Happy Friday! I hope everyone is safe and starting to fire up production again.
In the last post I asked the question: is screen reclaiming the end of the printing process or the beginning? When I am asked to do a screen room audit to find ways to decrease costs and improve efficiency, I never start at the washout booth. I am out in the print area watching how screens are handled and cleaned. I am paying attention to how much ink is left in the screen that actually is going into a washout booth, dip tank or automatic screen reclaiming machine to be cleaned. I also pay attention to the squeegees and flood bars and how ink is recaptured off of them for future use. I am counting how many pieces of tape are being applied to each screen. The more tape I see on a screen usually is a telltale sign of another issue in the prepress process. These are all potential unseen money pits that can spiral “reclaim” costs, but with the right tools and training they can become hidden gems of significant cost savings. Let us take just one of the above data points and run with it.
Excess ink! This is good starting data point. When I started in sales in 1987, I had no idea what textile printing was. I came out of the membrane switch and graphic overlay business where printing a two mil line with a two mil space was the norm. Every step of the process was controlled and measured. All the conductive inks we used were bought by either the gram or the ounce, so you had to account for every drop. You used one rag to clean up and it was stored in a separate area, and that rag was treated like gold because we used gold for switch tips on specific jobs! My introduction to the textile/apparel industry back then was like visiting the Wild West. Gallon buckets and five gallon buckets of ink under every screen, ink levels in the screen the same height as the frame wall, not to mention that I was wrecking more clothes because of the amount of ink everywhere in the print area, and no one told me for three months that you could remove ink from my pants with SPIF! Thanks everybody:) Needless to say I was as amazed as I was horrified. When I would demo an Easiway screen wash to remove the alleged film of ink left on the mesh, it would take me five minutes to remove the six to eight ounces of ink still on the “ready for the booth” portion of reclaim.
Thank God it is the twenty-first century and things have improved dramatically in all the areas I mentioned above. But there is still room for improvement. In my next post I will show that with a little training you can add even greater cost savings in reduced ink consumption. We will also start to discuss another sticky subject-Tape!
Written By: Frank Ventimiglia | Easiway Systems | Senior Regional Manager East Coast
Save Time and Money with a Dip Tank System!
The Easiway dip tank system has no shelf life, maximizing longevity and flexibility in your reclaim process.