In this guest blog written for LFR, Joe Wigzell, Academy and Creative Centre Manager at Roland DG UK, looks at four key ways to make the most of your hard-working, money-making wide format printer. He says:
1. Look after your business partner.
Whether you work on your own, in a small team or as part of a larger outfit, you have at least one business partner that needs some special care and attention – your printer.
Looking after your machine will increase productivity, the quality of output and the life span of the product. Here are a few tips for taking care of your valued partner. Whilst they may seem obvious, they are key to nurturing your investment:
- Clean your machine regularly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s specification: A clean machine will last longer and maintain the quality of output you require.
- Use official parts and engineers/technicians: A high quality product requires the parts to match and the knowledge and training of an authorised engineer to fit/change them.
- Work in an appropriate environment: Your machine is another employee - and needs to be treated like one. It will not enjoy an overnight stay in a damp, cold room. It will however appreciate a constant, warm and steady environment - much like your other workers!
2. Learn the ins and outs of your co-worker.
Anybody can run a printer and get it printing output - the key to differentiating yourself from the competition and getting the best from your machine will be knowing all about its features, capabilities, parts and software. A few things that can help you are:
- Training: Learning from a professional or somebody whose job it is to know these things will help you will save valuable time in trial and error experiments.
- A RIP will drive your machine and you must drive the RIP: Knowing the capabilities and/or limits of the RIP can dramatically change your workflow.
- Read the manual!: Again this may sound obvious and may be a little tedious, however the manual will have a lot of important information from the people who know the machine the best.
- Experiment: Don’t be scared to try new things and allow a bit of ‘play-time’ to get acquainted with your machine.
3. The printer is only a quarter of the puzzle.
There are 4 elements to a print process: RIP > Printer > Inks > Substrate.
The last piece of this puzzle is the part that the customer will take away: the final product. Your customers will often not see, know or care about the other 3 elements, so you must get this part right as it is your reputation on the line.
- Discover and research what is available: Your machine will have the ability to print onto a variety of substrates and it is up to you to find out what’s on offer.
- Quality vs quantity: Sometimes you will need a high quality media and sometimes you may need something a bit cheaper. It is good to understand how products differ and how quality affects print/life span/cost etc.
- The substrate you use is subject to the same rules as above. It needs a good working/living environment. It needs to be looked after and you need to experiment and learn its characteristics.
4. What other skills does my printer have?
One of Roland DG’s key messages is “there’s so much more in the box than just a printer” and it’s really important to us that you have the support and knowledge you need in order to get the best out of your printer - and gain the advantage over your competitors.
Diversifying, researching and trying new things are effective ways to expand your business and increase profitability. At our Creative Centre at our HQ we demonstrate many of the countless applications and possibilities of your machines. We run courses throughout the year at the Roland Academy which focus on developing your technical and commercial skills and helping grow your business. We also recommend going to trade shows, talking to your contemporaries and keeping your eyes peeled for new and exciting applications. Online forums such as www.rolandforum.co.uk are also a great sources of hints, tips and practical information. All of this will help you to use your machine to its full capacity/capability and, most importantly, keep you at the forefront in the race for success.
For more information on Roland DG and its products, please contact the Roland Academy via http://www.rolanddg.co.uk/support/academy/