You’ve been printing for awhile. Pounding away on your manual press all hours of the day (and night). You know that your productivity will increase with a larger press, but that leap seems so big. How do you know when you’re ready for an automatic press?

Typically, that conversation goes something along these lines: “I work 14 hours a day, 6 days a week. My hands hurt. I simply can’t keep up or, worse, am contracting out larger piece orders.”

I hear this scenario time and time again. It’s the simplest way to know, and you don’t even need hard numbers to tell you. You are ready for an automatic press. But your journey doesn’t stop there. You’ll need to have a few things in order before you can jump into owning an automatic, starting with space.

Do you have a big enough work area?

Do you have enough work space to handle additional equipment such as an automatic press, conveyor, and any upgrades you may want? A fresh start with a new location, or a revamped work space can shrink very quickly. Raw stock, work tables, your screen room and office areas all eat up valuable real estate, so get the largest work area that you can afford.

Do you have room for additional equipment? Aside from your automatic press and conveyor dryer, you’ll need an air compressor and air chiller to aid in the operation of the press. ROQ machines are powered by electricity, however, air will be required to help lift the print heads, clamp the screens into the print heads and aid in squeegee pressure. Chiller units are designed to remove water in the airlines and prevent moisture from harming the vital inner workings of the press.

TIP: Adequate production area space requirements are 700 square feet to 2000 square feet, for medium sized shops.

Do you have enough power to run all of your equipment?

Power is essential for any business and is often taken for granted. Is there is enough to power to adequately run all the equipment? Get an electrician to verify how much power is available and find out what kind of power you have. Is it 1 phase or 3 phase? How many amps? Once this is determined we can advise on how much all the equipment will consume and guide you in the right direction.

Do you have the plumbing and infrastructure necessary?

Does the structure have enough plumbing to sustain other water sources and drains? How about room for office space, screen rooms, wash out, main production area, ink area and a shipping area? People are going to need to be comfortable working in your shop so you’re going to need to invest in making sure it’s got at least basic comforts. Hopefully more.

Can you expand your space to grow with you?

Can the space be built out? What are the restrictions, building codes, field inspections and zoning issues? Are there build out timelines? Are your existing doors big enough to get large equipment and deliveries through?

Are you in a good location?

Location, location, location. Are you easy to find? Is there sufficient parking for your customers? This is ultra important if you deal with incoming customers. How about for the delivery of goods, both outbound and inbound? It’s surprising how many shops are a challenge to get to or to process deliveries. You need those to run smoothly to keep your presses spinning.

Once you have these pieces in place, you’re all set to sit down with a rep and start filling out your automatic press shop wish-list. Want to learn more about ROQ’s offerings for automatic screen printing presses? Get more info here!

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