Author Topic: Pad Printing Equipment?  (Read 2800 times)

Offline mimosatexas

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Pad Printing Equipment?
« on: April 24, 2019, 12:17:06 PM »
We are looking into adding pad printing to our lineup, mainly due to frustrations with outsourcing and some specific needs that cant be outsourced.  I want to stay away from the shitty press a print stuff and actually invent in quality equipment from the get go.  What brands, models, etc should I be looking at?  What are less obvious equipment or capital expenditures we will need to consider?  Are there any workspace considerations outside of the norm (ventilation, space, electrical, etc) we need to consider?  Thanks!


Offline Zelko-4-EVA

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Re: Pad Printing Equipment?
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2019, 12:52:12 PM »
we have two B150 machines from Ink Cups and one of their Cobalt 2000 platemakers.

we have had success with their equipment, no major issues or complaints.  my only experience is with printing neck tags.   we print between 1500-3000 per day with two machines.

hazardous waste disposal for old ink that cant be reused the next day.
ventilation - the smell from solvents can be strong - effective ventilation is necessary, its better to pull the air away and not blow onto the equipment due to the way the ink dries.
the cobalt laser platemaker needs either a vent to outside with external fan or you could use one of their venting boxes.
space - i think our two pad printers and ink making area use about 300 square feet for ink making, printing, and staging shirts.
electrical - the machines use 120v and compressed air

other considerations - sturdy table.  the movement of the ink cup and pad will shake flimsy tables.
ink storage requires a chemical cabinet.  hazardous waste disposal requires a metal can as ink and solvents can eat through paint and plastics. 

ink cups can test the substrate for compatibility with their inks and make a recommendation.  you can also go to them for training - proper ink mixing is key.  you have to get the ink/hardener/solvent ratio correct or the ink will not work correctly.  temperature and humidity affects the ink making  - we are in the northeast so our winter ink and summer ink use different amounts - its not mix and go, its measure ink, measure hardener, stir, add solvent until ink looks correct. 

spare parts for the ink cup - a replacement ceramic ring and o ring will be necessary - or send it to the mfr and they will change it for you.  we have dropped a few cups and damaged some that wont take a new ceramic ring.

inkcups can make a plate for you if you dont want to buy a platemaker.  i havent done this, so i dont know turnaround time.




Offline RICK STEFANICK

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Re: Pad Printing Equipment?
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2019, 01:37:10 PM »
The ink cups equipment is real decent stuff. For neck tags I would recommend a rapid tag though. They are much faster. I dont think you will be able to do it any cheaper than your paying for products with embellishment. as far as wanting to do stuff you cant get done. ask yourself why they dont offer it? I guarantee it is because whatever it is is not cost effective. Why move a non money maker in house just to have more control? Because it will certainly cost you more with labor, overhead etc.
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Offline mimosatexas

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Re: Pad Printing Equipment?
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2019, 01:51:59 PM »
Thanks for the info Zelko, great starting point and very much appreciated.

We will not be using it for inside neck labels, at least not primarily.  Our issues with outsourcing aren't about cost or ability to source items, but mainly with turnaround times in adherence with our other service offerings and some business structure constraints I wont really go into (we are largely an on demand fulfillment company).  Can't exactly outsource quicker turnaround times and small run flexibility with products made and printed in the US...

Offline RICK STEFANICK

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Re: Pad Printing Equipment?
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2019, 02:03:07 PM »
That makes perfect sense. I know a guy that does just that.
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Offline 3Deep

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Re: Pad Printing Equipment?
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2019, 02:06:25 PM »
Rick is 100% right we bought pad printing equipment years ago, found one place that we could buy blanks for a decent price, then order qty was a problem.  We gave up and just sent people to the company or we just ordered and added a small fee which was really not worth our time, but I did learn how to pad print which we did stuff for us to give away.
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Offline mimosatexas

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Re: Pad Printing Equipment?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2019, 02:18:09 PM »
I guess I will expand a bit on why we want it brought in house so the discussion can focus on the specifics of getting into pad printing vs why we should or shouldnt.

We manage dozens of online stores and offer and huge variety of items for those stores.  Numerous designs, wide variation in popularity, etc.  We do not keep printed stock for most items, or when we do we use analytics to tell us what to print and those runs vary a lot seasonally and as designs age etc.  Many of these stores offer designs reactively to trends, news cycles etc.  We offer a huge assortment of products and have in-house the equipment and personnel needed to produce items in a variety of ways based on popularity, design complexity, substrate, etc.  An example would be transitioning a design from DTG, to transfers, to direct print on shirts as popularity rises and falls.  That flexibility is key.

We have had increasing need to bring pad printed items in house as order minimums and lead times for outsourced products have hurt our ability to serve the needs of our clients, not to mention the associated costs and logistical issues with carrying inventory for a growing catalog of stores.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2019, 02:28:49 PM by mimosatexas »

Offline balloonguy

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Re: Pad Printing Equipment?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2019, 04:55:32 PM »
Rick is 100% right we bought pad printing equipment years ago, found one place that we could buy blanks for a decent price, then order qty was a problem.  We gave up and just sent people to the company or we just ordered and added a small fee which was really not worth our time, but I did learn how to pad print which we did stuff for us to give away.
Do you mind sharing the decent place for blanks? We have a pad printer that does not get much use because I never did find a great source for blanks...
Thanks,
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Offline mimosatexas

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Re: Pad Printing Equipment?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2019, 05:23:35 PM »
what blanks are you talking about?  just random blank promo items?

Offline royster13

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Re: Pad Printing Equipment?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2019, 08:17:44 PM »
I always love these discussions about pad printing.....

I have been a re-seller for 40+ years and have done okay.....But there are times when I need faster turnaround and/or smaller runs.....And pad printing (or flat screen printing) can work for that....But it is so hard to predict in advance what you need for inventory...And if you are buying a bunch of random items in small quantities sometime your landed cost is so close to what you could buy printed product for (or more) it is hardly worth it....

That said, if you identify a particular product and buy in bulk and then go about creating enough demand for it you can do okay.....I know folks that sell coffee mugs, pint glasses, mason jars, floating key tags, etc.....But they spend considerable amount of money and effort direct marketing to create enough demand....And had huge upfront costs to bring in a container from China.....


Offline mimosatexas

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Re: Pad Printing Equipment?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2019, 09:19:34 PM »
We have built in demand due to our business model. We get requests for the same products over and over across most our stores so stocking blanks would be easy. The difficult part for us isn't inventory management of blank stock fortunately. We already do this for shirts, hats, koozies, totes, mugs, and a host of other products we can produce with our current production capabilities. I definitely understand a retail shop that primarily focuses on shirts being wary of adding something like this, but we are primarily a fulfillment company, began as a sticker and DTG company, and have added things like screenprinting, dye sub, buttons, etc as requests from our stores have made it necessary and every time it has been worth it. I come from the screenprinting side and my company was essentially absorbed as our screen department and our apparel sales have gone up literally 1000% in the last 2 years, just as an example.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2019, 09:21:54 PM by mimosatexas »

Offline 3Deep

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Re: Pad Printing Equipment?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2019, 11:15:42 PM »
Rick is 100% right we bought pad printing equipment years ago, found one place that we could buy blanks for a decent price, then order qty was a problem.  We gave up and just sent people to the company or we just ordered and added a small fee which was really not worth our time, but I did learn how to pad print which we did stuff for us to give away.
Do you mind sharing the decent place for blanks? We have a pad printer that does not get much use because I never did find a great source for blanks...
Thanks,
They are no longer in biz, main reason I stopped pad printing, blanks cost to much as someone mention you might as well let them print it for you.  We use to print coffee cups cost as much to ship as the mugs cost and then I would get some broken.  They have a pretty good lock on this part of the biz, if your looking to do smaller amounts, you pay way to much for blanks.
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