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Jul 12

Are You Ready For Automation? Real Automation?

I wanted to offer some perspective to all those who are considering a new press. The entry dialogue is and has been “how fast will it make-ready?” After all, hasn’t the mantra always been to produce print “better, faster, cheaper?” All the focus has been on the machine and the software to improve your profit on these shorter runs and the lower print pricing in the market. I think this is well placed consideration, and as a press guy I would support all that kind of scrutiny, BUT – - -

We do study after study to “justify” or ROI a new press. It is our pleasure to do so; however, what continues to show its big ugly head is your plant efficiency or inefficiency. Here is what “becomes the truth.” So the question is “can you handle the truth?”

What good is it for the new press to change plates in 2 minutes if you take 7 minutes between jobs just to get plates to the press? What good is it to change sheet size through the press in 1 minute if you take 8 minutes to find the stock? What good is it to have all the key setting and profiles set in 1 minute when you don’t have job after job lined up ready to go, wasting another 9 minutes?

So here is the math. Depending on many factors, the hourly rate for your super nice new press could be $175 to $400 per hour. If you lose the time I just described and you had four jobs a shift, you could be wasting from $280 to $640 a day or on a 22 day month between $6000 and $14000! Who can afford that?

Here we spend all this energy on extracting the last minute from the machine and it could be that you are bleeding dollars in disorganization. Your success is very important to companies like ours. Your profit is very important to both of us. Let’s start with the mirror first. You look at your plant floor and just ask this–what are they doing? Why is the press not running? Where is the operator? Create this new culture of everyone staying busy, moving the jobs forward and then no one will be waiting. You might just put that press purchase off another year, BUT when you do get that new automated press, watch your company grow.

Some time wasters:

  1. Waiting for stock
  2. Waiting for plates
  3. Waiting for jobs including ink key profiles and proofs
  4. Waiting for customers or sales persons
  5. Waiting for a tool which is not near press
  6. Waiting for a new blanket, roller, packing etc. not available
  7. Waiting for fountain solution to be mixed
  8. Waiting for more ink or offset powder
  9. Waiting for job ticket with run instructions
  10. Waiting for rule up or customer OK

Now get going!

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