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The Right Finishing Tool for the Job

(February 2007) posted on Mon Feb 05, 2007

Specialty equipment to keep those projects moving out the door.

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By Peggy Middendorf

The right tool is critical to any part of a job, of course. But of all the areas in a shop, it may be in the finishing department where shops typically try to get by with less or depend upon equipment that has been in-house for a while.

And, yes, while you may be able to "make do" with that sewing machine you’ve had on-hand since the Carter administration, or that dryer that first came through the door when something called MTV was introduced, it might be time to carefully evaluate how new specialty finishing equipment could possibly help you out. Can a new or different tool do a better job than your present one? Are there new technologies available that simply weren’t available when you first bought a similar tool? Can a different tool speed up your processes and get the job out the door and into your customer’s hands more quickly? Keep in mind that quick turnaround means happier customers and, likely, an improved bottom line.

In that spirit, here is a sampling of finishing tools that-with the investment of some cash and training-will improve your turnaround time and add another revenue stream.

Dry assist

As the speed of wide-format printing increases, the time to dry the graphics before re-rolling or lamination has decreased. One way to move the process along is to supplement your printer with one or more additional heating units.

The portable infrared dryers from Black Body can be rolled up directly alongside the printer to dry the ink to its full cure. Because it’s the nature of infrared to dry from the inside out, the Digi-Dri units provide a full cure without deforming the substrate, the company reports. Complete with a controller, these dryers are available up to 108-in. wide; more than one heating unit can be placed on a heating assembly frame. Depending on the unit width and current, the Digi-Dri can be used with printers that output up to 860 sq ft/hr. These IR dryers also can be used to preheat substrates.


Heat and seal