ISA Orlando 2012 Show Photos
Thank you to all the folks who turned out at ISA Orlando March 22-24. We showed the mPower and SPRINT as usual, this time sending our full 16’ tower exhibit for better visibility. We enjoy working with folks in the sign and large format industry because they tend to have a strong grounding in printer technology and they know about basic printer maintenance routines, so picking up a garment printer is just like adding another tool to the shop. We look forward to returning to ISA next year!
AnaJet mPower Ink Cost Study Published
Now that we’ve completed the SGIA Digital Equipment Evaluation, which confirmed our amazing speeds and color range on the mPower mP10, we took the next step and developed a rudimentary ink cost study. We chose four graphics that we felt represented a broad range of real-world images that customers might order, then printed them up a few times each and weighted to get an approximation of actual consumption.
The images we chose were optimized and RIPped for black shirt printing. Based on our experience, the costlier prints are those done for dark garments because they use white ink (which is more expensive itself) and a second pass for color ink. The key component to a cost-effective black shirt print is to select content-based mode for the white underbase. This reduces the volume of white ink needed. There are other best practice tips included in the study.
If you’re an AnaJet customer and did not attend AnaJet University, I recommend you check out our recorded technical webinars for tips on optimizing your images and settings. Working with content-based mode on dark shirts may help you reduce your ink costs significantly and produce a better finish and feel on the printed garment.
The study did not measure CMYK consumption on white or light shirts, but an additional study is in the works.
We have published a few other tips and tricks on pricing models, just search the blog to see them! For future reference, the ink cost study is permanently located in our Learn/Brochures and Papers section of the mPower web site.
Paul Green Article in Stitches Magazine, March-April 2012
Kudos to Paul Green for a useful article (see: Ask the Expert Paul Green Stitches March-April 2012, PDF) on marketing a digital apparel business. Stitches Magazine, an ASI publication, does a regular monthly “Ask the Expert” feature in the inside back cover. Paul wrote some tips on one of his favorite topics: how to make the most of your new direct to garment printer to extend your product lines and lock in repeat and referral business.
Clearly “taking a page” from Dr. Chase Roh’s book, T-Shirt Revolution, Paul has written and presented on this subject often and will be presenting in our booth at NBM Indianapolis this June. We might also be doing a webinar with Stitches along these same lines. Stay tuned!
View the complete digital edition of Stitches, March/April 2012 Issue. Paul’s article is on page 64.
Visit the AnaJet web site for a few other marketing tools you can use.
Customer Referral Program Launched
For years, we have been fortunate to have much of our business built through referrals. In fact, our long list of highly productive, successful customers continues to be our strongest marketing tool. We’re launching our first formal referral program as a thank-you for those customers who introduce us to new potential business that turns into new customers.
For a limited time, starting now until April 30 2012, when a customer introduces us to a brand new prospect and ultimately helps us sell a new printer, we’re awarding them with a credit for AnaJet ink. Check out the program page for more details and a few suggestions on whom to refer.
SGIA Digital Equipment Evaluation of mPower Published
In late January, SGIA’s Johnny Shell, Vice President of Technical Services, visited AnaJet to conduct a detailed technical review of the mPower mP10. Among the key parameters, Shell tested the mPower for color gamut, print speeds at multiple settings and ink controls. Visit their site (opens in new window) to view SGIA’s evaluation. A basic SGIA subscription is required, but at $40 it’s worth it. You might need objectively gathered comparative info if you are evaluating various technologies. I am aware of no other organization that is as committed to objective testing for the benefit of imaging businesses and print entrepreneurs. We will not publish Shell’s test results fully, since SGIA owns the copyright over the materials. However I can summarize some key findings briefly:
- At “High Production” settings, using SGIA’s measurement standard, the mPower printed an 11 5/8” x 12” graphic on a white shirt in 13 seconds and a same-size graphic on a dark shirt in 45 seconds. These times agree with our own speed tests. At “Production” settings, times were 23 seconds and 1:25 respectively. The dark shirt has a built-in delay because the table cycles back for the color pass.
- The color gamut of the mPower ranged between about 65% and 100% of the US Web SWOP color gamut. This means the mPower can faithfully duplicate millions of colors very similar to magazines on an offset press.
Busy Booths at Graphics of the Americas, CAMEX and ISS Atlantic City
In eleven days, AnaJet exhibited at THREE separate trade shows across the United States.
The first of the month saw us at Graphics of the Americas in Miami. There was a very significant percentage of international attendees at this show. (This is also where we rolled out the first stage of our updated corporate campaign. You’ll notice the new booth graphics on the backwall.) This show catered to all types of imaging businesses, from screen printing to book bindery.
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The second show was CAMEX Salt Lake City, where we connected with the collegiate retailer industry. Learn more about who CAMEX caters to. We have demonstrated AnaJet at CAMEX and earned several customers over the years, one of the strongest examples being Landau Princeton. Henry Landau’s advice to all off-campus retailers is to get a digital apparel printer, to give students, parents and all types of visitors the ability to print one-off custom gear, a strong alternative to the campus store, who is usually locked in to only printing designs that will sell in the hundreds.
Finally, just yesterday we wrapped ISS Atlantic City, the apparel show run by Nielsen. Good reports of higher than usual attendance are encouraging signs that businesses are emerging from the economic funk and looking at new ways to differentiate their offerings. Also, when Fruit of the Loom sends their ambassadors to be photographed with Chuck and Roxanna, it’s a good omen.
So, Miami, Salt Lake City and Atlantic City. Still to come this month: Shanghai, China and ISA Orlando! We hope to see you at a trade show near you this year.
Tech Tip: AnaBRIGHT Ink Printing Tips
AnaBRIGHT™ Ink Printing Tips by: AnaJet Technical Support Revision 1.0 October 5, 2010 Introduction This post, written by our Technical Support Department for reference by AnaJet owners, contains tips for printing on an AnaJet SPRINT printer with AnaBRIGHT inks. Topics include maintaining the environment, image quality, pretreatment, white ink use, heat curing, and garment washability. If everything in this post is applied consistently, this will result in commercially satisfactory prints and long garment life. Maintaining the Printer’s Environment Few factors have more impact on getting consistent high quality printing results with AnaBRIGHT™ Inks than maintaining the AnaJet printer’s environment. Keeping a setpoint of at least 50% relative humidity near the printhead can eliminate issues of poor print quality, spotting, banding, dull or muted colors, and ink coverage. AnaJet recommends all the following to maintain the printer environment:
- Once ink is introduced to the printer it should remain powered on 24 hours a day for the user-set auto printhead maintenance to run. If the printer will sit idle for more than 3 days or for storage or transportation then flush ink out with cleaning solution.
- The printer must remain level at all times, gravity plays a huge role in ink flow and print quality. Use a level tool and adjust the feet as needed. See your User Manual page 3 for more detailed instructions on the procedure.
- Print table must be adjusted to the proper height using the gauge height adjustment block.
- Keep the printer away from heat such as direct sunlight or a heat press. The heat press dries out the air around it.
- Keep the Relative Humidity at the printhead above 50%, 24 hours a day while the printer contains ink.
- Purchase a certified hygrometer to monitor humidity. Inexpensive hygrometers are available at cigar shops or the reptile department in a pet shop. These gauges have an adhesive backing and can be stuck right on the hood of the printer within a few inches of the printhead.
- Air conditioning significantly dries out the air. If the printer is in an air conditioned room a humidifier is required. Having a humidifier though does not guarantee proper humidity. For larger spaces more than one humidifier may be required. We recommend a commercial humidifier with a large reservoir that alerts you when low and will not require refilling over long weekends.
- In especially dry desert climates you can supplement the effort of humidifiers by adding a wet sponge on a dish inside the printer. Be sure to keep the sponge wet.
- Do not place the printer in a direct line with fans, air conditioning vents, exhaust ports from other equipment, or any focused air stream.
- Artwork from websites use low resolution to accommodate download speeds. Thumbnails with 72 dpi are a poor choice for T-shirt graphics – once they are scaled up they become pixilated.
- The AnaJet Digital Apparel Printer prints at a resolution much higher than T-shirt fibers can support so we recommend using TIF or PNG image formats with a resolution of 200 to 300 dpi.
- All images for printing must be prepared as RGB not CMYK. The AnaJet RIP software will perform the conversion for printing.
- Many images are giant squares and don’t make good T-Shirt graphics. If you are a designer we recommend the use of transparent backgrounds to limit ink use and produce better results.
- You can make images look bigger by printing them wider across the garment; this is easily achieved by using the landscape mode of the EKPrint Studio software.
- Did you know? AnaJet Techs are artists themselves who can assist you with your print settings and give advice on artwork designed for printing.
- Dilute pretreat 50/50 using Distilled Water; do not use tap water.
- Shake pretreatment well before each use.
- For adequate coverage spray pretreatment evenly from about 12 inches away from garment. Spray until the garment has a wet shiny appearance without the pretreatment running or pooling.
- Squeegee pretreated area firmly in ONLY one direction to push the pretreatment into the texture of the garment and press the fibers flat.
- Hang garments until dry to the touch.
- If the back of the garment will also be printed, after drying, repeat the pretreatment process on the back side.
- Flush pretreat sprayer with hot water after use, periodically disassemble and clean with mild soap.
- If you are having trouble determining the right amount of pretreat to use try this. Pretreat three garments - on the first use the coverage you feel is right, on the second half as much, on the third twice as much. Permanently mark each garment then print and cure using the same settings and wash all three together and observe the results.
- Pretreated garments may be stored once completely dry.
- Use the heat press to fully press the print area for 10 seconds to remove excess water and flatten fibers.
- Do not touch or brush the pressed area or it will risk raising fibers.
- Place hoop over garment and gently tug loose edges downward to make garment flat. Do not pull tightly because stretched fibers slowly rebound over the course of the print causing the underbase and color layers to misalign.
- Unused AnaBRIGHT™ Inks have a limited lifespan. It is not recommended to use inks beyond their lifespan.
- AnaBRIGHT™ White Inks have a 6 month lifespan. These cartridges are marked with a manufacturing date. To calculate white ink expiration dates add 6 months to the manufacturing date.
- AnaBRIGHT™ CMYK Inks have a 1 year lifespan. These cartridges are marked with an expiration date.
- Print on 100% natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo, and hemp.
- Do a nozzle check before starting a run of prints. If the check is poor, perform a printhead clean and recheck. Repeat a second time if needed.
- Shake AnaBRIGHT™ White Ink cartridges prior to a fresh job run or several times a week whichever comes first.
- If you have not used the white ink for a day or so, before starting a job run print a 4x4 square of white on a waste garment to get the white inks moving.
- Do not flood a garment with ink; use just enough to get a nice white.
- Reconsider any software settings where previously heavy ink saturation was used to overcome improper garment preparation or inadequate pretreatment methods which are covered in this document.
- Excessive ink levels on the white underbase which cause pooling of the ink must have sufficient time to dry before laying down color ink. If the color layer is printed on wet, puddle white ink then both layers will swirl together. On the next print adjust these white levels down so that the underbase is ready to be printed on immediately.
- AnaJet PolyBright™ CMYK Inks can be used on light colored manmade fibers such as polyester, nylon, and rayon. However, there are no AnaJet PolyBright™ white ink options so printing is not possible on dark manmade fibers. Some operators have achieved a measure of success on mixed blend fibers with high natural fiber and only 20%-30% polyester.
- To achieve vibrant colors it is necessary to hover the heat press about a half an inch above the garment for 15 seconds to evaporate some of the water and flash cure the ink before placing the parchment and applying pressure to fully cure the ink. This causes some of the ink to remain on top of the fibers during curing and prevents a phenomenon where tiny ink fissures bubble up through the color layer.
- Use heat press settings of 330˚F for 90 seconds for garments where white ink is used.
- Periodically check heat press for proper temperature, pressure and a flat surface area when clamping down onto the garment. A poorly adjusted or damaged heat press with cool spots will not cure ink evenly. Visit the following link for information about how to fix this: http://www.stahlsinternational.com/downloads/Heat-Seal-Machine-Test-Kit.pdf
- Read manufacturing labels on garments for special instructions.
- Remove items from garments and empty pockets.
- Turn garments inside out so printed areas are on the inside.
- Avoid color bleeding by separating lights and darks, do not wash together.
- Use gentle stain removers, detergents, and softeners.
- Use short machine wash cycle, cold water, and gentle agitation.
- Hang drying is ideal, however keep in mind wet garments may stretch when hung and colors may fade after short exposure to sunlight.
- Use coolest temperature settings when machine drying.
- Turn Garments inside out to iron and fold as desired.
AnaJet mPower Big Hit in Barcelona at FESPA Digital
We just returned home from exhibiting at the FESPA Digital tradeshow in Barcelona, Spain. From February 21st to February 24th we had a packed stand that received over 700 visitors and our hand-picked distributors from all over Europe. Thank you to all who attended and stopped by.
We exhibited the full range of our current production models at our stand: the SPRINT, mPower mP5 and the mPower mP10 digital apparel printers. Visitors told us that they were blown away by the speed of the machines and the vibrancy of the prints. We stepped outside the box this time: instead of just showing demonstrations of how easy the machines are to use, we actually had visitors print shirts all by themselves!
Media were out in full force and AnaJet was written up in several publications. One editor came out specifically to interview us live - catch the video here.
In order to assist customers from around the world, many of our distributors staffed the booth with us. It was fascinating to hear excitement for our direct to garment printers spoken in so many different languages. We look forward to attending Fespa London in June 2013!
If you’re looking for your distributor, or pricing for non-USA customers, please visit our Distributors page. Check back for photos soon.
Running Maintenance on Your Heat Press
The kind folks at Geo Knight & Co have been providing their top-notch heat presses to AnaJet for quite a while. We use only Geo Knight presses at our trade shows all over the country and in our classrooms at Costa Mesa. We asked them recently if they had any best practices or troubleshooting advice. Aaron Knight, Vice President, submitted the following step-by-step guide to maintenance. The most popular sellers over recent years have been the DK16 and the DK20. We recommend the DK16 with auto-lifter for the SPRINT, and the DK20 with auto-lift for the mPower due to the larger platen size. In fact, if you are running an mPower we recommend no fewer than two presses to keep up with production speed. The need may not be apparent, if you’re just starting a DTG business line, but the day you get your first order for 500 pieces, it will become very clear. The maintenance document is available in PDF: DK Clamshell Linkage Maintenance
Digital Knight DK16 & DK20 Clamshell Linkage MaintenanceThe Digital Knight Clamshell presses are designed for easy maintenance and parts replacement. If the frame loosens or wears over time, it is NOT necessary to dispose of the machine as with other limited life-span machines on the market. A little care & maintenance as described in this document will insure that the press can be kept in “like new” operation indefinitely. Step 1: WHEN TO DO MAINTENANCE A key indicator that maintenance needs to be done on the press is if the heat platen is disconnecting and dropping from the frame. The pressure knob runs out of threads because the operator must turn the knob more and more to get the pressure they need. Another indicator of maintenance is if the auto-release hover bracket disconnects from the upper blue handle. This also means the frame is overly loose. Step 2: INSPECT HOLES There are 8 black Allen-head shoulder bearing bolts that hold all the blue pieces together. The blue handle, blue side links, and blue arm are all held together by these 8 Allen shoulder bolts. Remove one bolt at a time from the 4 front bolts, and inspect the holes in the handle arm. These holes must be circular. If the bronze bushings in the holes are worn or broken, a new hardware kit is needed (RPK-DKFRMHRD). If the holes are ovaled out, elongated and no longer circular, a new handle/arm/linkage kit is needed (RPK-DK16LINK or RPK-DK20LINK) Purchase these at www.heatpress.com/support.php. Step 3: TIGHTEN LINKAGE If the pivot points & holes that the bolts connect through are in good condition, tighten all 8 allen bolts very tight, and then back them off ½-turn loose. This will insure that the linkage can pivot and move freely. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE that the nuts should be removed one at a time, and Red Loctite Threadlocker (available at any hardware store) should be applied to the nuts. Then tighten the nuts back onto the allen bolts. This will keep the hardware from loosening up after only a short period of time. Step 4: MOVE PRESSURE KNOB DOWN (Optional) More pressure knob threads can be moved down to the bottom to give more adjustability and more threads into the heat platen for heavier pressure. Under the black pressure adjustment knob, there are two locknuts around a black square block. Raise the top lock nut as far as needed, and then raise the bottom locknut back up against the black square block.
Rema Days Fair in Warsaw, Poland
EMB Systems, an AnaJet certified distributor, is happy to announce their success at the Rema Days fair held in Warsaw, Poland. From February 1st to February 3rd, 2012 their booth was busy with visitors interested in AnaJet direct to garment printers.
The Rema Days fair, dedicated to advertising and printing, attracts nearly 10,000 attendees each year. It is the largest advertising fair of its type in Central and Eastern Europe. There are four sectors represented at the show: Outdoor & Indoor Systems, Gifts, Technology, and Print. Together these four categories make for an extremely enticing show. Visitors can gain in-depth knowledge about novelties and get familiar with the latest solutions and trends in advertising and marketing. There are nearly 500 offerings from national and international exhibitors.
EMB Systems was delighted to have over 300 interested professionals stop by the their booth. Visitors received free printed t-shirt samples that showcased the vibrant prints that AnaJet direct-to-garment printers produce. Some of the applications that impressed customers were 3D technology, applications including METALfoil, ARTprints, and EXTENDEDmedia (which allows printing on wood, glass and metal).
For more information about EMB Systems and the products they represent please visit their website at http://www.emb.com.pl.