HI Tech Screen Printing Primer for Management
In today’s universe of high-performance screen printing, achieving success requires paying attention to details as never before. In the Tuesday afternoon session, “Hi-Tech Screen Printing 101 for Management,” Mike Young of Imagetek Consulting International covered many of the specifications and basic principles needed to produce a superior, high-end product consistently and repeatedly.
To make this happen, it must be “engineered from the bottom up,” he acknowledged.
Environmental workplace and print room conditions are one important factor, according to Young. Ideally, screen printers should work with consistent temperatures and humidity, use and change HEPA filters regularly and reduce, if not eliminate, any static electricity in their processes.
Also, printers need someone who understands the chemistry of inks and coatings, determine if those chemistries are compatible with the substrate being used, as well as match color under various lighting conditions.
Addressing quality assurance is another key. “Many screen printers … work by the seat of their pants,” Young said. Managements needs someone who ensures that all shipments meet and exceed expectations of their customers.
Abrading and degreasing, whether reclaiming old screens or prepping new mesh for emulsion, must be done properly, he stated. This is essential to achieve high quality without a loss if work is performed poorly.
Printers must know how to deal with at least 13 fabric features that influence ink deposition, such as material type, total thickness, image resolution and tension levels.
He also discussed several techniques needed to adjust squeegee pressure and speed, as well as floodbar management to bring about more uniform coating and sharpness.
Young also recommended that your company’s screen printing presses be realigned every six months, if not more often. Best practices and standard operating procedures should be documented. And winning accreditation by bodies like ISO shows everyone that your company conforms to a standard set of protocols.