When you select a whole new wide-format printer, it’s natural to contemplate the most obvious physical features of the unit in question – roll-fed or flatbed design(or hybrid), width or format, the amount of ink colours (including white and/or metallics), (eco) solvent, UV-curable or latex inks, all the different supported substrates, resolution and print modes and speeds. High volume users, particularly with latte printer, might want to take into consideration automation options for unattended operation and multiple-shift working.
But precisely what the purchaser for any new wide-format printer also need to be considering will be the type and quality of job information that this device can capture and pass on for production management and analysis. Regardless of whether that one printer is going to be the totality of the printing business, you need to integrate it with your production and business systems to maximise the benefit you are able to achieve from it and to minimise the expense of their operation and maintenance.
And also providing an audit trail for quality assurance purposes, automatically gathering accurate and detailed production information allows wide-format print service providers to find out what exactly each job costs, not just in regards to substrate and ink usage but furthermore, in operator and machine time. Many uv flatbed printer workers depend on ‘per square metre’ costs that often assume rather idealised working conditions.
During busy periods operators are unlikely to make time to log or record their activities but unforeseen manual intervention is definitely an unpredictable and frequently costly aspect in production that can make the difference between profit and loss over a particular job. Re-running jobs as a result of un-noticed faults in incoming files, for example, is a sure-fire approach to lose money over a job.
The greater this part of operations can be captured and analysed, the higher the knowledge of true production costs that can be achieved. These details really helps to identify profitable types of work – and customers – in order that these can be actively pursued, while providing earlier warning of things that cause delays and escalate devhpky19 costs, whether brought on by supplied artwork or by internal practices.
The functionality of several manufacturers’ products varies in this way but ideally a large-format printer will be able to record and communicate for every single job its dimensions or linear meterage, the substrate used, the resolution and printing mode (single or multiple-pass, for example) 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 is additionally extremely valuable in planning work.
Capturing and communicating data of this type involves the printer as well as the RIP, hence the level of integration in between the two and then onward in the RIP to your production workflow system or MIS are essential factors to ask about. Although some RIP/front-end systems have got a facility to output data in simple common file formats like CSV or Excel-compatible spreadsheet, automatic data transfer will reduce the potential of error or delay. If dtg printer operators have to carry out additional processes to capture or transfer this data, it can be not as likely that it will probably be done, especially at peak times when it is perhaps most important to understand exactly what’s experiencing the shop and exactly how long it’s taking.