Home' New Zealand Printer Magazine : December 2013 Contents 28
Choose the right
IN this print world of seeming
constant change, one thing does
not change: selecting the right
consumable to suit your business
and production output.
Using the correct consumable
ensures high quality production and
the ability to give service to your
customers. Ultimately, quality print and
customer focused service ensures those
customers pay their accounts on time
and recommend your print production
to their friends.
So, what steps should you be taking
to ensure the best consumables are used
in you print shop?
• Compare and assess, do not just take
the word of a supplier
• Always test against a known outcome,
especially when a new batch arrives
at your shop
• Store as advised and endeavour to
only stock suffcient to be used by the
• Don't buy on price, buy on
How do you select what is the best
consumable to use for your company?
• Run a comparative trail, a
consumable shoot out. This could
be considered a bit of a pain, but the
rewards are worth the effort.
How do you measure performance
• Keep a detailed statistical
analysis record of all consumables
• Constantly assess performance
• Never buy the cheapest, unless it is
the best for your organisation
• Never take the word of any supplier,
determine how the product performs
in your production environment.
Who should you buy from?
• You might fnd one supplier provides
all the requirements you need,
or maybe you might use several
suppliers that offer products that best
perform in your situation.
• Pay a little more to have a supplier
go that extra distance. For example,
if you urgently need a product, will
they jump through hoops to ensure
you stay in production? Maybe your
supplier representative might put
some of their product in their car and
personally deliver enough to keep you
Buying the right and most suitable
consumable adds more dollars to your
bottom line than going for the cheapest
item. Press down time, work rejected,
spoilt work or slow production will
quickly wipe out the savings you had by
buying the cheapest product.
The gap between digital and offset
lithography is narrowing but currently,
about 60 to 70 per cent of all printing
is still done by the offset lithographic
process, either sheet or web. There
has also been an increase for longer
run variable data work to combine
offset lithography and digital. There
are several offset lithographic press
manufacturers that are combining
digital and conventional print
production but these are very early days
for this type of combination.
The growth of both electrostatic/
electro-photographic and inkjet
printing has been sensational over the
past decade, especially inkjet since Ipex
in 2010. It would seem that most digital
systems demand the use of consumables
supplied by the press manufacturer
or press supplier, and they should
guarantee the performance of their
THERE is no point in using the best
range of consumables if you don't
consistently maintain your equipment.
Use a maintenance logbook to
track unusual or inconsistencies in
consumable or equipment performance.
Down time doing maintenance
is vitally important. Having your
equipment ready to perform at their
optimum all the time not only makes
sense in ser vicing your customer's
needs but also adds profts to your
business. A regular maintenance
programme will pay for itself in the long
Quality over price
IN selecting consumables, decide
what is best for your organisation
not what is the lowest price. High
quality performance is based on sound
consumable purchasing practices.
It is hard enough to sur vive in this
current commercial climate; using
inferior consumables will only make
your chance of making reasonable
profts even more diffcult.
Let's look at the main consumables
used currently in print...
WITH conventional ink, you get what
you pay for. Generally cheaper ink
contains less pigment, therefore you
have to put more ink onto the sheet to
achieve the desired densities. A thicker
ink flm means more print problems,
more spray will be needed and there
is an increased chance of set off. Ink
/ water balance is diffcult to achieve
and you may get more flling in or
image spread. It is just not worth the
risk. Trial before you buy. Constantly
evaluate the performance of your
For ink in the mainly toner-based
digital processes, both dry and wet
generally have to be purchased from
the machinery supplier. When initially
buying your equipment ensure you
do a comprehensive due diligence
process in your purchasing process.
Look beyond the press performance
and ensure you understand the service
and consumables back up, and what
consumables pricing is offered.
NEGATIVE or positive, thermal or
UV or polyester? The main question
that you need to ask is what are your
customer's needs, and will they be
willing to pay a premium for one plate
type over another?
These days it is not common to keep
plates, keeping plates for a rerun is false
economy. It is more proftable to know
that all plates will run trouble free each
time they are put on the press. Also
work out the cost to your company with
the space taken up in storing plates.
Selecting a suitable computer-to-
plate device is also vital for on press
performance and success. The savings
in make-ready times and waste sheets
will pay for your investment in no time
THE most expensed component in
any print run. Ensure your prepress
department knows what profle curves
they need to supply for each paper type.
Also it is very important in today's
commercial environment that your
paper merchant can supply stock when
you need it. Most merchants have
multiple deliveries each day in the
It is not always practicable but all
stock should be allowed to stabilise into
the pressroom conditions for at least 24
hours to maximise press performance,
especially when press speeds are getting
over the 15,000iph range.
Print gurus Greg Grace and Rod Urquhart say that optimal print
performance can only be achieved by paying careful attention
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