Why You Need a Pre-Registration System

It is no secret that production time counts. The old adage, “When the workflow stops,  so does the money!” is never more true, especially in today’s economy. Nothing is more important than maintaining production of the workflow on the press.

If you are a textile printer with a single semi-automatic press, printing just 500 t-shirts per hour, and netting $1.53 each, for 260 days a year, you have a potential capacity of  1,040,000 shirts per year for a net of $1,591,200. The problem with potential capacity is when the workflow stops, like change-overs, where you take down one job and set up another. It takes time away from the potential capacity and stops the flow of income.

If you are like most, you are probably setting up as many as five jobs a day on the press and if you lose 30 minutes each time, you are losing $382.50 off of your net income for a total of $1912.50 per day. That adds up to an unhealthy $497,250 decrease in the yearly net income line on the Profit and Loss statement. Not so good!

But, what if you could cut down on the amount of time it takes to set up each job? That was what Jon Weiss of New Buffalo Shirt Factory in Clarence, New York (now owned by Gildan) asked in 1997 and quickly found the answer for this issue. Jon was running 12 automatic presses at the time and it was a much higher loss for per second for him. He first created a chart to show his weekly production numbers for all 12 presses.

New Buffalo Pin System

During the week, Jon counted up his changeovers and found there were 10 changes (per machine, per week, 1 shift), averaging 9,000 shirts/machine each week. Jon also found that the average design was between 10 and 13 colors and change-over times were running an average of 1 hour each. He quickly realized that he had to cut down that hour of change-over to be able to increase production and annual net income.

Jon decided that the Newman Pin-Lock Registration System would help him shave time off the change-over time, but he didn’t realize at the time how much time he could shave or how long the return on investment would take. But, he knew he had to take action or continue to suffer. New Buffalo Shirt Factory had accepted the contract for printing the USA Rolling Stone Concert Tour and would be slammed to produce the shirts for the tour and would be running three shifts around the clock for a few months. So time was of the essence.

The Newman Pin-Lock Registration System was installed on ALL 12 (older style) machines in approximately 7 days without ANY production interruption. After using the Newman Pin-Lock Registration System for 2 weeks (on all 12 machines), the following productions numbers were achieved.

  • 10 – 14 Colors change-overs per press, 2.4 times day
  • Change-overs were reduced from 1 hour to 20 to 25 minutes
  • Moved from 10 change-overs to 14 change-overs per week per shift
  • 13 more jobs were produced per shift, per machine
  • Moved by an average of 9m prints per week per press to 13m
  • This accounted for an additional 4000 prints per week per machine
  • Earning an extra $920 per week per press per shift
  • $2,760 extra profit per machine weekly at an average price of $0.23 per shirt
  • Averaging $33,120 extra margin per week for the total of 12 presses

Due to the huge number of Newman Roller Frames existent in the shop the customer invested $145,000 in the Newman Pin-Lock Registration System to place Pin-Locks on all screens, and Pin-Lock Arms on each of the 12 (older style) machines. This cost would be less for newer presses. Return on Investment (ROI): The entire system was paid for in 4.4-weeks.

Realizing that he was earning his investment back rather rapidly, Jon once again took his stopwatch to the production floor to see just how well the change-overs were doing. After just 4 weeks of using the system, Jon recorded the following information on two jobs.

Job 1: 13 – 14 color job averaged 10 to 15 minutes with only 2-3 colors needing slight micro-registration (just a hair top to bottom or right to left). No Z axis (or twists) micro-registration adjustments were needed.

Job 2: The last-minute job of 5 Colors. Took 2-3 minute total change-over for all 5 colors – a 720-piece run – 1 hour and 44 minutes

New Buffalo Shirt Factory received the above last minute order at 4:30 PM on Friday afternoon for a Saturday morning delivery to their client. The entire job was completed from exposing screens to boxing of shirts and picked up by Fed-Ex at 5:45 PM. The employees were able to go home by 6:30 instead of 8:00 PM, further reducing employee overhead for the shop.

As you can see by Jon Weiss’ example, the investment in a pin registration system was a great time saver for New Buffalo Shirt Factory. As Jon learned, the manual registration on the press is a costly endeavor. Since October 1997, New Buffalo Shirt Factory has continued to put an increase in revenue in the bank each week that the Newman Pin Registration System allowed them to earn.

Even if you are taking only 15 minutes to change over 2.4 jobs daily on a single press and you could reduce a 1-hour change-over to 20 minutes (or less, depending on the number of screens) you could print an additional 48 minutes per day. What is the value of that? If you are earning $1.53 per shirt it would equal $73.55 per day or $19,094 per year.

So, yes, you need a Pre-Registration System!

There are several different pre-registration systems on the market. Some are simply a registration device that allows you to register the image to the screen, while others allow the frame to be registered to the press. These are not really systems, but only a part of what could be a viable solution to registration. What you really need is a complete and proven system. You need to consider not only the initial cost of the system but more importantly, the return-on-investment.

If you have to remove a platen from the press to install a special registration device and then replace the platen once the job is in registeration, you need to consider the amount of time and the money you will spend in a year of setups. It can be quite costly.

Also, you need to consider the repeatability of any registration system. If the device is removed from the press, how accurately can it be replaced? If the device cannot be replaced within a tolerance of 1/5000th of an inch, your registration will be affected. This will add considerable time and cost to your operation.

If you work with a three-point registration device, any residue on the frame can throw off the registration. This can be tape, emulsion, ink, or another residue. Are your frames completely clean when going to press? If not, then your registration will be affected, again leading to time and cost.

For me, the Newman Pin-Lock Registration System is a proven product for recovering expensive labor and time in the setup process. There are systems available for almost all screenprinting presses currently in manufacture, whether textile or graphic presses.

Newman Pin-Lock Registration Starter System

For M3 Frames – $4,300 USD

The Newman Pin-Lock Registration System includes:

100 Header Carrier Sheets – The film positives are attached to these pre-punched carrier sheets. High-Quality Polyester, Optically Clear, Bi-Directionally Stable, Individually Punched, Corner Notched. They are usable or for those jobs that run on a regular basis, the film can be left on the carrier sheets to save future setup time.

Art Room Grid Layout Board – For registration of film positives to the Header Sheets. This is accomplished in the Art Room when the film is output. Newman Stainless Steel Pin-locks – 24 sets of M3 Frame Pin-Locks are included. Additional

Pin-Locks are $17.28 per Standard Frame or $36.95 USD for MHM Style Locator Balls. These Stainless Steel Pin-Locks can be attached to existing frames. They allow the frame to be registered to the Screenroom Fixture and the Press Fixture.

Screenroom Film to Frame Alignment Fixture – This fixture allows the Header Sheets to be placed into register with the frames prior to exposure. The system is used off of the exposure glass and saves time over other systems.

Pressroom Swing Out Pin Registration Platen Fixture – This fixture is permanently mounted to one platen on the press and thus saves time over other systems where the platen must be removed and a separate jig must be aligned to the press. As the fixture remains in place, accuracy is greatly improved. The accuracy is generally greater than 1/5000th of an inch.

Additional Fixtures are $2,465.00 USD for standard 23 x 31 M3 Frames.

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About Bill Hood 413 Articles
Bill Hood is an International Consultant in the Screenprinting Technologies, focusing on consistency, predictable outcomes and reproducible results. He is the author of over 50 books on the screenprinting technologies as well as thousands of technical articles, many of which are available at www.screenprintbooks.com online. He writes for Solutions Journal Magazine and other trade publications, is a speaker at various events and has judged international screenprinting competitions. He can be contacted through his website at www.billhoodconsulting.com online.

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