For 34 years, JB Theders has churned out screen prints, growing his business, FaceFirst Screen Printing, by providing screen prints for surf shops in and around San Juan Capistrano, CA, and for swim teams around the world. Theders grew his business to a 40-employee operation, turning out custom designs on embroidery machines, automatic screen printing presses and more.
For smaller, 2- to 3-color screen prints, Theders relied on manual machines; printing larger, multicolor jobs were performed on one of the three larger automatic presses. After years of trying to convince his press operators that an upgrade from the manual presses to automatic machines was needed, Theders decided to make the leap.
“We got tired of losing money on two manual machines,” Theders said. “We were looking at everything, and it came down to ‘Why do we put jobs on those machines just to lose money?’”
Theders knew just the kind of automatic press he wanted to buy: an Anatol Titan.
“As I was looking to get new ones, I always kept my eyes on the Anatol,” he said. “When I saw them at trade shows, they just always seemed to make sense.”
Theders said he was drawn to the small footprint, which was essential for his shop, as well as to the superior micro-registration capabilities.
He purchased his first Titan in the fall of 2017, and he immediately knew he made the right choice. He liked his Titan so much, in fact, that when his Anatol rep called a few months later to let him know Anatol was bringing another Titan to the area for a trade show, Theders jumped at the opportunity to purchase a second press.
“The first one went in, and it immediately made sense,” Theders said. “We could get a high-quality print out of it and also mimic some of the manual (operations) that the press operators were used to.”
One feature that has been especially helpful is the Step Back function, which allows the press operator to reverse the direction of the carousel so you can return a pallet to its previous station. In Theders’ shop, the function is often used when a white underbase is being printed; the underbase is laid down, the shirt is rotated to the flash station, then rotated back to the screen for another layer of white ink. This saves the shop from having to create, register and reclaim an additional screen.
“We can short small jobs one screen and get the job done quickly,” Theders said.
Adding Anatol Titan presses to the FaceFirst shop has had a major impact on the shop’s productivity, allowing the shop to keep up with demand by enabling them to produce prints faster.
“Where a manual printer could only do 60 pieces in an hour, now they can do 200 in an hour — a single operator,” Theders said. “We had a huge year last year, and if we hadn’t gotten those machines in here, we would have been in trouble. We would have had to say no to a lot of work. With those machines in here, we got it all done easily.”
The ease of use of the Titans even changed the minds of FaceFirst’s manual press operators, who had long resisted switching to automatic screen printing presses.
“They love them,” Theders said. “Now they totally love them and admit that it was crazy that they were for years and years just printing manually, and now they can get three times the work done in a day, twice as easily. They’re very happy with them now.”
Theders said he would recommend purchasing a Titan to any screen printer who needs to add an automatic press to his or her screen printing shop.
“I would recommend the whole thing. There’s no downside at all. I’m really happy with everything,” Theders said. “I would buy another one. They work great.
“They work as well as our $160,000 MHM™… If the business is there to keep the machine running, it’s a no brainer to switch to the Anatol.”