Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Proud to be recognized

Wow, what a whirlwind.  We are already to chestnuts roasting and new year's parties.  Where did the year go?  Some years we reflect on the solidity of the market or of certain product lines and are thankful for the consistency of our long term customer base.  This year, we are thankful for all of this plus the new markets that have expanded our customer base.  While our Brown machine line has stayed consistent and strong, the BrownDigital of machinery and software has opened new possibilities.  But, what additional benefits are derived from the expansion of our business?

MMI Awards banquet 

Brown Manufacturing was recognized as the 2019 Business Partner of the year for Mid Michigan Industries.  
MMI provides jobs and training for individuals with barriers to employment in six Michigan counties and is a leading employer in the central Michigan area. We are also one of the largest community rehabilitation providers in Michigan.
Brown was responsible for full time employment of 11 individuals with disabilities.  These people manufactured and assembled small components of the machines in the Brown and BrownDigital lines.

So while we are excited to share our product line advancements and our new marketing directives, we are most proud of how we help our community.  In the first week of June we donate machinery and prepared screens to the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts.  This is the largest all volunteer festival in the country and it celebrates all of the art forms that are in our community.  This partnership with Brown has lasted 20+ years and we look forward to 2020.

At Thanksgiving, the Brown family members participate in the Grand Rapids Turkey Trot.  Like others in the country, this one is a fundraiser for our inter-city public schools.  This annual fundraiser has over 4000 participants and proceeds benefit after school athletics for about 6,000 K-12 students.  In 2018 more than $80,000 was raised.

It is a primary element of the our family business that we cross train workers so that they benefit from acquiring new skills.  All of our staff build multiple types of machines and learn everything from assembly to welding, powder coating to screen making, building maintenance to machine crating.  It is this diversity of skills and appreciation of hard work that keeps people at Brown for years.

We look forward to the growth of 2020 and the opportunities that will allow Brown to give back to  our community and our people.

For more information on our product line, please look at Brown Mfg and BrownDigital.  Let us know any questions you have about or products or these local events.

Friday, November 15, 2019

DTG curing for community printers

BrownDigital offers some amazing machines for large volume DTG producers.  Between the FireFly, the DragonAir Griffin curing systems and the Synergy pretreated production capacity is high and expandable.  These systems provide high quality finished goods as well as volume which have made them mainstays in these shops.

But what is available for the smaller or community producer who needs to be faster than a heat press allows?  Or one who would like to increase their quality to satisfy a higher lever customer?  BrownDigital offers curing systems for those DTG printers as well.

DragonAir Fire

DAF-3611 DragonAir Fire (aka Black Dragon)
The DragonAir Fire is offered in a 36" x 11' configuration.  Standard features include:

  • DragonAir Core Technology
  • TRX software for control of all curing variables 
  • Adjustable heater height
  • Adjustable convection air
  • Digital belt speed control
  • 8" heat bump with adjustable temperature control

DragonAir Core Technology 
The DragonAir Core for this system features air that circulates within the heated chamber and is scrubbed with filters.  The water vapor is exhausted from the chamber to increase the cure rate.  Adjustable heaters allows for different substrates and different ink density.

TRX Main Running Screen
The software feature on the Fire is one that sets this apart.  
  • Storage of up to 36 production profiles
  • Touchscreen adjustment of all variables of garment cure
  • Analytics of production costs 
  • Storage of up to 18 maintenance tasks
  • On board diagnostics
  • much, much  more

DragonAir Crimson

DAC 2406 DragonAir Crimson
This baby dragon is new to the BrownDigital product line.  Offered with a 24" wide by 6' long belt, it can be expanded by adding additional chamber.   It offers the main feature of DragonAir Core Technology at a cost that is appropriate for smaller shops.  Hot air is recirculated through the chamber to cure both DTG inks and pretreat.  

Crimson Features include:
  • DragonAir Core Technology
  • Digital temperature control
  • 4" heat bump with temperature adjustment
  • Adjustable convection air

Is DTG for you?

So if you have one digital printer or many BrownDigital can improve your production flow with a curing system that is within your price range, production requirements and space restrictions.  Contact us to talk about which system is best for your bottom line.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

DTG curing systems are different, and need to be.

Not your grandpa's t-shirt dryer

Digital printing is a specialty market requiring a new way of thinking.  Rapid production of low volume, high quality graphics is necessary to produce high profits.  The DTG printing process is different than traditional decorating.  The chemistry of the inks and pretreat require new curing temperatures and times.  They also need a different type of cure.  Traditional IR heat with a little moving air just doesn't do the job.  This technology is designed for plastisol and, though it can be used for DTG, it will not give the best results.

So what's different?

Let's start with pretreat.  What is it?  

Pretreat is a sticky liquid that mattes the fibers into the garment to create a flat, smooth surface for printing.  Most pretreat needs to be sprayed onto the garment and then heat pressed to get the best results.  This process is slow but effective.  Conveyor ovens, if designed for the job, offer a faster process with fewer operators.  Pretreat needs heat and air.  Evaporation is essential.  So, convection heat is optimal.  The garment still needs a 3 second press after exiting the oven to flatten the fibers.  What a convection oven offers is less standing around for the operator.

Now the ink.  Water based and white under base passes make this more complicated.

Water based inks need lots of air flow and time in the chamber.  Water is slow to evaporate and the chamber needs to evacuate the water without pulling out the heat.  Temperatures are lower than plastisol but times are longer.  Traditional ovens boil the water out with direct heat and evacuate the air with standard exhaust.  

The white under base, which can have multiple passes also needs to get the water evacuated.  This increases the time in chamber but the top color passes cannot handle the extra heat, so convection air is the optimal solution as the garment temperature stays more stable.

Why not use what you have?

You can.  And we sell ovens that will work if that is your best plan.  Yes, the TRX, the UltraSierra X-Series 2, the AirBlazer and the AirPony can cure DTG inks.  And they are a lower cost than ovens specific to DTG.  So if budget is a concern, our years of experience can help you use plastisol technology for your digital prints.  

However, we do not recommend them.  

Why?  You say.  No, it's not because we want to sell higher priced stuff.  It is because the technology to cure plastisol inks is not the same as the tech to cure digital inks.  Traditional ovens, like the ones we have been building for over 30 years, are great at what they are designed for.  They ramp the temperature of the garment up as they radiate heat directly onto the ink.  The ink does not need to evaporate, it needs to cure.  Plastisol inks, generally, require a cure at 320°F through the ink film.  As long as the full ink film gets to this temperature without scorching the garment, you can go as hot and fast as possible.  Once the plastisol hits temp, it becomes a solid sheet of plastic that is adhered to the garment.  So air is a nice feature to reduce hot spots in the oven or to force air into specialty inks like puff.  However, it is not needed for cure.


Gas ovens are a possibility for both ink types.  They are convection systems that sit the garment in hot air and evacuate smoke and steam.  However, in order to get to temperature, they need to be large.  Most shops do not have the space or budget for these ovens.  They also require a large power supply in addition to the natural gas connection.  In order for the garment to get to temperature quickly, they often have an IR bump in the beginning of the chamber and this requires 240V power.

So what do you look for?

Heated air, and lots of it that is contained within a closed system that scrubs and reuses it.  Another necessity is a quick blast of heat to bring the garment up to temperature quickly.  The fast temp bump will get the garment hot before it sits in the heated air which will speed up the cure time.  Additionally, that heat needs to stay in the chamber.  So cool external walls will keep the chamber hotter and the work environment cooler.

Digital temperature controls are essential.  Since garments are in the cure chamber for a longer duration than traditional curing, maintaining the top temperature will speed up cure and avoid scorching.  Digital controls maintain chamber temperature ±7°F and this will alleviate any cure concerns.  

Belt speeds that are slower than traditional plastisol cures are warranted as well.  Our pulse generators allow for belt speeds as slow as 99 minutes in the chamber.  Plastisol cures are 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  DTG needs 2 to 6 minutes depending on passes and the amount of pretreat.  


DragonAir Core Technology

The DragonAir line of curing systems is designed for digital, water-based, plastisol, polyester, and specialty printing for fast paced, high production shops.  The DragonAir Core Technology™ ensures consistent and complete curing on all garments.

The new Crimson Dragon is designed for smaller shops with singular DTG devices.  The offer DragonAir Core Technology as well as digital temperature control in a compact footprint.  Priced for community printers, this allows a screen print shop to install a small oven just for DTG.  

The DragonAir Fire is for larger DTG producers who need additional belt space and are looking for higher end controls.  They feature TRX software for full control and storage of up to 18 separate garment profiles.

DragonAir Griffin systems are for full DTG producers.  Expandable and utilizing TRX software technology, these dragons give flexibility and durability for the ever growing digital market.

The FireFly is patented technology that goes one step beyond the Dragon line.  This revolutionary system will allow any type of garment to cure through any belt at any time.  Thermal imaging cameras monitor and adjust for each garment as it travels through the oven.

Not your grandpa's t-shirt oven because these are not printed on your grandpa's carousel.  Advancements in the industry push all of use to create new technologies to accommodate.  Look at your production facility and see if old school is still best.  It may be, or not.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Preparing for new equipment installation

Growth and expansion in a business is driven by the arrival or hope of new customers and orders.  This justifies the cost of new equipment in all levels, whether a new exposure system that allows for faster screen production, a new DTG to expand into new markets or a new automatic press for quicker turn around.  This expansion is exciting and trying times and there are some tips for preparation of installation of the new equipment.

What to expect upon machinery arrival.

Depending upon what is coming, a machine may be installed by your own staff or it may need a technician.  However, one this is certain.  It will arrive on a truck and it will be heavy.  It will need planning for the unload and connection.  What exactly does that mean ?  It means understanding how to get the product off the truck, having a door and path wide enough for the equipment to reach its final location, having utilities and services ready and finally having people on hand to help.

If it is coming on a commercial carrier.

Common carriers, those are the semi-trucks seen on the road, then accommodations need to be made to get the machinery off of the dock high truck and onto your production floor.  If your location has a dock, then a pallet-jack is typically sufficient to unload from the truck.  If your location does not have a dock, then there are a couple of options.  First, a lift gate can be requested.  These are an additional cost and additional delivery time.  Also, if the crate is larger than a 4' x 4' area, then a lift gate will not be large enough to handle the skid.  Second, a fork truck can be rented and the crates can be lifted from the back of the truck to the ground.  This rental is typically the same cost as a lift gate.  As a final option, a roll back tow truck can meet the carrier and move the crate onto their bed and then lower it to the ground.  This is typically economical and most roll back drivers are trained in this process.

Once the crate is in the shop, equipment must be available to remove the equipment from the crate.  This will require people or a fork truck.  Smaller machinery can often be lifted with a few people but anything like an embroidery machine or an automatic press will require a fork truck to place the machine into position.

If it is being delivered by the manufacturer or distributor.

Typically, a driver for a manufacturer or distributor will have a plan for getting machinery to the ground and often a plan for placing it into position.  However, that installer will need people to help.  One person cannot move machinery without additional muscle.

What should be ready at your location?

An installers time is limited, so to get the best use of that time the shop should be completely ready for the product to install.  This means that in addition to having a way to move the machinery from the truck to the shop floor, there needs to be a path large enough for this to happen.  This could required a ramp up some stairs.  It could require a door removed or widened.  It could require that other machinery in the shop be shut down and moved temporarily.  All of this need to be accomplished before the truck arrives.

The next item on the list is the arranging of services and utilities.  If this machine requires water, air, electricity or gas, or a drain then then need to be set in advance.  New ovens, compressors and automatic presses require high voltage and amperage to operate so have those lines available in advance.  Compressor air lines should be run before machinery is placed and if the compressor is the new addition, check to see how water will be released from it during maintenance.

Training is a thing that takes concentration.

If the installer is also the trainer, then the staff needs to be prepared to stop production and pay attention.  This will reduce issues in the long term and make everything smoother.  If the machine is a set up and go, then your staff will still need time to experiment with setting that are best for you production.  Exposure times are calculated differently for every shop and emulsion and only recommendations can be offered from the manufacturer.  Curing times and temperatures change in each shop, so be prepared to adjust setting and check every job.  Set up for manual and auto presses is different with every press.  So learning this will take time.

If you are expecting a new printer or embroidery system, you should have artwork prepared for testing.  We do not recommend single color jobs as these do not offer enough challenges to learn the process.  But we do not recommend a high end job that you have never printed before.  Learning a new machine and a new process at the same time will cause frustration and additional down time.  So solid 3 to 4 color work is best.

Also, do not hold jobs in house waiting for machinery to arrive.  Learning a new process with a deadline looming is stressful and leads to trouble.  If you have jobs in house that this equipment was purchased for, then either send it out for now or print it how you would have before.  Yes, we understand that quick ROI is the hope, but frustration of learning is not going to help.  Keep the stress down anyway possible.

This is exciting, right?

Yes, it is.  New business and learning new skills is always exciting.  Set yourself up for smooth transitions and take breath.  Remember the steps.  Be prepared for the truck.  Be prepared with utilities and services.  Be prepared to learn.  Don't overload your shop with production delivery dates on new stuff.  And have some fun with your new toys.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Is it time for an automatic press or a DTG?

Decisions, decisions.

If you have the time to check out our web sites you will see that Brown Manufacturing offers a wide range of decorating machinery.  We build small screen printing machines, automatic screen printing machines and large production machines for direct to garment printing.  So, with that diversity we get to talk with a wide range of customers and this gives us a unique perspective on the industry.  The question of when to invest in different production machines is posed from all levels of decorators.

Manual and DTG to automatic.  When is the right time?

When chatting with a small community decorator, the talk of adding an automatic or DTG printer is common. Typically, a shop starts with one DTG system and a heat press or a manual screen print set up.  Sometimes a combination of the two.  This configuration is designed to be a one-man show with low rent and no employees and sometimes, no paycheck.  As this business becomes more successful the need for higher volume pushes for the choice of hiring employees or buying automated equipment.  There are some screen printing production numbers that make it clear that adding an automated press is more profitable and less stressful than adding an employee.

35 hours manual vs 8.5 hours auto

Based on these numbers, a one man shop can produce a weeks manual work in one day.  This allows for growth without added payroll or time off if you are worn out.

ElectraPrint Junior
In some cases it is a DTG shop turning to screen printing.  This conversation is typically driven by volume.  The production rate of a DTG machine is lower than a manual print shop but the time constraints are similar.  So the question is whether each run justifies a different type or printing, or are the jobs still low run but there are a lot more of them.  If the runs are longer, then an automatic screen printer is the better investment.  A GTX produces 25-30 shirts per hour.  Any run that is more than 20 shirts could be set up and printed in less time on either a manual or an automatic press.  Yes, there is the screen printing mess and labor question.  However, the labor is the same.  One operator per machine.  Also, with the pretreat and the multiple steps in a DTG print, the mess is not that different. 

If the problem is with more short run jobs, then additional DTG machines should be considered.  With that in mind, how that DTG production flow is managed should also be studied.  There may be more involved than just the printer.  Look at the curing systems, the pretreat application systems and the artwork management processes.  There are products that make all of these tasks more efficient.

When do you add DTG?

Synergy Pretreat and FireFly Curing System
That questions is more about adding a profit center than changing production styles.  If your business has potential in the one-off or customization market, then a DTG adds another dimension to your offerings.  If your screen printing presses are full with longer runs, then a DTG for the short runs is an option to consider.  These systems can be run with less skilled operators and require little working space.  They are serious profit centers when used for the correct market.

At what cost?

Automatic screen printing set ups and digital printing set ups are similar in price.  Each will run from $25,000 to $35,000 once you include all the details.  Yes you can buy less expensive systems, but you do get what you pay for.  This capital investment comes with one strong benefit.  With proper maintenance, it shows up every day for work.  And, without any additional fuss, it allows for growth in either volume or product lines.  A positive investment in either direction.

Let us know when you look at the expansion.  We can help you cost our your options and we look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Have you greased me today?

ElectraPrint Stealth Series control panel
This little welcome message reminds customers that maintenance on all machinery is necessary.  The more moving parts on a machine, the higher the maintenance level.  The question for each shop is, "Do I need a technician or can we do this ourselves?"

Most maintenance is simple cleaning, lubrication or plug and play parts.  So, to answer that question, you can definitely do it in-house.  Higher end machine calibration can often be done in-house if the person charged with the task is patient, detailed and uninterrupted.  The information to calibrate all of the Brown machines can be found in the manuals that were provided originally and much of it is located on our YouTube page or on the video tab within our web site of the particular machine model.

You're not asking the right question.

The real question is not, should we do it in-house, but do we want to?  And how much does it cost to have someone else do it?

There is some simple math to figure this out.

The price above makes it appear that doing it in house is always the best way.  However, let's consider a few things.
  • If the production staff is doing maintenance on one machine, is anything else being produced.
  • Is that staff capable of adjusting a machine into its best working condition or just mess with it for a few hours and call it good.
  • Can your shop wait for a scheduled visit or are repairs necessary at this moment.  
  • Is that staff member trained to work with the tools necessary.
A trained technician can accomplish quite a few things in a short amount of time. What a trained technician cannot do is guarantee that a machine will not malfunction during your busy times.  Just like your car, they can do the 60,000 mile check up but you could still blow a tire.
  • Recalibrate a press for registration.
  • Replace and repair electronics in ovens and automatic presses
  • Update software on certain products
  • Change filters, lubricate and adjust all mechanical operations.
The decision is a matter of perceived value.  Some would say that if the printer is okay printing on what they have, then in-house is fine.  Others would want a tech to keep everything as close to original spec as possible.  Both options have value and good reasoning.

Generally, manual presses and small ovens do not justify the expense of a tech unless they are already in the building working on something else.  Once the machine has a higher level of mechanized parts, a technician every few years is a good investment.  As an example, for an automatic printer:

8 hours time (includes travel) = $1200
Every 3 years $1200/3 = $400 per year
Machine life 12 years so 4 x $400 = $1600 for the life of the machine

In our thinking, $1600 is an excellent investment in a press that is a mainstay of your production.  And, once you have invested in the travel time, have the tech work on the small stuff too.

One final note, the true question for older machinery is whether maintenance or repair still has value or should you trade up?  That question is an additional conversation in cost analysis.  Next time....

Monday, March 11, 2019

Being prepared is a profitable idea

Dreaded downtime

Downtime due to machinery break down is a killer for the bottom line.  Not only do products not ship, employees are not productive.  This translates into an increased cost of goods and a decrease in revenue.  This is a big problem for both large and small producers.  Small producers, even if they are paying themselves and do not track labor costs have a decrease in revenue and a potential loss of a customer.  Larger companies track worker productivity as it relates to job costs and overhead.  As the ratio changes due to machinery downtime, profits suffer.

The solution for much of this is simple.  First, all production facilities need someone that has an understanding of the maintenance required for all of the machinery on the production floor.  This includes the simple items such as cleaning, lubrication and calibration.  Additionally this person should be handy with tools.  In most cases, these are difficult tools.  Simple wrenches, screwdrivers, wire cutters and a crimping tool, and possibly a multi-meter will do the trick.  

 Additionally, there are always a few items on all machinery that are essential for them to operate and cannot be bypassed.  If your production is reliant on any machine, then having these items in stock is a wise investment.  How much does this cost?  You would be surprised at how little, especially compared to the cost of downtime.

Midline Printer

LED Exposure System
As a suggestion, a manual printer will operate without any inventory readily available.  If they use a gas strut to support a print head, keep in mind that these have a limited life and having them available after about 2 years is a good idea.  These items are about $50 so this is minor.  An exposure unit will need a bulb at the 2 year mark.  So be prepared.  This can cost between $70 and $300 depending on the bulb.  New LED style units will not have this issue.  But a vacuum motor and timer are another part of that unit is essential.  If your exposure unit goes down, are you prepared to not process screens for 3 days?  The entire package of parts should cost less than $350.  

AirPony Dryer
Conveyor ovens are another issue.  If your shop only has one oven, your production hinges on the function of this machine.  Most systems in a conveyor oven can be bypassed to get a production floor moving.  However, the drive system cannot.  So, a drive motor and a motor control would be excellent items to have on hand for any over over 2 years old.  Again, the cost is minimal compared to the impact of zero production.  If you print garments that have a rigid temperature requirement, then stocking temperature controls is also a wise investment.
As for automatic printers, this is all dependent upon which type you are running.  For the ElectraPrint, we recommend a few minor items.  Photo eyes are handy, but typically the press can run with exchanging parts between heads.  With air machines, extra air cylinders are a wise choice.  Though, again, you can borrow from one head to another, having a set of cylinders is smart decision.

All machinery will have wear parts.  Just like a car, oil changes will keep a car going for many miles, but at some point, things need replacing.  Plan ahead, stock a few things and be prepared.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Firefly curing systems for screen printing

Though the FireFly is often paired with our Synergy for DTG production, the system was originally designed for screen print applications.  At the time the product was developed, the athletic printing world was challenged with an influx of polyester garments that had a high level of bleed issues using standard curing technology.  Additionally, water base and discharge printing was on the rise and typical electric ovens did not offer enough air flow to cure these inks effectively.  The FireFly offers unheard of solutions to both of these issues.

Ink manufacturers have developed dyno-gray inks to block dye migration in the polyester garments.  These are pricey and add one more color to many designs.  We have seen one job that appeared to be 2 colors actually be 3, but needed to be printed on an 18 head press to get the best results.  The Firefly allowed for the removal of the dyno-gray because the system is in full control and is responsive of garment temperature throughout the curing chamber.

How does the FireFly do this?  Thermal imaging cameras monitor the temperature of the ink and the garment with constant feedback to the software.  This feedback directs the controls of the quartz heaters to constantly modify their heat to keep the shirt within required parameters.  This control keeps the shirt below the dye migration temperature.

Also, the water based inks and discharge inks require large amounts of air for each garment as well as the solid control of garment temperature.  Air flow within the chamber is specified to each garment and is separate from the heat directed on the garment.  This allows for rapid evacuation of water vapor as well a quick cure of the ink.

Brown is thrilled with the connection of the FireFly in the DTG world.  But we are equally pleased with the long term reliability and curing diversity that the unit has provided our screen print customers.  Multi-variate printing is the mainstay of this system.  And that is the screen print world.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Some maintenance required

As with reading the instruction manual, scheduled maintenance is often overlooked.  We get notifications from our car dealers that things are due.  And, to be honest, who hasn't pushed that oil change a little farther out than recommended.   However, all machinery needs to be properly maintained for optimal and profitable production.  Also, keeping with the car analogy, the ones with crank windows and no AC have fewer systems that need maintaining, right.  So the higher level the machine, the more diligence is required.

Screen print machine maintenance

As an example of basic machinery, like the crank window on a car, manual screen printing presses only need to be clean.   Clean machines mean clean shirts for he end customer.  The use of spray adhesive is the biggest factor in a screen print shop.  The spray sticks to the machines, and the lint from the garments stick to the spray.  Dirt, dust and ink stick to the mess as well.  Some shops think this is "charming", like a cotton candy coating.  But, no, it's not.  The best solution, long term is to switch to platen glue that is spread on.  It lasts longer on press and it doesn't travel and stick anywhere it is not supposed to.

The spray adhesive also affects conveyor ovens.  The spray can mist into the drive system and the control panels.  Dirt on the drive train and the belt can easily be transferred to the final garments.  Spray adhesive and lint will stick to the fans of the control panel and reduce or eliminate air flow to the electrical components causing them to overheat and fail.  As the complexity of electronic components increases, the chance of overheat is higher.  This can cause drive train system failure, heat control system failure and complete machine shut down.  So, again, get rid of the spray and clean the machine.  Easy solutions to potentially big problems.

Automatic printers are higher level machines and require more maintenance.  The Brown ElectraPrint has a suggested maintenance that is listed in it's manual.  These items begin, like all others, with cleaning filters and chains.  The biggest part of this machine is the grease.  There are grease locations in each head and in the base. For air driven machines, the maintenance increases due to the air compressor equipment and the cylinders.  Check your manual for the full list and you will probably see "cleaning" at the top.

DTG auxiliary machine maintenance

BrownDigital, with the development of the Synergy and FireFly systems, is heavily involved in the DTG production market.  While this segment of the industry has different challenges, the solutions are often the same.  Additionally, these machines are higher level and required more scheduled maintenance items with more diligence.  

The FireFly is similar to conventional curing systems.  Drive train systems, fans and motors need to be kept clean.  Filter systems and belts for the exhaust scrubbers do have a maintenance schedule, just like the filters on your car.  And if these are not followed, those will fail.  These ovens cure with quartz style heating, so stocking spare bulbs in-house is a good plan to reduce down time.  These also use thermal imaging cameras and touch screen displays.  Higher level parts need additional monitoring for continued reliable production.

For pretreat systems, the complication increases.  There are a lot of moving parts, motors and filters.  Pretreat fluid is sticky and everything it touches needs to be flushed with water or replaced on a regular basis.  There are nozzles, pumps, valves and hosing that water flush cycles need to be run.  There are filter systems for the fluid and for air flow that need regular changing or cleaning.  There is a belting system that needs cleaning due to overspray.  None of this maintenance is difficult, but it is necessary and, in the case of the Synergy, can be preprogrammed to automatically run.  Also, task reminders can be set for any other maintenance item needed.

Final notes

Maintenance is often a low level priority for small businesses.  Run everything until there is an issue and then scramble until things are repaired.  For some items, that is okay.  However, like a restaurant that needs to wash everything every day, a production facility needs to be cleaned.  

Today a long standing customer stopped in for a part for a machine from the late 1980s.  Yes, the 1980s.  It was spotless.  And, since we build a similar unit today, he still runs this one.  We did laugh that he was not a profit center for us, since he never needs to buy anything but he pointed out that this is what makes his business profitable.  Isn't that what you are in this for?