Okay, so the current business environment is in a slight pause right now. Here are five suggestions to make the most of it.
ONE: Do Some Maintenance & Upgrades
Now is probabaly a great time to do maintenence on your wide format printer and other shop equipment. You should sit and make a list of things that need to be done that your too busy to typicaly accomplaish. So is that a throurough cleaning? What about your computer? Can you sit and orgainez your files? How about getting rid of temporary files? How about backing up your entire hard drive? You might also think about upgrades to your computer like more RAM or move to an SSD harddrive to improve speed and capacity.
In adidtion to hardware, how about your shop? Can you move items arouns for faster access or does it need a good cleaning? Does your own signage need to be upgrades?
There are lots of things you can do to keep busy yet productive in this time.
TWO: Learn Something
We all need to get better at what we do. Now is a good time to take that online course you’ve been wanted to take or maybe just sit down with Adobe or FlexiSIGN and Print and work with color management. Try a few new settings, find out more about how you can control the colors that you print. Maybe you need to go to Google and hunt for more or different ICC profiles etc.
As far as FlexiSIGN and other topics, you can visit www.thinkmutoh.com and find lots of topics to read as well as online video lessons that are made for wide format printing.
THREE: Sort Through Emails
I don’t know about you, but I’m always a little ebind in my emails. Not only that but there are old emails that should be archived or better yet deleted. Doing so will improve your email speed, make it safer and if you setup some rules or folders and move items around a bit, orgainizing them, it could make it much easier to handle emails as they come in when business get faster soon. Need some help?
Here are a few websites to visit that could assist:
https://zapier.com/blog/outlook-tips-and-tricks/ : 7 Microsoft Outlook Tips & Tricks for Better Email Management
https://www.pcworld.com/article/2688099/outlook-organization-tips-5-ways-to-tame-the-email-pile.html : Outlook organization tips: 5 ways to tame the email pile
Why not spend the time to organize those emails.
FOUR: Plan & Market Your Business
When the pause comes to an end, why not have a business plan in place to accelerate your business. Also, why not touch base with current customers and create a marketing plan FOR THEM!
Now would be a good time to re-examine your own business plan. What can you tweak or change to make your bsuniess better. Will prices need adjusting? Are there things you are doing that are not really profitable but tkae you time? Take a look at your business and make some decisions now becasue you can give them thought rather than rush to that decision.
In a similar way, your customers will also be suffering a bit in thie pause. Why not touch base with them and come up with a plan to help them when things get busy again. Maybe offer a series of weekly or monthy signs or banners or something to help them back into the real pace of busniess. They will thank you for it and you’ll have business ready and can even get some of it done while you wait.
FIVE: Get Some Rest
Sure you can worry about business, but get some rest as well. Rest is not only good in helping your body with resistance to all forms of illnes, it is also a good thing for your family. Use this time to be with your loved ones and spend time reconnecting with friends and relatives. This will make you feel better and you’ll be able to hit the streets with a new and more pisitive outlook.
How to Handle Crappy Customer Artwork
This will be the focus of this live training event by MUTOH America. We will cover how to use FlexiSIGN , Adobe Photoshop and other third-party programs to “fix” the artwork that customer typically provide you. In addition we will show you how to match colors from monitor to printer AND we will even show you the best way to keep your printer working in top condition through a hands on printer maintnance session.
All of this in a ONE DAY live training session to be held in Phoenix, AZ at the new MUTOH headquarters.
Ryan Arakaki, Product Manager, Technical Training
Ryan Arakaki, formerly Marketing Manager at MUTOH America has been promoted to Product Manager of Technical Training. Ryan is a talented individual with tremendous experience in video production as well as being thoroughly familiar with all MUTOH printers. His capabilities will be used to develop an extensive video library of technical training for our resellers as well as for our end users of our wide format printers.
Along with assistance from the entire Product Marketing team and Service Department, he will reorganize, and reignite the already great reputation for service that MUTOH America resellers and end users receive.
How MUTOH Training Just Got Better!
While, Ryan will coordinate and execute the training for our resellers on procedures for servicing our wide format printers, MUTOH will also draw from the talent of other individuals in our company such as Brain Armenta and Mike Davenport both of which currently serve in the Service Department of MUTOH. These individuals are intimately familiar with the entire line of wide format printers MUTOH offers and will assist Ryan in the hands on portion of our break/fix classes for our resellers.
MUTOH believes in training and education for our resellers so they can assist our printer users first hand, but we also believe in the training and education of our user base and will continue to develop online classes, webinars and live training sessions to assist them in printer maintenance, as well as software and application education.
Printer Info & Live Training Sessions
Find out more about all the MUTOH wide format printers: www.mutoh.com
See where we will be hosting a LIVE training event: LIVE EVENTSRead More
Could a Head Strike Really Be Related to Proper Media Tension?
When the words “head strike” come to mind, probably the last thing anyone would think of is media tension but the reality is that it could very well be the cause of those head strikes. Throughout my years in the service department with Mutoh America Inc. www.mutoh.com I have encountered media tension problems time and time again with some of our customers who weren’t even aware that our printers have different media tension settings. Media tension can cause all kinds of unwanted occurrences when you are trying to get your jobs out the door so knowing your specific printer’s tension settings can play a huge part in getting successful and accurate prints out to your customers as well as cut back on that unwanted lost/waste material.
Each roll to roll ValueJet has some sort of media tension adjustment on them but not all of them are adjustable so it is important to reference your user manual for your specific machine so that you understand the different tension settings and how to engage or disengage them. Take the 1638X for example, this model is adjustable and there are 3 different tension settings that you can set on the machine. The first one is no tension at all. With the tension, bracket disengaged the roll will spin freely and have no resistance.
The second and third are with the tension bracket engaged. You can add 1kg or 4kg of tension to your material by setting your damper knob accordingly.
With all of these different settings available you can see that it is easy to possibly set your machine up with incorrect tension and not even know it’s happening.
Side Effects of Incorrect Tension Settings
What are the side effects of having incorrect tension settings?
- Media skewing
- Media buckling
- Head strikes
- Inconsistent job lengths
Keep in mind that almost all of the roll to roll ValueJet’s with adjustable tension have two separate roll holders so it is important to adjust both of them to the same setting and not just set one as that will cause uneven tension.
Uneven tension is one of the more common occurrences and can cause any of the above-listed side effects. So if you are experiencing any of them and your machine has adjustable tension then it might be a good idea to take a look at the back of your printer to see how your roll holders are set. Also, the phrase “more is not always better” applies to media tension as well. Sometimes too much tension can put excess strain on your machine and material which can cause head strikes, media buckling or your jobs to come out different lengths due to grit roller slippage. But this isn’t the case with all materials, some materials like a little tension and run better through the machine with a little drag behind it so you will have to test your machine and material to see what best suits your needs.
If you thought the roll holders were the only place where tension can be added then think again! Our optional HD take-up system has additional weights that can be added to them to either add or reduce the tension so it’s always best to check the user manual if you are unsure about all the different tension settings for your machine.
Load Media The Right Way on a ValueJet
No More Bad Tension – Just Good Tension
Media tension may not sound like it’s on the top of the list of how to make good prints but it is definitely an important subject and can certainly make the difference when trying to get the best output possible. So the next time you get a head strike don’t tense up, relax and check your media tension!
Scott Chapman, Senior Global Marketing Manager, Avery Dennison Reflective Solutions
May 22, 2018
“Simple, but proper, maintenance will keep your printer at its best, and leave you smiling, knowing you’ve made the right investment in technology.”
In many areas of the country, stepping into a traffic sign shop is something done at your own risk. Shops located in small public agencies are often located in the back of the general maintenance shed. Yes, behind the dump trucks, the snow plows and maintenance benches. I know, I’ve visited my share over the past thirty years and have a stack of oil-stained slacks to prove it. Don’t get me wrong – our industry also has a number of impressively organized – and clean – facilities around the country – private and public agency alike. And done right, all are capable of producing long-lasting, quality traffic signs.
And viewed in today’s eyes, our traffic signs have roots in some pretty unsophisticated production equipment. Remember the “one-arm-bandit” squeegee tables and steel-rule dies for cutting Highway Gothic letters for street name signs? The industry has evolved, but we still look at computer-cut overlay film production with wide-modern eyes in the same way that cro-magnon man viewed fire, or the way Mr. Watson expressed surprise at hearing “Mr. Watson – come here – I want to see you” at the other end of Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone call on March 10, 1876. And all the while forgetting that the commercial graphics industry largely walked away from both forms of production in favor of wide-format digital printing years ago.
In fairness, reflectivity and durability demands of today’s traffic signs coupled with digital ink limitations have largely prevented production methods from evolving sooner. Only recently have advancements in ink and overlay films been achieved that make the production of specification compliant, and durable digitally printed traffic signs a reality. We’re here now, so welcome to the modern era of traffic sign production!
Digital printers, whether our own TrafficJet™ or other dedicated traffic sign printers, differ from common desktop inkjet printers in many respects. While “plug and play” is a hip and appealing phrase, it’s really out of place in the context of our industry. Call it aspirational, but don’t call it reality. Wide-format digital printers are more complex – far more moving parts with more complex ink and delivery systems, as well as substrate varieties, than your office desktop printer pulling from a stack of office supply copy paper.
Unfortunately, some shops getting into digital printing for the first time are often given an incorrect understanding of maintenance needs, hearing descriptions that some are “maintenance-free”. But as airplanes love to be airborne, printers are happiest when they are doing what they are designed to do, print. And the more the better. But downtime, and maintenance, are a reality for all printers. Each printer manufacturer provides instructions for daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance. And in many cases, daily maintenance – as short and simple as 10 minutes a day, is often the most critical to perform.
Many factors go into selecting the right printer for your operation. Remember to make a commitment to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. Maintenance procedures are not difficult to understand or follow, nor should they intimidate or prevent you from adopting this new technology. Simple, but proper, maintenance will keep your printer at its best, and leave you smiling, knowing you’ve made the right investment in technology.
To learn more about Avery Dennison Reflective Solutions, visit us at: reflectives.averydennison.com.
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Want more information on the MUTOH TrsafficJet? Just ask:[ninja_form id=1]
by Mike Springan, Product Manager/Techincal Trainer, MUTOH AMERICA
The idea of maintaining any product or piece of equipment you purchase to keep it working at its best is not a new concept. There are many articles and blogs dedicated to the best practices to maintain your wide format printer, easily found by simply googling “printer maintenance”. Most of these articles will compare your printer maintenance to maintenance you regularly perform on your car, and rightfully so. Both are significant purchases that you want to keep working at their best and, probably more important, at their most reliable state. Let’s face facts here, there is not much difference in getting in your car in the morning only to find the battery is dead and the car won’t start and arriving at your shop to find you print head is clogged and the printer won’t print.
Here are a few ideas that you can easily implement into your maintenance routine to help keep your printer in tip-top shape and the profits flowing!
It is very easy to compare the most basic maintenance routines of your printer to that of your car or truck. Most people will wash their cars from time to time, change the oil and filter, wash windows, vacuum the interior, etc. etc. Your printer will operate at its best and most reliable state when you spend just a minimal amount of time cleaning it. It’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions for proper cleaning procedures.
The best way to make sure that when you arrive at your shop in the morning and print your first nozzle check with all nozzles firing 100 percent is to keep your capping station and print head clean and free of drying ink and debris. I call this daily maintenance. Some manufacturers will specify daily, weekly, monthly, etc. This maintenance routine should be done daily. It takes about 2 minutes at the end of a hard day of printing and will save you a lot of money and downtime in the future. You can never clean too much!
Make sure you keep your print bed and platen area clean. Ink and ink overspray gets everywhere and there is really no way of preventing it. All you can do is clean up any ink spills immediately and give the whole printer a good wipe down on a weekly basis.
Some printers have built-in automatic cleaning cycles to prevent nozzles from clogging and to keep all nozzles primed and ready to go. These cleanings are there to help maintain the reliability of the printer when you are not there. Make sure you set your timers appropriately for the ink type you are using.
The working space and environment the printer is in is just as important as keeping the printer clean.
Most manufacturers will recommend a temperature and humidity range optimal for your printer. For the most part, this boils down to approx. 75˚F and 50% humidity. Keeping your printer in a space that can maintain these optimal ranges will not only ensure the printer functions properly but will also help in making sure your medias are not too saturated (too much humidity) which can cause cockling and head strikes, or too dry (too low humidity) which can cause static that affects accurate dot placement or possible damage to electronic components.
One thing that is often overlooked is what other equipment is around your printer. Do you do a lot of woodwork or metal work in the same room or space as your printer? The dust, dirt, and debris created from these other pieces of equipment will easily be attracted to fans, vents, or filters on your printer. It won’t be long before your printer is filthy and may be damaged. (See “A Clean Printer Is a Happy Printer”)
Once more, this compares directly with maintaining your vehicle.
Like a car, printers are mechanical devices with many moving parts that wear out over time. Changing parts on a preventative basis means extended reliability i.e. change your oil, tires, battery etc.
Manufactures will have a list of periodical replacement parts. The idea here is to replace parts before they fail. A printer manufacturer will have guidelines on what parts may need to be greased or lubricated on a periodic basis or replaced after so many hours of operation.
If you follow these three tips you are sure to keep your printer operating consistently day in and day out.
Just like taking care of your car, proper upkeep can prevent a host of problems in the future.
Just remember to save the larger problems and repairs for your friendly neighborhood, certified service technicians. You won’t want to make things worse.
- Perform a daily nozzle check.
- Wipe down and clean the printer.
- Periodically run a cleaning cycle.
- Keep your environment stable.
- Plan to replace key components on your printer.
Why not take advantage of the features of MUTOH printers? They are loaded with easy to use maintenance options as well as options to keep going even when issues do come up. MUTOH has the best reputation in service, repair, and training with experts on staff with years of industry experience. Visit our website to see all the advantages of a MUTOH. www.mutoh.comRead More