Inkjet technology came into play for the screen-printer well over a decade ago. Over the years products engineered for screen-printers delivered the ability to achieve quality results with greater speed and reliability with the added benefit of more affordable hardware and consumable prices.
The software that drives inkjet technology is key. The RIP is where you control the settings for the printer such as resolution and ink flow. Your RIP software has a lot less to do with high density than most users understand. The physical link (marriage) between the film and ink is responsible for the achievement of dense films that will expose properly during the screen-exposure process. If you want to control the cost of making film positives and achieve great results work with the proper mix of products.
What is key for every screen-print company wishing to utilize inkjet technology for making films is selecting the proper hardware to meet the specific requirements of your shop. Consider format size and the amount of films you make per day on average. You can waste money purchasing a device with too large a format and price tag, or waste time using hardware with too small a format or without an auto roll device when you need to produce a lot of films daily. Every shop (large or small) should institute a back-up plan for those unexpected hardware issues or workflow interruptions. This goes for inkjet printers and not just computer hardware. We can’t stress this point enough, have a secondary printer such as a smaller desktop model. It is a scary proposition to constantly be under deadlines yet your company lacks back up hardware, supplies and personnel. I would hate to be your client when I can’t get my garments in time for my event because of poor planning on your part. If you are running on a tight budget then being organized and proactive is critical. I took my own advice decades ago when starting out as a screen-printer and it allowed our shop to grow and profit and keep my stress level low and my customer’s appreciation high.
At Freehand we support specific models for AccuRIP Software users. Why? Because not all models are good for what you are producing with an inkjet. These devices are engineered to be efficient color devices for outputting color images as composites. It is the screen-print industry that found favor with these devices for film output (black ink marrying to clear film acetate) and have worked to make the process as easy and productive for you. So, if we see two printers on the market that will deliver the same ability (within a format size), but one is more expensive and the extra price does not offer usable features then we don’t support the model. This is how we can help our users stay on budget without them even knowing what we did for them. We suggest you review a RIP Software’s supported inkjet list and then investigate the features of the device including price, plus the availability of the All Black Ink option for the model.