OK, I’m aware that I might ruffle some feathers here, but I gotta put it out there. While operating a manual press is a true art form, the benefits of which can’t be discounted—if you want to scale as a screen printing business, you MUST invest in an automated press.
I know, I know, automated presses are an investment. I get it, because I’ve been there too. Heck, I started printing shirts in my mom’s kitchen, before upgrading to the garage! But there are lots of great options to buy, lease, or even rent a top-notch ROQ press with the option to purchase, upgrade or cancel via Ryonet’s unique rental program. So there’s really no reason to wait to switch from a manual to automatic—and incur the associated opportunity cost—if you plan to make a career of it.
Automating your printing process can not only help you deliver a more consistent product, it also gives you the ability to accept higher-volume jobs—keeping your press and bank account full, while also freeing your time to focus on business-building activities. The average automated press can produce 2-3X the amount of garments as a manual press with a single operator and can double that with 2-3 operators. Compared to the cost of hiring a full-time printer, a monthly payment on an entry-level automated press is approximately 50-70% of the overhead of an employee.
If you’re thinking of taking the plunge with an automated press, here are some items to look at:
|AUTOMATED PRESS PURCHASE CONSIDERATIONS|
|Consistency||Look for a proven micro-registration system; consistent gate or printhead registration; and parts that can stand the test of time or be replaced.|
|Versatility||Give yourself more color choices if possible. When you start taking on more complex jobs, you’ll be glad to have that versatility.|
|Portability||Choose a small form factor press as your first investment so that you can travel with it and showcase what you do.|
|Screen Sizes||Get a press that can take larger screen sizes, providing more flexibility in the size of print you can do, as well as the screens you can use.|
|Platen/Pallet Compatibility||Find a press with pallets and accessories that can fit other presses, so that you only have to make those purchases once.|
|Durability||Buy a high-quality press with a solid reputation and warranty that can hold up to repeated use over time.|
|Carriage||Make sure you have an electric print carriage for the highest consistency of results.|
|Air Features||Look for air clamps and air control pressure that make setup and change-over of your equipment quick and easy.|
|Ease of Access||Avoid big and bulky presses with bars and wires that make them hard to work with or around.|
|Station Quantity||Find a press that gives you more stations, enabling you to create more consistent prints, faster, with spots that can be used as flash dryers and for cool down.|
Of course, a press isn’t the only piece of equipment you’ll need to invest in as you grow. Check out our new eBook, “Building Your Own Screen Printing Business, Part 3 :: Optimizing Your Process,” for a detailed list of considerations when purchasing a flash dryer, conveyor dryer, or exposure unit.
My advice is, buy nice or buy twice, screen printers! Thirsty for more information? Visit Ryonet’s Education Center, where you’ll find tons of resources and classes that can keep you at the top of your game. Sign up for our newsletter below to be the first to know when the ebook pt.3 drops!
Thanks for reading,