Friday, February 12, 2010

Why Do Print Projects Take So Long To Produce? Part 1: Washing

We have all heard about the dangers of cross contamination and why it is important to wash your hands so frequently when cooking. That isn't the only thing we have to wash though - think about all those fruits and vegetables we cook and eat? With fruits and vegetables, we rinse them with water so we can get any pesticides and herbicides off our food. With meat and poultry, we frequently wash our hands and keep everything away from our raw food to guard against E. coli and salmonella. Also, we wash utensils and plates while we cook to avoid a sink full of dishes that no one wants to tackle after a meal. By the end of your day in the kitchen, if you stop and think about it, you have spent half your time just washing things whether it is food, your hands or the dishes. No wonder so many people skip out on a home cooked meal.

Believe it or not we have to go through the same time consuming process of washing multiple things in a print process that you go through when you're simply cooking a meal in your kitchen. We have to wash our hands to remove potentially dangerous chemicals and to prevent grease and dirt from marking on a plate or a press sheet. We clean the tanks in the image processor to keep sediment from damaging the plates. We clean out toner in a digital press or ink-jet head to ensure a clear image. We wash the blankets on a press to guarantee a high-quality image transfer. In addition to the blankets on a press, we wash the rollers to prevent ink build-up and roller deterioration.

Today, even with technologies such as automatic wash-up devices that take away the need to clean a press by hand, the process can be time consuming and it must be done often enough to produce consistent, high-quality printing. Just like buying paper, washing is always going to be an element of the print process that you just can't get around. So the next time you say to yourself why do print projects take so long to produce, remember washing.