When you select a whole new wide-format printer, it’s natural to take into account the most obvious physical features of the device in question – roll-fed or flatbed design(or hybrid), width or format, the number of ink colours (including white and/or metallics), (eco) solvent, UV-curable or latex inks, the range of supported substrates, resolution and print modes and speeds. High volume users, especially with coffee printer, may want to think of automation options for unattended operation and multiple-shift working.
But just what the purchaser of the new wide-format printer also need to be contemplating may be the type and excellence of job information how the device can capture and pass on for production management and analysis. Even when that one printer will probably be the totality of the printing business, you will need to integrate it with your production and business systems to maximise the significance you can achieve from it as well as minimise the costs of their operation and maintenance.
Along with providing an audit trail for quality assurance purposes, automatically gathering accurate and detailed production information allows wide-format print companies to discover precisely what each job costs, not just in terms of substrate and ink usage but most importantly, in operator and machine time. Many uv printer workers depend upon ‘per square metre’ costs that often assume rather idealised working conditions.
During busy periods operators are unlikely to spend some time to log or record their activities but unforeseen manual intervention is an unpredictable and frequently costly element in production that could have the distinction between profit and loss with a particular job. Re-running jobs as a result of un-noticed faults in incoming files, for example, is actually a sure-fire strategy to generate losses on a job.
The more this facet of operations can be captured and analysed, the better the understanding of true production costs that could be achieved. This information really helps to identify profitable kinds of work – and customers – to ensure these could be actively pursued, while providing earlier warning of conditions that cause delays and escalate devhpky19 costs, whether brought on by supplied artwork or by internal practices.
The functionality of numerous manufacturers’ products varies in this respect but ideally a broad-format printer are able to record and communicate for each and every job its dimensions or linear meterage, the substrate used, the resolution and printing mode (single or multiple-pass, for instance) and colour management settings, machine status (printing, idle, offline for maintenance or fault conditions), operator input, and ink and media usage. For roll-fed devices, a ‘media remaining’ indicator can also be extremely valuable in planning work.
Capturing and communicating data of this type involves the two printer along with the RIP, hence the amount of integration between the two then onward through the RIP into a production workflow system and MIS are very important factors to inquire about. Although some RIP/front-end systems have got a facility to output data in simple common file formats such as CSV or Excel-compatible spreadsheet, automatic data transfer will reduce the chance of error or delay. If t-shirt printer operators have to carry out additional methods to capture or transfer this data, it can be less likely that it will likely be done, especially at peak times when it is perhaps most critical to find out exactly what’s experiencing the store and how long it’s taking.