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Questions & Answers

posted Apr 6, 2012, 1:01 PM by Timothy Ink   [ updated Jul 25, 2014, 2:08 PM ]
People, Process, Product the three P's of Business.
Through my years building my business I have learned a lot.  In the beginning I had a little experience in the industry working mostly as an underling.  When I was laid off a few years ago and before I started Timothy Ink, Hulu was a new thing and I binged watched Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey.  After a few episodes you could see a very simple pattern emerged he came in and did one thing every time "FIX THE FOOD."  It doesn't matter what kind of food you are selling in a restaurant, if the food is bad, and it doesn't matter if it's a burger or a T-bone and it almost doesn't matter what price it is listed at, if it's no good, no one will come there to eat it, and ultimately the business will die.  So when I started Timothy Ink in 2009, and I was just starting out I made sure that if all else fails the prints were good, and that served me well for years.  Now that my business is more mature and the jobs get bigger and more complex I find myself seeing that two other things play a key role in making my life easier at the shop, People and Process.  It is key that the people that you hire are sharp and have the same goal as you do in mind, essentially (IT'S GOOD PRINTING).  Lastly in order for your people to be able to there job effectively I have had to create a process that allows them to do there job effectively.  This is a long and somewhat difficult process for you as a business owner to settle on but when all gears are clicking together you finally have your business.  

Timothy Ink "What can you print?"

Well to in short Textiles, what does that include?  A lot of different things.  Our most common printed item is Tshirts, fronts and backs are the most common print location however we are capable of printing sleeves, and tags if necessary.  I probably print about 100 t shirts for every other item I do print.  However we have printed over 8,000 towels for customers this year and a few thousand sweatshirts as well.  We now print reversible pinnies  as well as tech shirts and Sports uniforms.  Shopping bags are another common item to print as well. Sometimes compromises must be made for location and size of the logo however if you have seen someone else print there I can probably do it as well.
 We can
print up to eight colors on our Automatic press (pictured) which can allow us to print up to 600 pieces an hour.  My humble manual press is pictured below the big blue press which is what I started the company with in 2009 in my parent's garage.  It is a simple 4 color 4 station Riley Hopkins press that has approximately 90,000 prints on it and it is still use today.  I do not look forward to the days pulling the squeegee anymore but it still does a great job on the small runs.  

Why Chose Timothy Ink?

A lot of people say "Tim, I like your work but this other guy is 5 pennies cheaper on a shirt (over 12 shirts), if you can't give me that I'm gonna send it to the other guy."  This always catches me off guard, I'm usually trying to stick to a schedule so I'm often not able to answer the question as fully as I would like, so I'm taking the opportunity to answer this question here.  Well, actually not all screen printers are equal believe it or not.  Generally we all use the same inks, screens, emulsion, types of press so what does separate one from the other really?  That is really the man (or woman) doing the work.  There's no substitute for experience which you get at Timothy Ink.  

Today I had the rare chance to examine another company's work.  First thing I noticed was the ink was really rough.  The second thing I noticed was the shirt color was coming through the ink.  The third thing I did was stretch the shirt and do you know what, it cracked immediately.

Just from this brief examination of the shirt I know what they did and what the did incorrectly.  
1.     The rough ink suggests that they used a screen with a really low mesh count, which may speed the ease of printing however it definitely makes a difference to the feel or "hand" of the print.  Now if you are using the basic ink you will almost always be able to feel the ink however with the proper mesh selection you should only feel a uniform "film" layer of ink, not a texture of a dried sponge.  

2.    The shirt color showing through the ink is a classic mistake of not flashing.  I liken flashing to when you paint a room in a house, to cover up a dark wall you need to paint the wall, let it dry, and then put on a second coat.  That in essence is what flashing does, you put a layer of ink down, dry it with the flash dryer, and then put a second layer on top.  Pretty basic stuff.  If you don't do this it usually means the person was either in a rush or, doesn't care about the end product, I do.  It's my name on the door.

3.   Cracking, oh how it plagues people trying to take shortcuts in this industry.  Plastisol ink which is widely used in the industry is great, it is flexible, stretchable and is
Competitors printing
really easy to use.  However if not heated up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit it will crack and peel in the wash.  White is the most difficult ink to get to temperature for two reasons, the first is you usually need to apply a thicker film to get 100% opacity on a dark shirt.  The second is because of the natural properties of white it reflects the heat.  So you can test how hot the print is when it's going through the dryer I use a non contact temperature gun, however the ink may read 320 on the top of the film, but that may not mean that at the bottom of that layer of ink has reached the "Cure Temp."  It is the bottom of the ink that is the  layer that actually attaches to the shirt.  So if the bottom layer isn't adhered to the shirt, the top will just peel off.  The conveyor dryer I have here at Timothy Ink has two advantages over most.  First it has six linear feet of heat and has an output capacity of 576 shirts an hour, the second is it has a digital temperature readout.  This may sound odd that a $10,000 pieces of equipment don't have this and your home oven does but most don't, and those dryers rely on people doing a calibration test every week to make sure it's operating at peek performance, but from working in a handful of shops most forgo the maintenance routines once the shop gets busy and rarely go back to them.  
The difference in price is usually attributed to the labor cost it takes to pay a person to run the press. I Tim, who has had tens of thousands of shirts pass through my hands knows what the issues are and how to fix them or in my case avoid them completely.  Some shops hire part timers who know enough to get by and make the shirt look OK but they may not know how to what it takes to properly print a shirt.  Think of the long term if the customer demands a refund for the poorly printed shirts that on a really small order of 12 shirts will end up costing you about $34 to the printer who messed up the job and another $30 or so dollars on the cost of the shirts, approximately $64 total.  That's 1280 shirts that or approximately 100 jobs it would take for you to make up that $0.05 difference on each shirt.  And if their quality is suspect on this random job that I was handed I would have to suspect the quality on all of the other jobs too.  How does the saying go, "spend a dollar to save a nickel."  That's what this customer is doing.  

Lastly it's your company's reputation that you are putting on the line every time you sub out your work.  So go with a quality screen printer and let your mind at ease.  Keep your customers happy.

Go with Timothy Ink.  

Opaque My PrintStretch Test My print


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Timothy Ink,
Apr 7, 2012, 10:25 AM
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Timothy Ink,
Apr 7, 2012, 10:25 AM
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Timothy Ink,
Apr 7, 2012, 10:25 AM
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Timothy Ink,
Apr 7, 2012, 10:28 AM
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Timothy Ink,
Apr 7, 2012, 10:25 AM
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