This article discusses the role of strategic planning in making equipment acquisition decisions and highlights the use of the Ansoff product-market matrix as a tool to help with brainstorming and planning.
Before signing your inkjet deal, get the specs for power, ceiling height, load-bearing, square footage, humidity and more. You may find that changes need to be made to your environment that add cost and delay installation. Measure (at least) twice before you buy.
Inkjet Tip of the Week: Understand Total Cost of Paper to compare TCO
TCP=Cost per carton weight (delivered) + cost of priming or spot treatment + excess ink usage+ excess drying energy. Papers not formulated for inkjet often use more ink and require additional drying energy. Measure TCP to fully understand TCO – every machine/ink/paper combination is different.
Stop the (Ink) Bleeding. Check primed or inkjet coated print for color-to-color bleed/coalescence. Run test images w/ varying solid, single process & combined colors which touch or overlap. Create color areas > 4”x4” to see how ink volume of one image will spread or react to the primed/coated stock when touching another. If only printing pretty bitmap images, bleed effects can be hidden leaving print clarity surprises with solids and touching colors with hard edges.
Monitor Cross-Process Variance. Run a weekly test print showing solid color bars across the web. Include 100, 75 and 30% individual process color bars of at least 3” depth across the entire web width. Testing will show how well your paper path is controlled and identify any jet or head variation causing solid area defects.
Many finishing lines are “old fashioned” relative to inkjet devices. Get creative and optimize your physical workflow for speed, flexibility and dependability.
Create multiple profiles for the same paper to manage ink use for your client’s range of acceptable color levels. Make the profile name part of your job definition.
Don’t make designers guess about color matching or papers that work well with your press. Create tools to give designers and print buyers an objective understanding of your press quality on different media.
Dust and Downtime
Uncoated papers with uneven surface formation can generate dust. Dust can buildup on paper transports and print heads causing jet-outs, reduced print quality, increased maintenance costs and downtime. If dust concentration is very high, it can have health consequences for workers – more downtime!
More inkjet presses can now print on offset gloss – but test carefully. The ink may adhere just fine, but gloss stocks can slip more easily (especially roll-fed) so check registration of fine images and rich blacks.