgrade to a three-phase electric system from a one-phase system. If you are considering buying a pneumatic press, you will need ample space to run air lines and electric hookups for your compressor. Also, do some research on the hookups that you will need in your shop to run your press.
This is probably the biggest factor you must consider while buying your first automatic screen printer. Purchasing an automatic screen printing machine can be expensive. Thankfully, it’s not too difficult for most businesses to finance their press through a loan or leasing.
To determine how large of an automatic screen printing machine you can afford, you must first determine what monthly lease or loan payments you’d be required to cough up. While at it, consider your production and per-item profit. So you can make an informed decision keeping your profits and investment under consideration. In most cases, the higher volume capabilities of an automatic screen printing machine make it convenient to recover the initial investment and make some significant profits.
While all the factors mentioned above will help you make an informed decision on what you should consider while buying your first automatic screen printing machine, there’s also some due diligence that you should do immediately before buying the equipment. Here are some other things that you should do while buying an automatic screen printing press.
We live in a digital world where people mostly leave reviews for the products and services that they use. While some of these reviews may be fake, you can always get some valuable insights from what someone else has posted. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to do in-depth online research. Also, after you have made a purchase, you must add your thoughts and opinions about your purchase so that it can help others in the future.
Get A Warranty or Service Agreement
Mechanical things undergo a lot of wear and tear. Machine parts failing to live up to their expectations is not a rare phenomenon. If that happens to you, you must clearly understand how you will get it back up and minimal cost and delay. This is where the warranty or guarantee behind your automatic screen print machine comes into the picture.
Therefore, ensure you have reviewed the warranty or service agreement you receive after purchasing the equipment. There’s usually an extended warranty or service agreement available that you can purchase separately. Before you decide to avail of the extra warranty by paying an additional amount, try to understand what that additional warranty would cover. Especially for any mechanical parts that may wear out after a while. Also, try finding out if the extended warranty covers any replacements too.
Compatibility with Other Systems
Your new automatic screen printing machine will not exist in a vacuum and will e somehow connected to other workflows and pieces of equipment. That’s precisely why you see many shops with one brand of printing equipment. Therefore, make sure that whichever automatic screen printing machine you purchase is compatible with the other equipment at your shop.
You will need to do extensive research on which automatic screen printing machine is ideal for your shop. While it may seem like a tough exercise and expensive investment initially, you will soon be rewarded with increased production capabilities that will take your screen printing business to greater heights.