Are you upgrading your screen printing shop with an automatic press? The market has many options. Different automatic screen printers have varied features and tools. There are a few factors to consider before purchasing the machine.
The task may be more challenging if it is your first automatic screen printing machine. Do you know how it differs from the manual press? Do you know that there is an option for a semi-automatic screen printing machine?
Continue reading this article for a detailed automatic screen printing machine buying guide.
Factors to Consider When Buying An Automatic Screen Printing Machine
The first thing to consider is your preferred press configuration. How many colors would you like your automatic screen printer to print per run? You will also need to know how many stations you need.
You already know the machine configuration you need. Your current printing abilities and client base can help you determine this. As you decide, consider print orders that may need a flash cure or a white under base. These may take up a station and reduce your color capabilities.
If your budget allows, buy an extra step up from your preferred press configuration. The price difference will be minor, but it’ll be worth it when you want to upgrade. With time, a small machine may seem small for your business, especially if you have a big customer flow.
Space And Budget
Are you already running a printing shop with a manual screen printing press? Your current space might not accommodate an automatic press. Most automatic screen printers are enormous, requiring at least 3,500 square feet. You might have to move to a much bigger place if your space is small.
Another factor to consider is your budget. Advancing to an automatic machine means digging deeper into your bank accounts. Automatic screen printers are more expensive than manual presses. Research the exact price of the machine you prefer and its accompanying equipment.
Do You Prefer All-Electric or Pneumatic?
As technology advances, the printing industry keeps changing. Automatic screen printing machines used compressed air as the power source. The market now has all-electric automatic screen presses.
You should decide the best option for you; all-electric or pneumatic. Your available space can help you make this decision. You can fit a larger press in a small room if you choose an all-electric.
All-electric screen printers do not occupy large spaces. They do not come with extra components like the air compressor and chiller. All-electric automatic screen printers are cheap to maintain. This type eliminates the worries of the air compressor or air lines failing.
What Features Are You Looking For?
Features set different machines apart. It is important to understand the features before buying a machine. Do you need an automatic screen press with computerized or simple manual controls?
Some of the features you have to consider include:
- Screen clamps
- Off-contact controls
- Squeegee setup
- Step-back capabilities
- Safety features
- Pallet leveling systems
- Lubricating systems, etc
Budget And Financing
The cost of upgrading from manual screen printing to automatic can shock you. There is a massive price leap between manual and automatic screen presses. The price can be a shock, especially if you want the same size of the automatic press as your manual one.
The good news is that you can get funding to buy your machine. You can get a loan or lease the machine from the manufacturer.
Shop for different machines and their monthly installments. This will help you determine the machine you can afford. Generally, automatic screen presses have higher production volumes than manual. This can make it easy to service a loan without struggling.
Advantages of An Automatic Screen Printing Machine
An automatic screen printer operates an automatic press. Above all things, they have increased output. An automatic screen printer can print 8,000 pieces daily when a manual does only 500. Automatic screen printing also increases efficiency and uniformity across your printing project.
The following are some of the primary benefits of an automatic screen printer.
Speed is a primary reason fabric branding companies switch to automatic screen presses. Increased speed translates to quick delivery and increased production volumes. As such, handling urgent orders and meeting tight deadlines becomes easy.
With automatic screen presses, you can brand many items faster. It also makes it easy to print multi-color designs without taking too much time. For instance, a manual press would take at least 16 hours to do a 6-color, 600-t-shirt order. The exact order would take an automatic screen press at most three hours to complete.
An automatic screen printing machine can print up to 800 prints in one hour.
Increased Efficiency And Consistency
Manual screen presses cannot print uniform prints. But that is not the case with automatic machines. An automatic press ensures that your squeegee moves with equal pressure. The pressure your machine applies on the first t-shirt is the same as on the last.
An automatic screen press makes controlling the squeegee pressure, angle, and speed easy. As a result, your prints will be identical.
Reduces Labor And Cost
An automatic screen printing machine does not need as many operators as a manual machine. Automatic presses are efficient. As such, you might not have to stop your operations because an employee came down with the flu.
Automatic screen printing presses need one person to set up. You only need to load material and command the machine to print. You can do this if your operator is unavailable for a day or two.
No More Stress And Daily Body Aches
The continued pushing of the squeegee throughout a printing session can be tiring. It subjects the operator to daily body aches and stress of the mind.
Automatic screen printing machines do not have a lot to do. You only need to press a few buttons to set the squeegee, ink, and screen. The other thing is to load and unload the materials as they print.
Automatic screen presses also increase efficiency and customer confidence. For instance, a client may order printed t-shirts, and you forget to buy them in time. You can order the fabrics and still meet your deadline.
How Much is An Automatic Screen Printer? How Do I Achieve ROI?
If upgrading to an automatic screen press, brace yourself for a massive price leap. Automatic screen printers are way more expensive compared to their manual counterparts.
Expect to pay about $35,000 for an entry-level automatic screen press. Alternatively, you can spend between $11,000 and $30,000 for a used automatic screen printer. But there is more. An automatic screen printing machine comes with costs not mentioned in your quotation.
The extra costs include freight, installation, and training charges. You can be lucky if you buy from a company that offers free setup and training. The upgrade also requires new components, such as bigger exposure units. You will also need bigger flash units and new airline setups.
A new screen printing machine may also mean you find a bigger office space. This comes with extra rent fees, moving fees, and office setup.
When you do the math, you could easily shy away from the investment.
You need a constant flow of large orders to get the best returns on investment. You need large orders with minimal setup or teardown breaks. The larger the orders, the better the return on investment.
Do I Still Need My Old Manual Screen Press?
As much as automatic screen presses are the best, they do not end the need for a manual press. Having the manual press around will help with small orders. Printing 50 to 100 t-shirts with the automatic machine is not wise. The manual press is the more cost-effective option for small orders.
Also, materials like heavy jackets are better printed with the manual screen press. Orders that take time to load and need clamping will appear poorly on the automatic screen press. Long-sleeved clothes are better done with the manual screen printing machine.
Additionally, the manual press performs better for items that need varied pressure in different areas. For instance, you can adjust pressure, angle, and length when printing items like umbrellas.
This means that you should keep your manual press. Your new automatic screen printing machine is amazing but not enough.
Getting your shop’s best automatic screen printing machine will take effort and patience. You will receive great rewards for increased production and customer confidence. Your business will also enjoy increased profit margins.
An automatic screen press can grow your business to heights you have never imagined.
Are you having second thoughts about the upgrade? Statics show that your investment will be a success.