Here is a pic of the digital print station. It’s coming along, but like anything still more to do! We have a few of the digital printers in place and the transfer press all wired up and cookin’.
We used to print in large batches but found that it was better to print just a day or two ahead of schedule. It is our goal to never have raw parts or finished boards sitting on any rack! It does not do our company or our customers any good, so we print tops the day before production and bases 3 days before production. By sticking to this streamlined method it also offers us the flexibility to change the production schedule quickly if we need to.
The reason we do bases 3 days prior to production is so that the white flood coat can properly cure. The white flood coat is an epoxy ink and must cure well enough to ensure a correct chemical bond with the resin used in lay-up.
The sublimation printer prints the image on paper, then we transfer it in the transfer press. Our transfer press is 26 inches wide and 85 inches long, this gives us enough room to transfer snowboards, wakeboards and the occasional ski project. We did make that machine about 8 years ago and it still works like a champ.
The direct printer prints directly on the plastics. It uses a special epoxy ink and we did have to modify a printer to do the job. It took us about 14 months to get it perfected and we ruined too much plastic, but now we could not live without it. As far as I know (because snowboard factories for some reason are super secretive) we are the only domestic factory with direct print capabilities. The Europeans wanted $100K for a system, We figured we could figure it out for much less….We were right.
It’s amazing how much space we have and still it manages to get messy! Keep a look out for updates..