Home > color management, Pre-Press, software > Screen Printers nightmare – think it over before its too late

Screen Printers nightmare – think it over before its too late

The heat is on.

Yes, slowly and steadily, I am getting a feel of it and insecurity that in future the traditional line film which we so call Positives used to expose the image on screen will not be so popular and may also be difficult to procure.

Even if its available maybe it would be as precious and expensive as diamonds, ha ha…

Do anyone today are buying a roll camera or shoots a transparency or also do you find any camera consumable retailers stocks reel/roll???

So what’s the matter with conventional line films…

Let me explain, that from last several years many offset printers are moving towards CTP because of few reasons:

1. Cost of film not involved hence reduces printing cost.
2. Avoids storage of films.
3. Does not require vacuum exposing machine to expose plates.
4. Its economical for short runs.

As offset printers and service providers moves towards CTP technology, its but obvious that the overall consumption will definitely go down keeping in mind that offset printers consumes more conventional line films than screen printers.

Even today screen printing industry’s major share is within industrial segment, which does not consume conventional line films as compared to offset printers because in screen printing many jobs are repeated due to that reason screen printers stores their films.

If one compares offset v/s screen’s film consumption, definitely offset rules over in qty and numbers.

As CTP taking over the market in offset, companies producing films are either forced to stop or reduce their conventional line films production.

In case the manufacturers reduce the production than I am sure the prices of conventional films will shoot up. But if they stop than CTS (Computer to Screen) or Ink Jet Films using Ink Jet printers is the only option left for screen printer. Even if cost of SILVER goes up conventional film becomes costly.

Already many service providers have stop their production and are selling their image setters because of this reason. Many have said that the cost of running the image setter is becoming expensive due to spares they get from manufacturers or market are expensive mainly due to non availability of spares because the quantity of image setters production have gone down and are not a priority product for those producers.

Taking all this into consideration I have installed EPSON 9900 Ink Jet printer from TECHNOVA to make my positives at DMI and I would use TECHNOVA’s POSIJET films and their advance proprietary “POLIRIP” software to output my halftone films.

Actually I have been using it and experimenting their product since couple of months and I can definitely say at DMI we have successfully screen printed up to 100 LPI using complete ink jet system to make positive.

By installing the RIP in house, not only I got full control on my output which was difficult earlier, but I am now able to choose suitable LPI, ANGLES and DOT SHAPE to avoid moire pattern in screen printing.

Installing RIP’s in-house I am able to linearize complete process right from film output to color management.

POLIRIP’s advance features allows me not only to compensate my films dot gain curves with the use of transmission densitometer but it also allows me to compensate my press dot gain curves easily to maintain my color as per proof. Using POLIRIP and EPSON 9900 I am able to achieve good solid density over 3.1 and it is adjustable to suite as per my requirement.

Linearization helps me to get full control on my printed jobs and POLIRIP does not bother me to open my files first in Photoshop etc. to compensate dot gain using curves or convert color profiles. In fact the software is very easy to operate. It allows me to dump any CDR, AI, PDF, EPS, PS, JPEG, TIFF, PSD files directly into POLIRIP.

To linearize my process I just have to make a setup file properly there after POLIRIP’s advance feature automatically compensates film dot gain curve, press dot gain and converts the original files color profile to our DMI’s set color profile suitable for particular ink and substrate and then it output the films considering all these parameters.

I think if the RIP does the color management than we can save lot of time and avoid errors. Thanks to the TECHNOVA’s advance technology POLIRIP.

As an institute we have geared up, as a screen printer have you?

Think it over before its too late…

Take care & good night


  1. murtaza kapadia
    March 27, 2010 at 11:52 am

    respected sir,am a big admirer of yours because of ur tremendous grip on technical aspects.if u can throw some light on epson 9900 for processing in technical.one more question as ctp has come, do screen has come with where u can process the screen directly for print .thanx


    • March 27, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      Currently Epson Ink Jet Printers are an immediate substitute of imagesetter for halftone positives. If you want to know the processing in details than you should attend our DMI’s workshop where on the first day we show the complete processing till output and screen printing process color live. So this is the best option to know this system in technical or you can download the Epson printers catalogue from Epson’s website or even you can call Technova, they can also give you the trails and demo of the printer and their POLIRIP.

      Secondly I am not sure in India any service bureau has still installed a computer to screen (CTS) to supply ready to print screens to screen printer because currently the cost of machine works out to be expensive, but I am sure that in future as the qty of computer to screen machine will go up due to increase in demand the price of these machines may become affordable.

      So wait and watch.

      Also thanks for your respect and affection.

      Take care and have a nice day…

      Yours friendly,



  2. March 29, 2010 at 6:10 am

    You are beginning to experience in India what is happening all over the world. You are quite right to note the trend to CTP on the litho side and the diminishing availability of silver based film imagesetters.

    The trend is clear and even the current Epson solution is only an intermediary step before the full utilization of Computer-To-Screen (CTS.) As you noted in your excellent post, the main reason for going CTP for litho is the elimination of the film step. In fact, we see the reduction from 14 steps in the workflow to 6 steps. This not only saves labor and consumables costs, but greatly speeds up the time to press. In our case, when we compare the film workflow to CTS the time to produce a screen is 38 minutes vs 6 minutes for CTS.

    For your readers who would like to find out more about CTS workflow, several of my articles that have been published in the US Screen Printing Magazine can be viewed at http://www.screenweb.com


  3. March 29, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Bhargav, I must agree with Mark, the move to CTP in the litho industry is moving fast. I believe that as the price continues to fall on the Computer-To-Screen (CTS) more and more screenprinters will go this route, saving the cost of consumables and especially the labor costs. The times savings, which are substantial can simply be a matter of movement in the start and delivery time for now, but as we move closer to a complete Printing-On-Demand process, which time savings will become more of an issue.

    I am much older than you or Mark and can remember the advent of the paper plates for offset. I owned a service bureau in Austin, Texas, the first in that city and eventually shut down due to the advent of larger and more powerful personal printers that became available at a very low cost. We were hurt seriously by the advent of the paper plates of the litho industry and saw the need for film negatives disappear almost overnight. We sold the equipment off to a large screenprinter who wanted the two Linotronic-Hell imagesetters for his own inhouse use.

    I also well remember the time when we used Kodak’s PMT process. In fact, I was one of the beta testers for the PMT system while working at Harte-Hanks newspaper many years ago. I was saddened to see the demise of PMT and how many stat cameras were literally thrown away at the time.

    Time marches on and I am actually quite content with the constant improvement in output devices and innovations that bring about higher quality, faster production, and lower costs.


  4. Michel Caza
    March 29, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    I am not so scared about this problem… not yet!
    Incidentally, the films made for lines and halftones are named « lith » films.

    One reason is that actually the best CTP (offset) reaches 175 Lpi. Some printers in Europe still need 200, 300 Lpi and also stochastic (FM etc.) such as 14µ Crystal Raster, Scitex, Dainippon, etc.
    Same constraints in electronic printing (PCB, chips, RFID, etc.). For those applications and for some more years the films will have to be used due to the precision of

    In screen-printing, CST offers 150 lines. For me, it is not sufficient as I still want to print 300 Lpi and stochastic much finer that the ones used by screen printers in general.

    The day when both CTS and CTP will offer those resolutions, it’s clear that the lith films will disappear… and the problem will be for the small company to buy those equipments. Fortunately , as the use will develop, the prices will fall down – as in CTP for offset.

    In many fields where screen-printing is used such as textile and sign, printers use ink-jetted films on specially prepared polyester sheets from Agfa or Autotype. If I generally consider the resolution is – in general – not sufficient, I agree that Epson 9900 is the best of this insufficient technology.
    As you say, Bhargav, the limit to obtain a relatively good halftone film remains at 100 Lpi. I fully agree, but for me it remains, if not the panacea, a good « transitory step ».

    Michel Caza


  5. prashant
    January 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    bhargav bhai

    it has been pleasure to read and share your techknow .. we are manufacturer of ceramic decal. and as you said the cost of positives having more impact on price of stickers. we are thinking to have our own positive print machine. is it worth to use epson 9900 for multicolour jobs? please let us know


    • January 12, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      First of all we have problems with EPSON to get dot finer than 100 LPI they claim 120 LPI but we have noticed some quality issues. For we have restricted not to use EPSON above 100 LPI positives. Epson work well with graphics printer especially when they want 65 or 85 LPI. But usually in Ceramics most of our customers print using 120 LPI where EPSON would be failure. Secondly in Ceramics most often the jobs are repeated so they preserve their positives. In EPSON the life of positives is a major issue and Graphics and advertising most printers generally do not have repetition as you have in Ceramics. This problem also occurs mainly due to water content/humidity in Emulsions. Say for example you coat the screen and expose in few hours not taking care of humidity in the screens (improper drying of emulsion before exposing) then there are chances that the black ink of positive will transfer easily on the emulsion, so you will have to make another film. These problems typically occur when people do not use proper drying method for screen and even if you have screen dryer we have found that EPSON positives works well when you coat today and expose tomorrow i.e. keep minimum of 24 hours before exposing. So we follow now this system in our DMI that we coat today and expose min. 24 hours to max 30 days. So question to be asked to yourself are you ready to do all this otherwise I would prefer you to invest on image setter to output conventional lithe films or go for computer to screen (Direct Expose through Lazer)




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