The first of many!
Updated: Nov 9, 2022
In August we began work on our first huge order on this automatic press that we just got this year!! Though we have a manual, adding a 10 station auto was definitely a game changer for the job, which was around 2,500 garments and a whopping 8 colors. This took some dialing in and definite trial and error. Each station has a squeegee and a flood bar, both of which need precisely adjusted so as to distribute and print the ink correctly. Too much pressure, and the screen could break. Too little pressure, and it just doesn't get the ink through the screen. After we got all of that figured out through messing with the different knobs, we moved onto the next setup challenge...ink color.
Each graphic ends up with certain demands when it comes to appearance on apparel. Everyone knows that stuff looks different on the computer than on paper or a shirt. It took some work to get the right ink our shop to get the right color combos down. Results were and still are very rewarding, as the print came out great and the customer was very happy!
One plus was finding ways around using excessive ink. Some garments were white, so when we needed white in the graphic, we just used the shirt color instead! Our other garment color we worked with most (two other were small amounts of charcoal, graphite, and sand which worked out fine) was navy. With darker colored shirts that have multiple ink colors used, we have to create an underbase. This made us use a LOT of white ink. We were checking ink every 20 shirts or so just to make sure a good amount was left in the flood zone and even just the screen. Not to mention the fact that there is white already in the graphic. When I say we went through a bunch of white ink, I am not joking.
The whole other issue that we came across came with the type of garments used!! Go figure, right? But seriously, it is one thing to handle a mix of shirts and sweatshirts on a manual press...it is, however, quite a different animal on an automatic press. Shirts really stay straightforward, but the sweatshirts ended up being quite the ordeal. We had to put more glue on the platens two to three times more often because of the fuzz from inside the sweatshirts.
As said previously, our customer did leave happy. We fulfilled the order on time, the whole order nearly sold out for them, and everyone loved them! On top of this, we have found out that we want to and will do more orders like this on a regular basis.