One of the most frequently asked questions we get is "Why do you have +/- 10% overruns and underruns"? Screen printing is a process that requires many steps to complete your finished signs and decals. Unlike digital printing, running additional copies after the print run is completed cannot be done without considerable expense.
Each color requires a separate run through the printers and UV dryers. The sheets have to be lined up perfectly on each pass through the printers. Once printed, lamination is usually applied. The lamination process requires the freshly printed sheets to be run through high pressure rollers. Once the lamination is applied the sheet are either shear cut or die cut.
We are very good at what we do. However, anywhere in the process, sheets can be damaged, scratched, bent, smeared, wrinkled, misaligned or miscut. Sheets are constantly being inspected throughout the process. Any defects found, are discarded. Therefore, we usually print 10% more than the base order amount. This allows for the defects to be discarded and still meet the base order amount. On occasion we may have to discard more than the 10%, leaving us with an under-run. In any event, you are only charged for the number of signs or decals that are actually shipped.
We regularly get requests to expedite orders. We have customers that, for whatever reason, wait until they run out of product to place an order. The standard lead time is approximately 4 weeks. Orders are put into production as soon as the order is approved and paid. There really is no way to speed up the process. To EXPEDITE an order would require us to place that order ahead of other customers that were already in line. We cannot treat our customers that way. Not even for additional fees. The key is to place your order BEFORE YOU RUN OUT!
If needed, we can help you. If you need us to send you a reminder or call to check on your inventory levels, just let us know, when you place your order. We can follow up with you on a regular basis to check your inventory status and place that order in a timely manner. We are here to help!
We manufacture a custom product. We are not pulling standard “widgets” off the shelf and sending them to our customers. Unless you are purchasing a generic stock sign, our product is specifically tailored to the customer who ordered it. Once the job enters the production stage, a job specific screens are produced, aluminum, plastic or vinyl is sheeted (cut) to fit the specific job. At this point the sheets are sent to the printers. Once the printing has started, the process is beyond recall. If a customer does not follow through with pickup and/or payment, all of the labor and material is lost. The custom finished product has no value to anyone else and cannot be repurposed. The only value retained is the scrap value, which is minute. Therefore, all custom printing orders must be prepaid before they can be put into production.
We do employ an in-house graphic “Layout Artist” on our staff. Once you have placed a new order or revision, as part of our service, we will provide up to three “layout proofs” per product, at no additional charge. This is not a free service unless an order has been placed. This service is included as part of the cost of manufacturing your product. However, we will not provide any artwork without the order being placed first. We do not provide “layout proofs” separate from an order, not even for an additional fee. If the product requires more than three “layout proofs” there could be an additional “art charge”.
We do require a signed final proof for all new products and revisions of previously printed products. Your signs and decals will not go into production without a signed final proof. Our usually production lead time is approximately 4 weeks from the time we receive the signed proof back in our office. Waiting for the signed proof to be returned is total dead time and does delay the whole process.
Screen-printing is a complex process that requires many steps to complete the product. We manufacture a custom product that is tailored to each of our customer’s needs. If a copy error occurs on the front end of the process, it does not matter how well the product was manufactured. It could be a complete loss. We do not want to produce nor does the customer want to pay for a product that is not usable. There is no repurposing a product that is printed wrong! It will simply become scrap.
Only the customer knows what they want the end product to look like. We need to insure that the customer is getting what they want. This requires that the customer approves and signs off on the final proof of the product that will be printed. It is a rude awaking to find out that you have the wrong phone number on your signs or decals, when you open the boxes, at your facility!
It is your responsibility to provide the art for your product. Screen-printing requires a “Vector Art File” in the appropriate format. We accept “Adobe Illustrator with Outlines”, “Unlocked PDF” and “EPS Files”. We will lay out your art to best fit the product you order. An order must be placed before any “layout proofs” will be provided. We will provide up to three “layout proofs” per product, at no additional charge. If the product requires more than three “layout proofs” there could be an additional “art charge”.
No, we do not provide “Design Art” services. We will not design your logo or produce the graphic art for your product. You will have to provide us with the “Vector Art File” in the appropriate format. Using your art, we will work with you to arrange the best layout for your signs or decals. As part of our service, we include up to three “layout proofs” for each product ordered, at no additional charge. This service is part of any new order or revision that is placed. However, we do not provide layout proofs unless an order has been placed.
This is a multifaceted question. There are many factors that affect the manufacturing lead time for your product. In today’s high tech society, people are used to being able to see an image and instantly print it off on their “Inkjet” and “Laser” printers. Digital printing and screen-printing are totally different processes. Digital printing is quicker and cheaper to produce for small print runs, but the inks and materials do not hold up for long in an exterior environment. For the maximum life of a sign or decal, screen-printing is the process to use.
We screen-print a high quality custom product with many steps involved in that process. We are not pulling standard “widgets” off the shelf and sending them to our customers. Unless you are purchasing a generic stock sign, our product is specifically tailored to the customer who ordered it. When the proof has been approved by the customer, it is put into production. Specific jobs are printed in the order in which they are received into the production department.
Once the job enters the production stage, job specific screens are produced, aluminum, plastic or vinyl is sheeted (cut) to fit the specific job. At this point the sheets are sent to the printers. Each color requires a separate run through the printers and UV dryers. The sheets have to be lined up perfectly on each pass through the printers. Once printed, lamination is usually applied. The lamination process requires the printed sheets to be run through high pressure rollers. After the lamination is applied the sheet may be die cut or shear cut. When this is completed, the product proceeds to shipping. Each piece is inspected, counted, packaged and then shipped.
The manufacturing process entails many steps. Each of these steps takes time. We have multiple jobs in different stages of production, at all times. There is no way to speed up a specific step or a specific job. Everything is done in order. The key in dealing with the lead time is to place your order BEFORE YOU RUN OUT!
Screen printing is a process that requires multiple steps and processes to produce your signs and decals. Many of these steps take place before any printing is even done. There are setup procedures that must take place regardless of how many signs or decals are being printed. This includes “layout art”, film charges, producing screens and other procedures. There is a cost associated with all these steps and procedures. Those costs are the same whether you print one sign or 5,000 signs. These cost have to be applied to the product being produced.
To simplify the example, we will arbitrarily us a $100 setup cost. If the setup cost was $100, and you were printing one sign, you would have to add the total $100 to the actual manufacturing cost of printing the one sign. That means the one sign would cost $100 plus the actual cost of material and labor to print the sign. Who would want to pay $100 + for just one sign? If on the other hand you printed 100 signs, the $100 would be spread out over 100 signs. This would increase the cost of each sign by only $1. The more signs ordered, the less the setup costs will affect the “per sign” cost. Using the same example, if you order 500 signs, then the additional costs added to each sign would only be 20 cents per sign. From a cost standpoint, it only make financial sense to order a minimum of 100. There is an economy of scale that does take place up to about 10,000 pieces. After that, the additional per piece cost is under 1 cent.
Screen printing, also commonly known as “silk-screening”, is a printing technique where ink is applied directly to the surface to be printed (substrate). The image to be printed is photographically transferred to a very fine fabric made of polyester or other fine mesh (the screen) such that the non-printing areas are blocked off and the fabric serves as a stencil. The ink is wiped across the screen to pass through the unblocked pores and reach the printing surface. For each color to be printed a separate screen is prepared and the process is repeated. It is more suitable for non-porous surfaces (such as plastic, vinyl and metals).
Screen printing is a relatively low cost solution for larger print runs. Screen printing is a laborious process that requires a lot of preparation before the first sheet is printed. This makes screen printing not an economical solution for small print runs. For screen printing, the price per unit decreases as you produce more prints. This is due to the fact that once the screen is made and set up, it can be used to run as many prints as needed. This is why we have a minimum of 50 pieces for plastic and aluminum signs and 100 pieces for decals.
Want to know more about screen printing for signs and decals? Call us today and we will be happy to show you our full range of services.
Screen printing provides a number of benefits, including quality, durability and versatility, making it a more feasible alternative to other types of printing processes. Screen printing allows for heavier ink coverage, producing a longer lasting superior image quality and tends to be more forgiving for each type of material on which the ink is applied. It is versatile enough to work with most any material, with a quality that would be difficult to match even with costlier printing processes.
Screen printing is a more cost-effective option for outdoor signs and decals than most other types of printing processes. This is especially true with larger printing jobs, wherein the cost per print actually lessens as more prints are made. For projects that require a large number of prints, screen printing is the most feasible choice.
Screen printing offers a wide range of options with regard to the size of the final print. From the smallest designs to the largest, screen printing has proven to be quite effective at producing good results.
For most orders, actual shipping cost are based on the final weight and box sizes. Due to potential overruns and underruns, the accrual costs cannot be calculated until the order is ready to ship. We do not charge the shipping costs to your account until the product is ready to ship. All shipping costs must be prepaid prior to the product being shipped.
As stated on our “Quote Forms” and our “Sales Orders” shipping costs are not included in our pricing. If necessary, we can provide estimates of these costs, upon request.
If you are paying by credit card, this is accomplished by charging the credit card on file or an alternate credit card provided by you. If you are paying by check, then the shipping costs are estimated using the full 10% overrun amount which is added to the initial order cost. Once the product is ready to ship, the actual shipping cost are applied to the prepaid amount. If there is an overpayment, it will be refunded to you as a credit to your credit card or by check.
At the time your order is placed, it does not include shipping costs or any overrun amounts. Due to the nature of the printing process, we do not know if an overrun or an underrun of you product will occur. On most production runs, this usually is plus or minus 10%. Until the order is ready to ship, we do not know the exact number of items that will actually ship. The shipping costs are based on weight and box sizes. These costs cannot be calculated until the order is ready to ship. The shipping charges and if applicable, the overrun amount is charged to your credit card when the product is shipped. Orders are not shipped until these charges have been paid. If an underrun occurs, a credit or refund check will be issued. In any event, you only pay for the product that is actually shipped.
We manufacture your signs and decals from SCRATCH! We bring in coils of aluminum or large sheets of plastic or vinyl and turn them into your signs and decals. There are a large number of steps required to produce your end product and they are all done at our La Habra facility. We do not send your order to another company or country to be produced. You signs and decals are manufactured right here in La Habra, CA, USA!