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  • Printing Question

    Okay, so some of you might remember about a year ago when I made a post about a new job position I was filling in, and I was having trouble learning Illustrator for press. So I started in the digital printing department, and worked there for about 6 months. I excelled there, and quickly made my way into the artwork prep department where I have been for the past few months, and now work with production managers, and our in house VP of operations. We are a fairly large international company.

    We are currently using a Xerox 2100 Versant Toner Press for small-medium output, along with a 1999 Zund swiss plotter. Our machinery in the warehouse is very up to date, but the printing department is very lackluster. A few heads of production and I are trying to put our heads together to come up with a solution for replacing these machines.

    Our production managers are set on inkjet printers such as the Mimaki CJV30, high end rolands, and HP water-based printers, but I remain unconvinced. They are particularly interested in this printer, the HP Latex 360 Inkjet printer.

    I'm being sent to a partnering company tomorrow and the following day to observe their printing department, and observe their workflow.

    Keep in mind that we do not print banners, we print small (1"x1") stickers to be applied in house by labeling machines and by hand, and already have a working system that allows our printing guy to generally be finished with his work within the first 4-5 hours of the work day. We would have to pay for new RIP software - Onyx was recommended to us.

    Can anyone offer any insight as to how we might be able to proceed with this - what kinds of printers are you using for what kinds of jobs, how often are these machines breaking down, are you running the printers overnight, what would you recommend as far as rip software goes, etc.

    Any advice would be helpful! Would love to get this sorted out, and have our printing department running as up-to-date as possible.


  • #2
    The biggest hint I can give you is if you get one of the printer-plotters just remember, while it is printing, it is NOT cutting. For what you are doing, it sounds more like you need both printer and plotter if you want any kind of time management.

    Beware of throughput speeds. There is a big difference between the fastest throughput and the quality. Production mode may not be good enough for your purposes. Be sure to get the throughput speeds for all of the settings on the machine. There is a significant drop off as dpi goes up (drops per inch of ink laid down.)

    You do not want to look at any water based system, if you don't want your stickers to melt in the rain.

    The latex is not waterbase in the true sense. The latex inks have exterior application durability unlike the true aqueous inks.

    Onyx is a very robust rip. So is Caldera. You might want to do a comparison to see if one offers you more of what you need than the other. Either will work for your proffered use.

    The other question is, will the machines do the print and cut in a fashion that your in-house labeling equipment can handle?
    Will the HP latex print on the media you run for your stickers?

    When you look at machines, bring a test label file. They should run it for you.
    No sense in purchasing blindly.

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    • #3
      We use a Roland for signs as well as printing and cutting labels sometimes. It does a good job on them, but it's horribly inefficient from a labor standpoint. A dedicated label machine will cost less and more importantly, do everything in one pass, including coating and winding the rolls.

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