Posted by: AG | January 30, 2011

Quality Control – part three

Printing equipment

As mentioned in part two, the sales rep for the printer should be giving you samples of work they have produced similar to what you need. But if you’re producing a particular kind of piece, such as a catalog, and the printer you’re considering using already specializes in catalogs, then you have less to worry about. You know they have the right kind of equipment. That would help you focus on other issues, such as their cost estimate and turnaround time.

But if the printer handles a wide range of job types, then the equipment they use becomes a more important factor in your decisions. For example, if the printer uses primarily higher-speed web presses (using paper off a roll,) you will get faster delivery and lower cost, but the quality will also be lower. That’s partly because on slower, sheet-fed presses, the pressman has an easier time keeping an eye on the sheets as they come off the press, and that allows for more precise and quicker adjustments. On extra high quality jobs, such as annual reports or short-run books with detailed photos, today’s sheet-fed presses usually have more computerized adjustment capabilities.

The same quality control factors are relevant when it comes to bindery equipment. Since bindery equipment requires a lot of floor space and is expensive, many printers farm out much of their bindery work. This can sometimes affect the price and turnaround time. When my company printed workplace posters, for example, the printer had to send them to a bindery that had specialized laminating equipment, not just for the larger sheet size but to meet our unique lamination specifications. That allowed us to boast that our posters were washable and practically indestructible.

The above are just some of the possible connections between printing equipment and the quality you’ll receive of your printed materials. Therefore, the more you learn about the equipment your printer has and how well it fits your needs, they finer control you’ll have over quality.

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