Wide-Format 101: Look at Tech Sheets
"Everything is in the data sheets,” said Travis Barcelona of Nazdar (Booth 8627) in the Tuesday afternoon session of "Wide-Format 101: Strategies for Success, Inkjet Equipment Consideration.” According to Barcelona, the decision to buy a wide-format inkjet system starts with looking at some basic points about each machine.
For example, “What speed?” means weighing the advantages of running a machine at different speeds versus selling work at one speed probably somewhere in the middle of the range quoted on the sheet. Knowing your customers’ needs can help figure out this sweet spot. Durability — of the inks and substrates you use in a job — likewise depends on the job the piece is sold for.
Another issue is who you buy or lease your printer from: manufacturer or distributor? Customer support is a bigger issue than price in making a buying decision. The company’s location, service, and training options offered, shipping and installation costs, and ongoing maintenance and parts all must be factored in.
Training is an important consideration because, as Barcelona noted, “there will always be issues with machines.” Machines break, typically due to operator error or the printing environment. But “not all technicians are created equal,” he said. Personnel training should consist of equipment operation and maintenance, RIP navigation, profiling, cutting/finishing, and repair. Companies should offer several levels of training to print operators, he said.
A big overlooked area in the purchase process is the operating environment of the printing device. The temperature and humidity are important specifications that must be monitored first to match the machine’s range listed on the data sheet. “The only one to blame is yourself for the printing environment,” he said.
Power and air requirements at your shop also play in role in determining what you can buy. In some instances, issues with either one can be taken care of with the purchase of additional equipment like a transformer or a compressor.
Finally, Barcelona cited equipment maintenance as factor often neglected by personnel. He advised following regular maintenance cycles and following maintenance instructions as a good preventative measure. And if a service technician has to be called? Operators need to “ask questions … ask questions,” he said. “It’s not a one-time investment; you have to continually train them.”