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A Bit Of A Pickle...

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by DunbarPG, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. DunbarPG

    DunbarPG Member

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    Ok, first I want to give a little background into my current shop situation.

    I am an employee, not an owner. I'm the only employee/manager of the graphics/signs department.

    My main machine is a Roland Tru-Vis VG540; I have an older Roland SP-540V I mainly run as a backup.

    For this specific order, My TruVis was down, so I had to print on the SP-540V.

    Now to my story,
    We have a customer, whom has gotten the same sign order for years. They are foamcore signs used in frames for a trade show display. Before I came to this shop, the "sign" department was nothing more than some prepress guys trying to figure things out. They printed these signs on an Epson and spray mounted the prints to the foamcore. When I came along, they discarded the spray mounting booth, and I do all sign work off of the Roland.

    We spoke to the customer, before completing his order, to warn him that he may notice some discrepancies in his signs due to the new process used. He was fine with that. The signs were delivered, accepted, and used at a trade show for 3 days. The customer now complains that the signs were 1/8 inch too wide, causing them to get stuck in the frames. I have no problem with trimming them down. The only explanation I can gather for the size change is the vinyl stretched during hinge method application, because the files were correct.

    Now 2 out of the 6 signs he returned, are scratched badly, and he wants them replaced for free because they wouldn't have been scratched if they were the right size and would come out of the frames easily. Still not my pickle though. I am currently trying to reproduce 2 of the signs for him, and my SP-540V will not produce the same color. I am running the same file, on the same machine, with the same profile, and same media. Though all the colors are bit brighter. I can't seem to get these 2 reprints to match the originals, and he will have 4 original prints to directly compare them to.

    Not sure what to do at this point. I have adjusted colors all morning to no avail. I do not want to re-make all 6 signs for free, because they scratched 2. I have manually cleaned, and get a perfect test print from the SP, yet the colors do not match what it printed a week ago. I tried printing on the VG540 and it is nowhere even close. This customer is extremely picky. Not really asking for help, just sharing a tough situation with some people who will know what I'm talking about. Any ideas as to what would cause the difference in color will be appreciated though.
     
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  2. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    The tru vis ink has a different gammut, short of having a company come in and profile both machines, it's going to be very hard to get them to match.
    for the cost of some vinyl and foamcore, I would reprint them all and keep the customer happy.

    As for them being too wide, if you are printing and applying without lamination, the vinyl could very easily stretch 1/8", you can easily verify this with a tape measure after they are done.
     
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  3. DunbarPG

    DunbarPG Member

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    Yeah, I have been kicking myself for not measuring after they were finished in the first place. The prints were not laminated, but they were masked with application tape, to prevent squeeqee marks. I am not trying to get the TruVis to match the 540V....I'm trying to get the 540V to match the 540V. It's the same machine that printed them, a week ago. It's like the 540V started printing better over the last week, with much brighter blues and yellows...I always get a perfect test print before printing. So I don't know what is causing the change. Literally, every aspect of the job is the same as when I printed them last week, and the color is off. It's only a slight difference, but enough of one for this customer to notice.
     
  4. GaSouthpaw

    GaSouthpaw Premium Subscriber

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    If they aren't laminated, count on the same customer returning to complain the new ones are scratched, too.
     
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  5. DunbarPG

    DunbarPG Member

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    Even laminate wouldn't have stopped these scratches. There are chunks dug out of the sign.
     
  6. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

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    Rerun the job, laminate and measure. Move on.
     
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  7. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    ^^ THIS ^^
     
  8. DunbarPG

    DunbarPG Member

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    The point of my post was that I can't get the same printer to reprint the same file without a difference.

    I know I messed up by not measuring after cutting them down. Call it habit of trusting my trim marks.

    I know laminate protects vinyl from scratching, I suggested it, I was told no. Again, just an employee, and I don't speak directly to the customer.
    (These are more than faint scratches in ink, some spots are deep, nearly completely through the foamcore)

    This order is irrelevant, I would mainly just like some ideas as to why my print would look different, with the same everything, only a week later. Because I see that creating some problems in the future.
     
  9. GaSouthpaw

    GaSouthpaw Premium Subscriber

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    As Canuck pointed out, the inks' color gamuts are different between the machines that were used. If the machines haven't been calibrated and profiled, you're always going to have trouble with matching your previous prints without quite a bit of trial and error. If you can convince your boss to invest in a spectrophotometer, you'll eliminate probably 97% of these types of problem.
     
  10. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    The point some of us, you're still gonna hafta bite the bullet and do the job entirely over, if you can't color match what you just did a week ago.

    Are you sure, you're using the same profiles, speed, vinyl roll or the exact same media ?? I've heard of slight color shifts due to replacing a cartridge or substituting a vinyl roll, but you are saying..... Nothing Has Changed ??

    Makes no difference if you are the boss, an employee, wrong measurements scratches, gouges or broken in half. Ya f*cked something up and trying to figure it out is wasting more time than just doing a few little signs over again. Tell your boss, penny wise, pound foolish isn't a good business theory.

    Not to make ya upset, but we can make an exact duplicate almost anytime of the year and up to a few years out. Other than fading or whatnot, our colors are generally right on. There is some form of human error in your calculations.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
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  11. DunbarPG

    DunbarPG Member

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    I'm using the same machine. Both prints are coming from the SP540V. The ones from last week and the ones I am printing now.

    My point of reiterating that I'm just an employee, was that I can't just add laminate because I think I should. It has to be approved by the owner and customer and added to the job ticket. I have changed an ink cartridge since then, but that is the only difference. Same roll of media...Still had the job in my print queue, Same settings. That's exactly why I am asking the question Gino, I have never seen this problem.

    I am reprinting the order now, and the SP540V is very slow, that's the only reason I have time to talk about it on here. I have no arguments about my mistake in size.
    These are 48" x 67.75" signs, and replacing 4 of them that just need 1/8" trimmed off is annoying, but I am doing it. Would just like to figure out what is causing the color change.

    (I fully own the fact that they were oversized. However, I did not scratch these signs. The scratches were from being thrown into a truck by the customer after their trade show was over. It is said and done, and nothing to be discussed. I just seriously doubt many other shops or industries for that matter, replace products damaged by the customer, after they were already used. Especially when they refused laminate and had no warranty. Now we are replacing 6 instead of just 2, because the printer can't replicate it's own prints.)
     
  12. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    If it is a good customer as you said then time is money and you wasted it already trying to figure out something that you cannot figure out. Reprint the #6 and use your brain for something else. Printing machines are like that, there have been countless posts on here about people having different colors on wraps printing tiles that have to go next to each other. Yours could be ink starvation caused by blocked tubes or you need new head parts.
     
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  13. GaSouthpaw

    GaSouthpaw Premium Subscriber

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    In your original post, you said "They printed these signs on an Epson and spray mounted the prints to the foamcore. When I came along, they discarded the spray mounting booth, and I do all sign work off of the Roland." That's where my confusion came from. My mistake.
    Even when all the print variables are identical- besides all the mechanical variables that could cause the changes, printers that aren't profiled can give different colors from one day to the next. Even one hour to the next, or one minute to the next. It doesn't make sense, I know, but I've seen it happen on every single printer I've ever run in the past 20-odd years, with the exception of the Gerber Edge and that was only when using spot colors. And even the spot colors could screw up if something went wrong with the printer.
    To get consistent results, printers and media have to be profiled. You have to do it for each media you use, too. And when they have been and they start to "drift", they have to be profiled again. Bosses hate it, because they expect the printer they paid $20 or $30K for to work perfectly, every time, forever- but that's not reality, and you're going to spend a lot of time trying to replicate colors from one print to the other otherwise. I wish I didn't know that from experience, but I've worked the employers who want to take the short cut and it sucks!
    My current shop profiles media and printers- and we have little to no issues with consistent colors. And when they do show up, it's 98% operator error.
     
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  14. VanderJ

    VanderJ Take two Dampers and Call me in the Morning

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    If people actually took this advice, half of the posts on Signs101 wouldn't' exist. I know for some it's a price issue but there seems to be this idea that the whole profiling thing is a scam or something. Profiling is the single most ignored aspect of this industry that I have seen. The second most ignored aspect is maintenance which if people just got in to a routine, another quarter of the posts on Signs101 would be gone.
     
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  15. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    +1 routine maintenance & profiling, and your prints should come out the same everytime. I'd bet money that between first running the job and then reprinting you had some clogged/un-clogged nozzles in your printhead along the way. even a 1% difference in nozzle test prints could yield a visible difference in a finished print.

    Also, some media tends to shrink after printing, and stretch during application, so always measure-twice & cut once before handing off to a customer that is relying on set dimensions.

    and for the love of God, laminate everything for anyone you'd enjoy return business from. Material cost is nothing compared to your shop rate for production/install. why not protect yourself from potential failures, even if it costs you an extra <$1psf?
     
  16. Oroscoe

    Oroscoe Member

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    Reprint the entire job making sure to laminate. You customer will appreciate that you went the extra mile to make things right (or should). Be sure to point out that the new signs do not have the cuts and gouges like the ones he brought back. Inform him that you are more than willing to correct any discrepancies that you made but returning product in that condition warrants charging to reproduce the job. Ask him to bring in the frames so that you fit the signs and he can bring up any concerns at that time. A little bit of headache up front but will save a lot of frustration on the back.
     
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  17. printhog

    printhog Member

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    You haven't addressed HOW you got these to the wrong size. If you had precut the sheet before mounting then it's your bad. Measure twice cut once.

    If you relied on the old printer to print trim marks it may be out of calibration along the feed axis. Easily can be .125" off from that.

    Rolands use a Media Calibration (which should be called media feed compensation).. it adjusts the feed advance to fine tune overlap. Even a fly's asshair width per pass can add up real quick.

    That can also address your color issue. It will place ink in different screening resulting in color shifts. .

    If your rip has media calibration settings on, they can add or subtract from the machines settings. Further, in re-processing I've seen Onyx and Flexi IGNORE those settings intermittently.. just to **** ya off I guess..

    As for returns from a trade show use with damage by client.. that's a zone my business would never cover... Here's why:

    They used them for the whole show.

    They didn't complain at the time of setup. If the signs went INTO the frames, then they were suitable. You can't claim it doesn't fit if you got it into the thing.

    The only time I'd accept them back was if they DIDN'T fit the frames right then.

    The damage, chunks missing, scratches, etc are clear examples of mishandling and abuse, not defective product. I don't cover goon damage on economy crap.

    Sales should recommend they order more durable product, foam core being the least durable single use media, and require that all returns or claims for adjustment are made prior to the trade show, and all frames are supplied to you for fit and finish.

    It sounds like they had a bad trade show,, were disorganized and disappointed and turned to you for the recovery.

    Now to employee issues.. it's not your concern unless your department's profit/loss is directly tied to your pay or your employment duties on writing. If so, then you need to be able to refuse work that is obviously going to fail, I.e. foam core graphics that large with the intent of being reused, and product going out without laminate.

    The way your print shop people are making these is all wrong for anything but one use, and the client should be made aware that those signs sre one time use and can crap out before they get them up.

    That is between you and your boss. If it were me sign production and media choices should be a decision made by you if it's your responsibility, not by a litho print shop sales rep. They're likely so inexperienced they don't know what to sell the client.

    its only a freaking sign!
     
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  18. SIGNTIME

    SIGNTIME Active Member

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    Did you reload the job in your rip before reprinting? If so then it was most likely something you did, maybe switched to rgb mode in your drawing program when you where in cmyk the first time or visversa.
     
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  19. Sign Works

    Sign Works Very Active Member

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    You state that no changes were made between the first prints and the reprints then in a later post you state that ink cartridges were changed after first prints were done, that right there is a variable (change) now isn't it? Isn't it possible that that is your culprit in the color shift?
     
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  20. DunbarPG

    DunbarPG Member

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    "If you relied on the old printer to print trim marks it may be out of calibration along the feed axis. Easily can be .125" off from that."

    I think you nailed it Printhog. I trusted the trim marks from the old printer the first time around, and after double checking size in the file and reprinting, the trim marks were still an 1/8 oversized.

    This customer has gotten these signs on foamcore for years. I personally see no point in laminating a print going on foamcore for indoor use, the print is going to hold up longer than the substrate even without laminate.

    You are exactly right about the salesmen as well, they are all new to graphics/sign work. The shop wasn't even aware of being able to print/laminate/cut vinyl....They laminated very few things before I got here, and don't want to add laminate and change a customers price on re-orders just off of my suggestion.

    I never thought the change of ink cartridge in a versacamm would change my color, I have changed cartridges mid-print before and never noticed a difference. I was printing from the same file still in my print queue from before. The job is out the door now, was just here trying to get some suggestions on battling this in the future.

    Thanks everyone for your help.
     
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