What are some add-ons and supplies printers need to optimize auto printing?

Optimizing your automatic screen printing machine with the right add-ons and screen printing supplies is critical for successful printing. I was just following up with a client, Brandon, who recently purchased his first automatic. His first words to me were, “This is a game changer. It’s improved my business and life. I can get more jobs out the door. When I come home, I’m not exhausted and can actually interact with my wife.” Part of what enables Brandon’s fantastic experience is having the right add-ons and supplies. Here are some essential things that are making Brandon successful and will help you too:

Always have ink modifiers on hand. Everyone’s preferred plastisol inks will vary, and the best printers change it up depending on the garments being printed. These successful screen print shops purchase a variety of plastisol inks because brand X might have a great white, while brand Y has the best red. Regardless of ink brand, you will want to stock ink modifiers. By doing so, you will increase the versatility of the ink on your shelf. For example, you can add a stretch additive on athletic apparel. An ink thinner/reducer is often a magic elixir to bring that old quart of ink back to life. These low-cost modifiers help to get production moving and products out the door.

Just like manual printers require multiple squeegees, you should stock extra squeegees for your automatic. This helps save time by reducing the wait in between jobs and color changes. When doing a color change or setting up a new job, you don’t want any downtime while you clean squeegees. Having extras makes starting that next job or changing colors on press easier and quicker. The upfront investment pays dividends during production. Every screen printer knows that money is made when garments leave their dryer, so the faster that occurs, the better.

Just like any machine, you will want to keep your automatic screen printing press clean by reducing the mess in your shop. To this end, all screen printers should ditch spray adhesive and switch to platen tape and water-based adhesive glue. The platen tape goes over your press platen, and the glue is poured on top of it. Once you are done printing, cleaning your platen is as simple as removing the tape. Not only does this make cleaning fast and easy, but it eliminates adhesive spray from getting all over your press and shop, which makes for a dirty press.

Finally, you want a quality flash unit. For automatic screen printing machines with a small footprint, consider getting a shuttle flash. These units let you print and flash at the same station, saving you space. If you have the room and can put in a printing machine with a larger diameter, a stationary quartz flash unit facilitates increased production. Either way, make sure you have a well-made flash from a reputable company.

By having the right screen printing supplies to keep your process efficient, clean, and quick, you will optimize your automatic screen printing experience. You will be praising your auto and feeling the benefits, just like Brandon.

—Lawson Screen & Digital Products

Taylor Landesman

Taylor Landesman

Taylor Landesman is the vice president at Lawson Screen & Digital Products Inc. Previously, he worked as an attorney for the State of Illinois, Department of Insurance, handling regulatory and litigation matters. During law school, he was a Senior Editor on the Journal of Law & Policy at Washington University in the St. Louis School of Law.

View all articles by Taylor Landesman  

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