Pushing buttons vs pulling squeegees

Foreword by Dave Roper

 

I have been asked this question hundreds of times, it’s a big question that’s on every printer’s mind – while there’s no magic one-size-fits-all formula or answer, if you are answering ‘yes’ to any of the following, it’s probably time to look at auto-printing in your shop:

  • Are you letting your customers down on delivery dates?
  • Not enough hours in the day and printing weekends to catch up?
  • You dread the enquiry for 500 shirts in 6 colours?
  • Inconsistent prints across the print day?
  • Can’t compete in the open market with other printers?

What do I need to know?

So, you meet the criteria and you recognize that you can’t be pulling squeegees by hand for the rest of your life …so what’s next? What do I need as well as the shiny new blue auto? The other stuff:

  • Space! You will need at least 1000 square feet of ground level floor for a 6-colour auto, more colours demand more space for your press, don’t underestimate this one, when you are producing twice as much, you need space for incoming and outgoing stock
  • A decent three phase compressor with chiller unit, all autos need a good one – don’t skimp here.
  • Flash cure units for the auto (3 phase)
  • A dryer that can keep up with your new auto (3 phase)
  • Also take a look at your screen room, you will be printing twice as quick, so you will burn twice as many screens, and waiting 10 mins for a screen to expose …isn’t going to cut it, the latest LED exposure units burn a screen in under a minute from start to finish.

Can I afford it?

A new 8-colour auto with a flash cure, compressor and an electric dryer, installed will cost you around £40k, and believe me, I don’t have £40k in my bank account at the moment, so how do competitor printers afford these machines? Let’s look at this in a different way – not all debt is bad debt and 90% of the autos we sell are on finance, so let’s look at the figures:

 

A financed auto of £40,000, paid over 5 yrs. (60 months) would cost you around £789 a month; £183 a week or £37 a day…

So for £37 a day you’re buying:

  • Twice as much production capability as a manual
  • Consistency across your prints – the first print is the same as the last
  • No fatigue, pushing buttons is a lot easier than pulling squeegees…FACT
  • And de-skilling the job, its easier and faster to print on an auto, so you can afford that printer you have dreamed about – in turn freeing up your most valuable asset, time.

“Have time to work on your company, not in it”
– a wise man, long, long ago.