Impressions - March 2011 - (Page 51)

HANDS ON >> By Greg Kitson, SCREEN PRINTING >> Contributing Writer HANDS ON HANDS ON Production SCREEN PRINTING HANDS ON TECH TIPS HANDS ON Assessing the Impact of CTS Technology Don’t let the price tag of computer-to-screen technology prevent you from considering equipment that could dramatically benefit your business. When I had a computer-to-screen (CTS) imaging system installed in my shop in January 2007, my primary goal was to fix a production bottleneck. At that time, we were faced with either adding significant equipment or staffing a full second shift to keep up with demand. We didn’t have the management personnel to be comfortable staffing a second shift, so we were forced to turn down profitable business because of our inability to process screens fast enough. Despite the fact that I had well-known and respected industry veterans telling me, “You’ve got to do this. You won’t believe it,” I still hesitated. With our screen volume at about 50 per day, my spreadsheets indicated it would take three to five years to get a full return on an investment. To me, this made my shop borderline for purchasing the CTS machine. In reality, seeing the return on investment for purchasing the CTS machine took about nine months. I couldn’t see it on paper because I was looking only at what I could quantify. As it turns out, the CTS machine has instigated the most significant change in workflow that we ever made in our business. It also has had a profoundly positive impact on our bottom line, which allowed us to reduce overtime and staffing. I eventually learned that I should have purchased a CTS system two years sooner, when I first started looking at the technology. Of all the consequences, a reduction of our consumables was expected, but the real money savings came in reduced production time. We were spending between $1 and $3 per screen on films, plus about eight minutes of time generating the film. Our artist had become more of a babysitter for output devices than an artist. Now, we spend nothing on film or inkjet ink, our TECH TIPS HANDS ON >> One of the reasons we could go from 16 screens per hour in a 7K exposure unit with traditional film to 50 screens per hour hanging them on the wall was because we no longer needed a vacuum, so no drawdown or release time. All photos courtesy of Mind’s Eye Graphics, Decatur, Ind. wax cost is about $0.14 per screen, there’s no waiting for film output and there’s no time spent pasting up films to carrier sheets for a pre-registration system. PRODUCTION IMPACT Once we were up to speed with the CTS machine, we could image 25 to 30 screens per hour instead of generating six to eight films in the same time period. We also went from exposing and developing 16 screens per hour in our 7K exposure unit with traditional film to 50 screens per hour just by hanging them on the wall. We no longer needed a vacuum to ensure perfect image contact; therefore, no drawdown and release time are required. To keep up with this pace, we had to put in more screen-drying racks to ensure the screens had ample time to dry before being put on the press. We also added a dip tank to presoak the emulsion before we washed it out. CTS technology allows us to use all of our screens everyday. If we needed to, we could image a screen first thing in the morning, put it on a press, reclaim it by midday, coat it at the end of the day, and then re-image it again the next morning. March 2011 << Impressions 51

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - March 2011

Impressions - March 2011
First Impressions
From the Show Director
Product Gallery
Mainstream Fashion Drives a Womenswear Evolution
Styled for Her
QR Codes: Mobile Marketing Technology
Design & Digitizing
For Screen Printers Only
Perfecting Sublimation on Pre-Sewn Garments
Online Directory
Business to Business
Ad Index

Impressions - March 2011