On Wednesday 19th October a few of us visited a professional printers to see what it was like, how it all worked and to ask loads of questions. The printers we visited was Team, which is based in Beeston, on the out skirts of Leeds city centre. It was extremely useful to look around a professional printers, it gave me a bigger insight of how it all works and the many processes designs have to go through before they hit the printers and after.
This was the room where they organised their print jobs. Each space was for a different machine, including printers and finishings. It looked very complicated, with a lot going on.
This machine cost around £300,000! It makes the design plates ready for printing. The machine is installed with a stack of aliminium sheets which are then exposed with the designs, they are then passed through another part which takes away the excess layer, which then leaves behind the finished, exposed plate ready to fix into the printer ready to print.
This is the finished plate ready for print.
This is where the plate comes out when its ready to go.
If there is more than one plate going through, the machine flips the plate over to form a pile, which they remove every time a plate is finished.
A massive stack of scratch cards!
These huge piles of stock are completed prints, either waiting to be finished or delivered to the client.
This is the end section of a litho printer, the stack will eventually be to the floor.
This is the starting end of a litho printer.
This is a massive stack of stock ready for printing. There must be thousands of pieces there!
The machine has a sucking system, which is so fast! The suction ensures that the stock stays aligned before it hits the printer. If it isnt perfectly aligned before it goes through, it wont come out perfectly at the other end.
The inks are placed in seperate compartments, which each have their own printing plate to print out the CMYK. This is obviously Cian.
These are the rollers which roll the ink onto the plate, which then rolls over the stock. The pointing hand is showing where the exposed plate is and how it is rolled around and fixed.
This small station is where a client will check their prints on a single print out before going ahead with the full print run. This allows them to check the colour on the stock and see how it looks. This particular print in the photo was going to change stock because the stock soaked up a lot of ink and it made the colours dull (this is why you have to be very precise when choosing stock).
The machine also checks the colour balance and alignment.
This machine is a big guilletine. The blades looked lethal, it can cut through a pretty substantial amount of paper at a time. It has lasers to detect if someone still has their hands near the blade before it cuts the paper.
This machine was folding cards, its incredible how fast most of these machines work, it was doing hundreds per minute!
This is the bay where all the final prints are stocked before they head off back to the client.
The ladies in the background are hand making book packaging for the JD Annual Report, they were very quick and did it perfectly. The other ladies were folding leaflets.
These swatch books were made for a paper company to give out to potential clients. Each swatch was hand stuck to the booklet! There was hundreds!
Some more swatch books for a paper company with lots of lovely finishings.
These are stencils for diecutting, each one is hand made specifically to the shape needed for the design. These are made at a specialist company, but Team complete the diecutting in house.
The diecutting machine at work.
This is the foiling machine and probably my favourite machine. The foil is on a roll and is heat pressed to each card. Its just amazing watching the machine pick up the card and position it and then foil it and stack it the other side.
These are the leftovers after foiling, you can see the parts of the design that were foil blocked.
Just a small part of the huge collection of foils they hold.
This room was heaven! It was full of beautiful packaging, each one was so special and was perfect. They used all sorts of packaging nets and print finishings! LUSH!
This is the inside of one of their HP Digital printers, they were huge!
And this is a teenie, tiny book, so cute! :)
After visiting the printers and having a look around to see how it all works, I really respect printers! They have a pretty complex job to do and so much stuff to remember. The more I learn about print the more I get excited and slightly geeky!