Have ink mixing systems evolved without you noticing? Part 1.

Money belongs in the bank, not on a shelf gathering dust.

Money belongs in the bank, not on a shelf gathering dust.

I once took a partial bucket of plastisol off a shelf— it had been sitting gathering dust for two years—and placed it on a meeting room table.  I asked everyone around the table what they saw. They all saw a partial bucket of red ink. That was of course what I expected them to say until I said I saw about $30.00.

My question was if it didn’t make sense to put $30.00 in coins on the shelf and let them gather dust for two years, why would it make sense to do it with a partial bucket of ink?

My next question, this time for you, is why would you buy ink in greater quantities than you need and accumulate the excess, sometimes for a lot longer than two years? It’s money. Shouldn’t it be in the bank?

The solution of course is a software-backed, in-house mixing system. Aside from the convenience of being able to make colours accurately and instantly without ordering and shipping delays, you can make them in the exact quantities required. No excess. No money gathering dust in a forgotten corner of the shop. No money to be paid for eventually dumping it. And the per-gallon cost is considerably less than ordering the ink already mixed—I once calculated to difference and it was considerable, somewhere around 20 percent, though I don’t recall the exact number.

And let’s not kid ourselves that the solution is an instruction to print shop employees to use up the old ink whenever possible. That’s because ‘whenever possible’ hardly ever happens—it’s a lot easier to phone for a gallon of a particular colour rather than search through old, dirty, partially-full buckets. And then after the job is printed, the left-over ink from the new gallon is added to the other partial buckets to gather dust. And so the expensive mountain of redundant ink grows.

If you’re not mixing your textile screen printing plastisol ink in-house, you should take a serious look at it. There’s the convenience of being able to make an exact custom or PANTONE match in the exact quantity you need in minutes, but then there’s my favourite reason for having an in-house mixing system—economics.

The next post will deal with ink mixing system options.