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Strengths Weakness Opportunities And Threats in Screen Printing

August 10, 2011 14 comments

“With advancement taking place at all levels, screen printing has evolved as indispensable and a ‘versatile’ printing process”

I would like to pen down some of my recent thoughts about screen printing in the form of a quick SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of Indian screen printing industry scenario.

STRENGTHS:

Automation and UV technology – One of our valued customers who had 15 manual tables has now as many as 7 semi automatic screen printing machines. There are many screen printers whose business has doubled or tripled over the years ever since they switched over to automation along with UV. So, semi automatic and fully automatic screen printing machines are now making inroads into Indian screen printing industry in a big way.

In the last decade, from a predominantly manual printing process there has been a big shift from manual operations to semi-automatic and now fully automatic printing machines. Going by my own company’s sales performance, there has been steep increase in the number of screen printing machines (and UV curing machines) sold in the last couple of years than it was five to ten years ago. Also, a noteworthy transformation is that there has been quantum leap in the number of visitors to our pavilions at various printing industry exhibitions than it was 5-10 years ago.

That’s because screen printing not only involves low investment which is a big advantage for those wanting to join the screen printing business, but also there has been widespread applications of this versatile process and greater awareness about the immense benefits of and need for automation.

“Quality” improvement: Quality in screen printing seems to have come a long way. Today, with automatic precision machines, it is possible to get a result that years ago would have been a dream. Let the world believe that the screen printing process today is faster, better and cleaner.

New trend – combination of processes: There has been a growing trend of offset printers/packaging companies setting up inhouse screen printing unit instead of outsourcing. There are many digital printers who have set up screen printing units to meet the market demand for ‘total print solution’. Screen Printing is the perfect complement to offset and it works in tandem to help generate more business.

WEAKNESSES

Education – lack of knowledge!

I would say knowledge is the key to success to any business. What’s the use if screen printers have fully automatic screen printing line without having a proper knowledge?

In screen printing industry there is not only lack of ‘knowledge’ but also lack of ‘knowers of knowledge’. Inspire of this drawback, over the years, bravo, our screen printers have made drastic improvements due to their sheer hard work and inclination to learn from self help, by reading technical articles, attending exhibitions, seminars etc.

I think the technical education think tanks in India should really make an immediate analysis of the printing education offered in various institutes which is MINUS “advanced screen printing”, they touch upon only some basics and outdated elements of screen printing… very sad especially when the Indian screen printing is adopting automation in a big way and the need for trained screen printing professionals is shooting up. In the recent past, there has been a growing trend of offset printers embracing screen printing, whereas the printing institutes emphasizes more on offset and other printing technology.

On my part, I am determined to take screen printing education to a greater height through my own institute DMI. I am receiving tremendous response from the industry. What was started as workshops with 8-10 participants today our workshops are always houseful with long queue of waitlisted knowledge seekers.

I had produced and screened a video film ‘Screen on Screen’ in 15 cities few years ago. Following this success, we followed it up with yet another round of all India campaigns (ten) whereby we took our entire Nano Premier League package to show the screen printing process live to printers.

I fully agree with Mr Narendra P of Pragati Press, Hyderabad who recently said that the old mindset ‘screen printing business can easily be started with an investment as low as Rs. 500-1000 to print visiting cards, letterheads, etc, has to change now. That’s because technological development in screen printing has moved much ahead of this thinking. I strongly also agree with his view point that in screen printing every step is a ‘science’. So without learning this ‘science’ nothing can be printed qualitatively. By learning new techniques we can assimilate it in our daily practice.

OPPORUTNITIES:

Applications, unlimited: Screen-printing is a fantastic technology that is used by many industries with so many old, new and not yet discovered applications – both flat (plastics, cloth, metal, thin to thick papers, sunpack/sunboard, rubber, leather, wood, glass, footwears, PCBs, ceramics, etc) and non-flat substrates, by using appropriate machinery and inks. Further, this process is also widely used in packaging, labels, Smart-cards – the list of screen printing application is endless.

Growing trend – Value addition through various UV Special effect inks/varnishes: What was started as Spot UV – matt and gloss – today with the availability of various UV special effects, screen printers have now great chance to excite consumers. The range and variety of effect is extensive and it provides the marketer, print buyer and designer with a number of exciting possibilities.

Use of non-paper Substrates: Continuous advancements and developments in polymer technology, expertise and cost-effective manufacturing, plastic substrates are replacing traditional materials in many fields (environmental conditions apply!). These include : PVC, Polypropylene, HIPS, Lenticular Films, Polycarbonate etc. Polypropylene Sheets are extensively used for blister packaging, cardboard boxes etc. Polypropylene finds application in Disposable Containers, Embossing, Gift Box Making out of clear sheets, Freight Packaging, etc. PVC Sheets and Polypropylene Sheets are the best suited for screen printing. Polypropylene is also preferred by screen printers because of its low density and very economical cost. Similarly, PVC is also widely used by screen printers.

Great shift – Indian screen printers: I still recall what Michel Caza, an international screen printing expert said at the FESPA Munich 2010 Workshop titled “The Future of Screen Printing Goes Through Innovation — A comparison between Western and Asian Countries.” He was of the view that “Graphics and signage are only 20% of screen applications where as 35% lies in textile printing and about 45% in industrial applications.” This clearly sums up the potentials and future of screen printing process.

Screen printers should now take the call: During the presentation at FESPA Munich show, which was focused on the “how European countries are moving towards screen and how in Indian screen printing is moving with the latest trend,” Michel had also mentioned that because of industrial production getting shifted to Asian countries, screen printing is also getting more and more attention in this (Asian) region and that is the advantage for screen printers who are into industrial screen printing such as PCB, membrane switches, etc.

Moreover, even Mike Young’s presentation on “Emerging Technologies” proves that screen printing has a promising future. He sees a great future provided the screen printers in India remove all bottlenecks the major being “clean-room environment in the screen making and printing setup.” That’s because he saw hard working and sincere efforts by Indian screen printers to achieve quality through high level of automation. Mike was also quite optimistic about Indian screen printers. He says that Indian screen printers can face the challenges ahead with determination, enthusiasm, passion and courage.

Participation in Awards competitions – great opportunity to printers:

I have been witnessing a growing number of entries and award winners in two major international competitions – SGIA/ FESPA sponsored besides national competitions such as Screen Print India Award and SPAI-FESPA India and PrintWeek India competitions. That’s not only good but a healthy sign, because ultimately it increases appetite for quality improvement on various counts – Complexity, Image definition, precision and sharpness; Colour appearance, Application of use, Creativity, etc.

Still majority of the printers still hesitate to participate in these competitions due to many reasons.

THREATS:

a) Manual screen printing. If our screen printers are catering to industrial printing they should immediately dump manual screen printing tables as there are strict quality and delivery requirements in industrial segment. I have numerous screen printers who have switched over to automation due to all the side effects of manual screen printing – it is tedious, laborious, time consuming, wastage-ridden. I was told by many international experts that India lags behind several decades in screen printing but it is not too late.

b) Use of poor quality raw materials.

c) Use of Out-dated methods: Wooden frames, nylon white fabric instead of polyester yellow fabric, lack of standardisation in screen making although it is well known fact that screen is the heart of printing.

d) Using solvent although UV available for many applications.

Perhaps due to these reasons there is a growing trend in India that more and more OEMs are now setting up their own screen printing units. For example: Tiles and Ceramic industry, electronic industry, leather industry, garment industry, packaging and offset industry and many more. In these areas they used to earlier outsource their requirement.

Conclusion:

Screen printing process evolved over the years. Today, it offers ample innovation & creativity, thus playing a major role in printing industry because of the availability of advanced screen printing machines, UV technology coupled with availability of innovative special effects inks.

Screen printing is now quicker, cheaper, produces better quality images and offers a number of special applications. But advanced screen printing with high level of automation is not everybody’s cup of tea. Having advanced machines in place is not sufficient to run a profitable screen printing business. There is no profit from the press of a button like an ATM card. There is no short cut. Because not only does the set-up process take considerably longer than other techniques, but being able to truly master printing high quality images using the screen printing process also takes much longer, because there are a number of variables involved.

Today, there exist different systems designed to help the screen printers to achieve better result. But it revolves around the simple concept or standardisation of the entire screen printing process.

The comment made by Prof. Dr. Rajendra Kumar Anayath, Print Media Academy, Chennai – a Heidelberg Initiative during his visit to our stall at Print Pack 2011 New Delhi, is significant: “Bhargav, screen printing today is not what it was 6-7 years ago. With the kind of experiments that you are making at your DMI, it appears to me that it has emerged as a printing process to be reckoned with.”

Bye friends and have a great week…

Bhargav

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Benefits using UV technology in Screen Printing

August 1, 2011 10 comments

Indian screen printing industry is now waking up to the reality of UV-age. More and more screen printers are now adopting UV and dumping the foul smelling solvent which many feel a curse to the screen printing. That’s because it is not only it requires lot of space for drying but also environmentally hazard and wastage is rampant. In some areas such as decals and industrial printing UV has not made successful inroads and still they have to use only solvent inks. However, screen printers, wherever applicable, should consider UV because of its immense benefits. Screen printers should also note that other processes such as offset and digital are also roaring with UV. And I feel UV will soon become the norm for all printing.

Based on my continued experiments and R&D at DMI institute and feedback from customers, I can vouch for UV technology. The future of UV is bright that’s because it offers screen printers with great production advantages over solvent.

Screen printing, though a most versatile printing process, requires different types of drying system, viz, UV curing, IR drying, Hot air drying and most commonly screen printers use whole floor of their printing unit to dry the printed stuffs on racks. Now-a-days, most advanced wicket dryers are available as an online racking-cum-drying system.

With UV technology (UV inks and UV curing system), screen printers can now expect to achieve great deal of efficiency in their work and higher productivity and why not profitability!

The biggest nightmare for screen printers is ink choking in screen during small intervals and even during printing which restricts screen printers to deliver finer details. But now with UV Inks the problem of ink choking up in screens is never a issue.

Interestingly, one of our customers, dealing in industrial printing revealed that he has recovered his investment on table top UV system within one month. In another case, amazingly one of my dealers has stopped his 3-4 decade old business of dealing in solvent inks and screen printing consumables and focussed on promoting and marketing UV inks in a big way along with our Nano-Print and Nano-UV curing machine. That’s because even as a supplier he felt UV is the future.

With UV, benefits unbound:

– Sharp and finer print details

– Environment-friendly than hazardous solvent

– Clean work environment

– Economic print solution

– No ink drying on screen, no choke up hence saves lot of time

– Faster job turn around

– Waste reduction

Faster job turn around: Curing of UV ink happens almost instantly as compared to solvent inks which requires lot of time to dry.

Space saving: Since drying (curing) takes place instantly lot of space otherwise required for putting up drying racks can be saved and use it for other productive use. And UV curing system as such requires less space to position it along with printing machine.

Fine print quality: Vibrant print quality in process color screen printing.

UV – an economical and profitable printing solution: I always highlight in my workshops that screen printer should never compare the face value of UV ink with solvent ink which is cheaper than UV price wise. But look at the output per kg? In solvent, printers end up wasting lot of ink, substrate because very nature of solvent ink, whereas with UV every drop of ink is usable or can be put it back on the tin after printing is over. It is my research that UV ink gives times mileage than solvent ink. When we take into consideration the greater benefits and mileage of UV ink, it is definitely cheaper than solvent overall.

Word of caution: UV, UV, UV do not simply jump on it. Take cautious step instead of burning your hands later. First study the market. Analyze the return on investment. Study the supply sources, talk to them and understand UV better. You should thoroughly understand the whole UV technology, how it works, its technicalities, UV lamp, UV inks, UV curing system, and more importantly its application in relation to different substrates and safety aspects. And our DMI workshop orients screen printers on some of these aspects. But it is better to have regular interaction with printing machine/UV curing machine, UV inks manufacturer/suppliers, substrate suppliers, etc to keep yourself updated on regular basis. And knowledge seeking will definitely ensure you are on right track and deriving maximum benefits from UV.

Food for thoughts!

– Where do I get training?
– How much my machine supplier (both printing machine and UV curing system manufacturer or dealer) know about UV?
– How much UV ink supplier knows about UV?
– How much substrate supplier knows about UV?
– Can all these people are capable of guiding me or giving me training properly
– Yes ink wise you will find UV is priced on higher side. But how do I workout my costing to ensure that I do not charge more than what I used to charge earlier for a job using solvent inks.

If at all the cost works out more how do I convince my customers.

Other than normal UV inks, is there any potential for various UV special effects and how much I know about print finishing and value addition, what is the market for this special segment.

Do I need to employ skilled manpower or the existing manpower could be trained in UV?

Remember half knowledge is dangerous and if you practice based on half knowledge given by half-knowledgeable suppliers you will burn your hands in UV business.

And do not just see the current market but plan yourself and prepare a project report with a long term vision for an economically viable business proposition.

Technically speaking: Since application of UV in screen printing is growing day by day, I strongly recommend that screen printers should make every effort to acquire as much as knowledge in UV inks, printing, UV curing and all related areas.

In UV inks, the liquid coating (printing) gets cured to a solid state after being exposed to UV light. This chemical change is known as ultraviolet (UV) polymerization.

Usually, UV ink consists of:
– Oligomers
– Monomers
– Photoinitators

Besides there are other components such as pigments, stabilizers, flow controls, flatting agents.

I shall touch upon this aspect in my future blogs.

UV lamps: UV curing takes place based on UV radiation activating and UV sensitive chemicals. UV ink contains liquid prepolymers, photo initiators and pigments. As the ink is exposed to UV radiation it gets polymerized instantly into hardness.

UV radiation is facilitated through a UV lamp which releases radiation of about 240-400 nm. UV lamp (bulb and reflector) is fitted in separate modules to facilitate easy handling and replacement whenever needed.

UV lamps in a curing unit must be replaced after a certain number of hours use. Some lamps do last up to 3,000 hours, but replacement and running costs are a consideration.

Mesh and machine: Is there any difficulty hitch in using UV ink on all types of screen printing machines?

There is no problem, but printing with UV ink requires finer and even ink deposition. Therefore it is advisable to use finer mesh say 165 or 180 mesh and you have to buy a UV curing machine as per print area/curing area required.

Substrate: With the availability of UV inks and UV curing machine, screen printing even on most difficult substrates, viz, PVC, metal, polyethylene, foil, polystyrene, PP, ABS, PVC, besides paper is now possible.

Surface tension: or energy level, can best be explained by the understanding that a material with high surface tension levels has a greater degree of cohesive force and intermolecular attraction, and is less adhesive to another material.

For example, water has a surface energy level of around 80-90 dynes/cm2. As water molecules have a great internal attraction to each other, they readily form a bead or droplet.

Non-polar solvents, on the other hand, typically have energy levels between 10-20 dynes and have much greater wetting ability and less tendency to “bead”.

UV ink monomers and oligomers lie between these two extremes at around 30-36 dynes (milliNewtons/M2).

It is an established fact that plastic substrates require a surface tension level of at least 38 to achieve good adhesion. Too low a level will reduce the attraction between the substrate and ink/coating, and will cause reticulation and poor adhesion.

Suppliers of corona discharge treating equipment go so far as to say that a ten (10) dyne difference between substrate and applied coating or ink is required to achieve good results.

Therefore, with UV inks having energy levels of 30-36 dynes, theoretically film treatment levels of 40-46 dynes would be required.

UV screen printing: Devices required. There are many devices to monitor UV output which are passed under the UV source to measure temperature and UV output.

A light sensitive tape is used to gauge the level of absorbed UV when passed under a UV source. This tape changes color as per the intensity of lamp and speed of the conveyor, which is then checked as per calibration chart.

Best of luck…

Bhargav

Factors that influence UV curing

October 30, 2010 10 comments
Grafica's UV Curing Machine

Grafica's UV Curing Machine


Type and color of the substrate

There are substrates and colors that absorb UV more than other ones. They make curing slower. Curing may change depending on the grade of the substrates even though they are of the same kind.

Color of the ink (quality of pigment and influence of color-matching) The pigments that absorb more UV make curing slower. The more these pigments are contained, the slower curing becomes. Therefore, there is a limitation to the density and opacity of UV ink. Curing of matched colors may be poorer than each standard color which is used to make these matched colors. Printers must be careful of such matched colors as the mixture of opaque white plus other dark colors like black and blue.

Thickness of ink film
The thinner the ink film is 10-12 microns, the better curing is. Thicker ink film than 15 microns may result in poor adhesion due to insufficient curing. CLEAR INKS cure even if ink film is thicker than 100 microns.

UV power and integral light
There are two ways to measure curing: UV power and integral light, decided by lamp power and the type of the lamp. UV power plus curing time make the integral light. Integral light changes depending on the number of the lamps and curing time with different conveyor speed.

Although general curing efficiency is measured by the integral light, UV power has more effects to the thickness of the ink film stated in 3-d and inner curing. If UV power is not strong enough, inner curing cannot be improved even if the integral light is increased by more curing time. In this case, lower the height of the lamp or strengthen the lamp power.

Temperature of UV dryer and pre-heating
Environmental temperature of UV irradiation gives much influence to curing. The higher the temperature is, the better curing is. For this reason, pre-heating before UV irradiation improves curing, which leads to good adhesion.

High Value Packaging Through Screen Printing – Introducing The Cake Basket

October 14, 2010 11 comments

This time I have come back after several weeks but excuse should be granted because several innovative developments are taking place in GRAFICA & DMI at a rapid pace just to make sure the screen printing industry is always ahead with innovations in demand. The way our entire team is moving forward with great innovative ideas running in their minds everyday. That’s great!

Sometimes I feel its great to have such highly motivated team because ideas does not come only by paying huge salaries. To run a great organization you need full dedicated and highly inspired team.

So let me first begin with my 3 days workshop at DMI recently concluded on the 9th Oct 2010.

 

DMI Workshop Participants - 7 to 9 October 2010

DMI Workshop Participants - 7 to 9 October 2010

 

In this workshop I had all new participants. That’s great because it proves the eagerness of the industry wanting to learn new techniques in screen printing especially how to achieve value addition by incorporating special effects, many other also calls it print finishing. In-fact DMI’s workshop are very famous in teaching new techniques in screen printing, special effect UV inks and varnish, value addition print finishing every thing through screen printing.

We shall be posting the full report of this workshop along with comments from the participants soon on http://www.graficaindia.com

This time again we had a superb creative packaging completely screen printed with various special effects. I am sure no other process can duplicate the same effects which the power of screen can do. So do not underestimate screen printing process. It can deliver fruits if you go nuts.

Let me introduce you to my CAKE BASKET.

 

The Cake Basket - Tasty Teasers

The Cake Basket - Tasty Teasers

 

 

The Cake Basket - Tasty Teasers

The Cake Basket - Tasty Teasers

 

 

The Cake Basket - Opening The Secret

The Cake Basket - Opening The Secret

 

This cake basket was screen printed on a thick foil laminated 350 GSM paper board to get stiffness and rigidity. So we first began with CMYK screen printing using UV inks on the foil directly. Most of you must be thinking why we are doing most of our developments on foil, well its currently difficult to print on an offset because of the ink drying issues. Either one need UV offset system to print on a foil sheet. So if you can comfortably screen print halftones above 100 lines per inch than a screen printer has an added advantages to get such creative output at the same time one is not depended on other printing process especially when the quantities are not very high.

 

Glitter Effects

Glitter Effects

 

Oh, I am off the track. So I was explaining you how I screen printed this box, yes, so first we screen printed the fusion art image with CMYK – UV inks with 100 LPI halftone dots. There after we over printed the high gloss varnish for getting a glossy effect on the box. There after one by one all special effect inks and varnish were screen printed like Matt, Bubble, Coral, Wrinkle, Golden Abrasive, Glitters, Thick Gloss Emboss (Ticky) on some parts of the flower, Orange Metallic Inks was used for the our GRAFICA & DMI Logos, Copper Color Pearl Ink was screen printed inside the handle, finally some spots was left for micro embossing effect that completed the whole idea of this modern CAKE BASKET. With such stunning ideas one can make very high value packaging for all needs.

 

Coral & Reflective (Micro Embossing) Effect

Coral & Reflective (Micro Embossing) Effect

 

 

Wrinkle Effect

Wrinkle Effect

 

 

3D Embossing Effect (Ticky) - Screen Printed with 150 Micron Thick Film

3D Embossing Effect (Ticky) - Screen Printed with 150 Micron Thick Film

 

Wanna learn more about special effects in screen printing register in my next workshop as wedding season is near so this time I am eager to create exclusive wedding card theme with many more special effects as I use to do in all my workshops.

Let me be honest that in India GRAFICA & DMI has played a very big role in the development of the screen printing industry especially in print finishing, special effects screen printing and value addition packaging. Don’t you feel?

To view complete Photo Gallery of this workshop CLICK HERE

 

Live Demo of The Cake Basket during DMI's Workshop

Live Demo of The Cake Basket during DMI's Workshop

 

Nano-Premier League (NPL) Road Shows at Nagpur & Indore

October 14, 2010 2 comments

After my six successful NANO-PREMIER LEAGUE (NPL) Road Shows which I believe this is the World’s first of its kind campaign on advanced screen printing process & technology” which I started from June 2010 onwards.

I had two more wonderful experiences last week. Let me share with you.

Two new NPL Road Shows first at Indore on 30th September 2010 and second at Nagpur on 2nd October 2010, on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, we also remember him as a Father of the Nation.

The first show was arranged on 30th September 2010 in Hotel Fortune Landmark, Indore, Madhya Pradesh with a houseful participation even on the curfew day, the day when the country was under tremendous pressure due to Ayodhya Verdict.

 

NPL Road Show @ Hotel Fortune Landmark, Indore, MP

NPL Road Show @ Hotel Fortune Landmark, Indore, MP

 

Since Grafica’s road shows are always very thrilling to printers especially when they get to see lot of new creativity during our shows because we always go with varieties and creative samples. So by any chance printers hardly avoid to miss our road show.

So far, Grafica sold over 275 NANO-PRINT and 25 NANO-PREMIER LEAGUE as the despatch of NPL just began few weeks ago. The orders of NPL will cross over a century very soon. Hence it’s but obvious to have customers all over the country.

 

Ravi Patidar, Naturo Graphics, Indore

Ravi Patidar, Naturo Graphics, Indore

 

So in Indore we had Ravi Patidar of Naturo Graphics who produces textile transfers and was quite honest to share his experience about NANO-PRINT in front of all the participants. There were couple of participants who had attended my previous workshops at DMI. They too were kind enough to share their experiences about DMI Institute and our workshop programs.

 

Mukund Karia, Mukund Enterprises, Indore

Mukund Karia, Mukund Enterprises, Indore

 

One of the veteran dealer in Indore selling screen printing materials, Mukund Karia was very helpful to my team in making the Indore event a success even on the day of curfew.

Being a supplier of screen printing consumables Mukund Karia also felt the need to extend his support to promote Grafica’s NANO-PREMIER LEAGUE as there is rampant manual screen printing culture in and around Indore.

At the end incognito I salute for the sheer enthusiasm of printers in Indore who made it a point to attend my presentation and live demo despite all odds.

From Indore, I travelled down to Nagpur, which is also known as “The Orange City” on 1st October 2010. Since my second program was in Nagpur was on 2nd October I had plenty of time to write new articles and update them on our blog which I hope you must have read by now. If not then check out our Technical Articles

This second houseful show in Nagpur was arranged in Hotel Pride International. Very close to the airport.

 

NPL Road Show @ Hotel Pride International, Nagpur, MH

NPL Road Show @ Hotel Pride International, Nagpur, MH

 

By the way I was not new to these cities since I had earlier organized screening of my educative film  “Screen on Screen” A film of advance screen printing process two years ago and some of the participants were already familiar with us and knew that if its Grafica it must be something interesting and serious. The response we received from the printers of Nagpur was overwhelming.

During my presentation, I invited many Grafica customer’s who were present during this show to share their valuable experience with Grafica. In-fact I was touched by the great feelings expressed by all of them who not only shared their experience about Grafica’s machines but also showered good wishes and praises about my institute DMI. Since some of them had attended my workshops in the past hence were kind enough to share honestly in front of the audience.

Frankly speaking all our NPL Road Shows are quite expensive first of all to organize in a good and decent hotels, take the entire team of 15 people to organize this show in a short span of time, arranging hotel rooms for everyone, transport the machines for demo, unload it and install, thereafter decorate for few hour, again dismantle, load and transport back to factory or move ahead to the next destination, over an above transport cost of the machine and travel cost of the entire team.

But I am not hesitated over the expense because I am sure the day is not far that all our effort will bring fruits to the entire screen printing industry in India and my dream to convert all manual screen printers towards automation will never only remain a dream.

I am thankful all our customers and participants for giving us their valuable time and to make this a memorable event.

To see complete photo gallery of our NPL Road Show click any name of the city mentioned below

INDORENAGPUR

Finally, I highly appreciate my team for their hard work and dedication in making all NPL Road Shows a grand success.

 

Team Grafica

Team Grafica

 

I learnt an unusual idea from Bhargav to earn millions

September 12, 2010 8 comments

I was thrilled to hear this comment from one of the participants during my recent workshop on 19 to 21 August 2010 at DMI (Click here to view the photo gallery).

Bhargav Mistry at the recent workshop at DMI

Bhargav Mistry at the recent workshop at DMI

Participants at DMI attentively listening to Bhargav's presentation

Participants at DMI attentively listening to Bhargav's presentation

This time in my workshop at DMI the subject was to integrate process color screen printing with value addition especially on PP flute board commonly known in India as Sunpack.

I see lots of school & college going boys and girls have one portfolio bag for keeping their drawing and project work. Even my daughter has two bags. But all her friends including my daughter has a standard black color bag.

The idea of making portfolio bag on Sunpack strike my mind once when I went to drop my daughter at her school I saw not only my daughter but almost all her friends had some fancy stickers or wordings or paintings done on the boring black color standard bag because currently there are no options for the colorful youth.

In that case I thought its a good idea for companies to market their products like jeans, t-sirts, cosmetics etc. targeting youth. This way they can market their products every efficiently because the youth have more impact of such creative ideas and concept.

Also till today many screen printers prints on Flute boards (SunPack) day and night for making danglers, POP with cutouts but till today no one has thought exploring various other unique possibilities on SunPack mostly in packaging to generate more revenues and stay ahead of competition.

So in the recent workshop at DMI I demonstrated how to produce such high value PP flute bags with special effects. The name of the job was “JUMPING JEANS”. When it comes to special effect many printers only think of commonly used Spot UV (Gloss, Matt) and other varnishes on offset printed jobs and wedding cards.

DMI's creative bag screen printed on Sunpack (PP)

DMI's creative bag screen printed on Sunpack (PP)

I had ordered this material duly CORONA treated from the manufacturer to print directly with UV Inks specially developed for PP substrate to give better adhesion. While screen printing with special UV Inks for PP, I experienced poor adhesion on the substrate. Later, I discovered the problem was due to old stock. This required re-treatment of CORONA but since I do not have the CORONA treatment facility at DMI, I screen printed a special transparent base coat to utilize the same stock.

Once you apply this base coat you can there after use any type of UV Inks or if you want to avoid the base coat in order to reduce one more printing operation then you may use a CORONA treatment machine to treat the material immediately before printing. This machine is a good investment for any printer who use UV Inks on plastics. Its also useful for offset printers too e.g. they can pass all their non-treated sheets and later stack on the offset press to print with UV inks for better adhesion.

Please note that even though you use CORONA treated substrates you need to use a specific UV Inks for that particular substrate. But there are special base coats for each substrate and once applied through roller coating or screen printing machine you can thereafter use any standard UV Inks.

I screen printed this transparent base specially developed for PP using a 120 mesh with a soft 65-90-65 shore hardness, triple durometer PU squeegee.

There after I screen printed complete image on 180 mesh count using 100 LPI fine dot screen because this bag will be viewed closely.

Once the screen printing was over, I printed abrasive varnish using 77 mesh count on a jeans texture to give the real feeling of the material.

DMI's creative bag screen printed on Sunpack (PP)

DMI's creative bag screen printed on Sunpack (PP)

The front image was over printed with gloss varnish to increase the aesthetics using 165 mesh count.

On front and back of the bag I printed a strip of golden glitter to give a sparking effect. The glitter varnish was printed on a 24 mesh count.

On the rear side “Jumping Jeans” title with a stylish font over the Jeans texture was screen printed using bubble varnish using 77 mesh count to give a bubbling effect.

On the top and bottom portion I printed with wrinkle varnish to give a nice leather kind effect using 77 mesh count. It’s important that if you want to get a wrinkle textures you need a special UV Lamp.

By the was at Grafica, we also supply wrinkle lamp system along with our UV dryers as an optional.

The Grafica & DMI logos were screen printed with special metallic orange ink using 120 mesh count.

DMI's creative bag screen printed on Sunpack (PP)

DMI's creative bag screen printed on Sunpack (PP)

On both the sides the enclosures were printed with golden pearl inks using 77 mesh. A UV matt varnish was overprinted on the golden pearl ink to give a water mark effect using 180 mesh.

The complete job was standardized using 65-90-65 shore hardness PU squeegee rubber because of the uneven surface of the flute.

VERY IMPORTANT: We pulled the squeegee parallel in the direction of the flutes because pulling across the flutes will dramatically increase the possibility of skin collapse between the flutes. This occurs because as the material is heated by the UV light it softens. If the squeegee is traveling with the flutes, it will be supported by all the flutes decreasing the likelihood of skin collapse. We also kept our squeegee pressure as low as possible to avoid crushing of the substrate.

There after we fabricated the bag to make the final product.

This job was screen printed live with various special effect during our recent workshop at DMI on 19 to 21 August 2010.

Since last two session M. P. Raghav Rao, GM, Technical & Manufacturing of FujiFilm Sericol India Pvt. Ltd. has already associated with me in my workshop to talk about last trends in Ink technology.

Raghav Rao with Bhargav Mistry

Raghav Rao with Bhargav Mistry

This time we had a special appearance from Adobe System India Private Limited, Akhil Kuruppan (Regional Sales Manager – West, Creative Business) & Rajesh Patil (Manager – Creative Solutions). Adobe already one of the sponsors of DMI’s educational activities for design software support. So in this workshop upon my request they both came to see what content I cover up in my workshop as far as Photoshop and Illustrator is concern. Rajesh Patil who is also one of the GIPT mumbai student with an experience over a decade in pre-press and design softwares will be joining me in some of my fourth coming workshops at DMI. He will mainly focus of Adobe Creative Suites and topics related to printing technology.

L to R: Bhargav Mistry, Akhil Kuruppan & Rajesh Patil

L to R: Bhargav Mistry, Akhil Kuruppan & Rajesh Patil

In our next job workshop you will be able to see more creative ideas on packaging with special effects. As the wedding season begins we are also creating a unique wedding box with cards inside never seen anywhere… because unusual screen printing happens only at DMI…

So to learn more and earn more register for my next workshop at DMI…

For registration log on to http://www.graficaindia.com

Role of advanced screen printing in packaging

September 8, 2010 7 comments

Hi Folks,

Recently I was invited by “Modern Packaging & Design Magazine” which is published by Infomedia 18 Limited to write an article on the role of advance screen printing in packaging as a guest columnist.

Many of you might have read my article if you are receiving their magazine, but if you have not read till now then here’s it…

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TECHNICAL ARTICLE, By Bhargav Mistry, MD, Grafica Flextronica & DMI
Published in Magazine “Modern Packaging & Design” Vol. 6, No. 1 | Jul-Aug 2010
(Copyrights remains with the publisher)

Screen printing process evolved over the years. Today, it offers ample innovation & creativity, thus playing a major role in packaging because of the availability of advanced screen printing machines, UV technology coupled with availability of innovative special effects inks.

Screen printing is a simple yet attractive process. The main reason is that in screen printing, the purpose and the art is to transfer something, almost anything more or less liquid through a screen!

It harnesses the natural phenomena of mechanical movement, flow and the interaction of liquids and solids. In screen printing, it is possible to attain controlled film thickness up to 300 micron. Besides, the printing medium – ink – can be almost any material that can be suspended in a fluid and which has a particle size that is ideally one third of a mesh opening.

Also, the visual impact that screen printing process can create is simply marvelous. The durability of the inks, the vibrancy of the colours, especially considering the harsh outdoor weather conditions for outdoor applications (sunlight, rain, snow, wind, etc) and its vast flexibility, all contribute to its unique capability. Screen printing is possible with any ‘semi-liquid’ product (various inks and dyes) on a number of rigid, semi rigid or soft substrates. Thus, these characteristics make it the most versatile printing process available.

Advantages of screen printing process

* High rub and scratch resistance, which is mainly required in industrial printing

* Vibrant colour

* Due to availability of high quality screen printing inks with better light fast pigments, 3-5 years of outdoor life for any kind of applications can be achieved

* Wide range of substrates of various thickness, size and shapes can be printed easily

* Good ink film and mechanical stability allows to screen print on complicated and rigid substrates.

* Knowledge and process calibration provides high dimensional stability

* Screen printing enables to achieve a degree of flexibility that is unavailable in other printing process

* Flexibility of short runs to large industrial volumes

* Inks are available as per application

* Possible to print on fragile matters

Advanced printing technology

Quality in screen printing seems to have come a long way. Today, with automatic precision machines, it is possible to get a result that years ago would have been a dream.  In the last decade, from a predominantly manual printing process there has been a big shift from manual operations to semi-automatic and NOW fully automatic printing machines. There are more numbers of screen printing machines sold today than it was five to ten years ago  because it not only involves low investment which is a big advantage for those wanting to join the screen printing business, there is also scope for creativity. The screen printing technology today is faster, better and cleaner.

Despite any type of screen printing press can be used (including manual and semi-automatic), the best press for that kind of work remains for me the cylinder press with automatic feeding, for reason quite often combination with offset, of speed, productivity and quality of result. And, for the same above reasons, the UV technology is also the best available one in the present and the future, both for technical and environmental reasons.

UV Curing depends upon the type of UV ink of varnish and of the thickness of the deposit: it is useful to know that in UV systems, a varnish even thick of several mm, will cure easily and instantly. For example, for metallic inks or some other printed chemicals, it have to be tested and set at very different speed and UV light intensity.

Complementary role

Screen-printing is a fantastic technology that is used by many industries with so many old, new and not yet discovered applications – both flat (plastics, cloth, metal, thin to thick papers, sunpack/sunboard, rubber, leather, wood, glass, ceramics, etc) and non-flat substrates, by using appropriate machinery and inks.  Further, this process is also widely used for printing packaging boxes, duplex and sapphire mono cartons, labels and cards, UV effect on packaging materials for cosmetics, toothpaste, jewellery … the list is endless.

Special effects!

In this world of shopping and mall culture, buyers are attracted by the packaging they can see and/or touch. Before that tryst with packaging, they also carry the memories of advertising (both print and electronic), outdoor posters, etc. As they walk into the shop, first they are also confronted with eye catching POPs and POS posters, placards and other marketing gimmicks. Ultimately, the packaging in a shelf carries its look, its power of attraction for the consumers, and eventually the feeling of touch, or we can rightly say, today packaging is all about sensation – look, touch, feel, smell.

So, special effect screen printing is a great way to excite consumers. The range and variety of effect is extensive and it provides the marketer, print buyer and designer with a number of exciting possibilities they may never have thought were viable.  This is because of the latest developments – machines and inks.

The most promising is the use of a wide range of ‘special effects’ thanks to the think tanks in the screen printing industry driven by FESPA, an international association of various national printing associations including India. FESPA spent a lot of resources to make a special book named “SENSATIONS” that shows many of those screen printed special effects.

The packaging can be printed through many techniques: offset, flexography, screen and digital printing or other. However, only screen printing allows to add those “special effects” enhancing the final product due to its versatility. These possibilities, combined with off set, digital, flexo or classical screen graphic, open a huge niche to many screen printers who will be able to offer customers truly enhanced and unique products and images to increase sales.

This is obtained by the addition of some surface effects that will catch one or several senses of consumers: The view or look of packaging which makes a initial difference – it is like first impression is the last impression … but now consumers want to touch by the feel of it and sometimes, why not rub and smell it. Amazing though, several of these effects can be used on the same item (multiple special effects, like we try at DMI institute). It can also replace, often at a lower cost, some other technologies such as hot stamping, doming, silvering under vacuum.

Specialty Inks & Varnish

The print buyers these days want something different from their competitors and are prepared to pay a fair price for that. They will accept a much higher price if the printers bring a very special enhancement of their product packaging image. So, one of the most interesting niches in the graphic screen printing fields is the printing of special effects, using UV special effect inks.

The inks available in the market range from luminescent to tactile, from glitter to mirror. The impact they can add to designs is breathtaking.  Screen printing effect can enhance any marketing campaign and may give it that extra competitive advantage. One may also enhance the effect with ink or an overprinted varnish. Varnishes have become a popular finish on wise labels especially because it gives the graphics a much greater richness of colour.

A gloss varnish over a matte surface is a more subtle approach that inspires curiosity. One sees a shape under the light or notices a smoother feel against a more resistant matte solid area. Similarly, coarse, high luster effects are created with thick coatings of varnishes that have large particle sizes. It is a striking way of printing reversed out images of icons or logos, an ice effect or extremely fine line patterns. A wrinkle effect can be created when a UV varnish is cured under UV-A light.

There are thermo-chromic inks. These are sensitive to temperature change and can be used for time temperature indicator labels. Irreversible ink types, which do not change back to the original colour, indicate if perishable goods have been stored for too long or at to warm a temperature.

Packaging for the blind

For blind people, the “Braille” texts on labels or packaging are printed. Here, a thick varnish screen printed is widely cheaper than micro-embossing through die-cutting or embossing technologies. Embossing is a slow and expensive technique (for the tool itself). It can be easily replaced by screen printing of thick UV varnishes.

Security

The security feature of screen printing is immense. This feature can be used to protect the brand against counterfeiting or tampering. RFID labels are used to provide security and efficient tracking and tracing of products, cases through the supply chain.

I have a customer of mine in Mumbai who is into packaging (with offset and screen printing unit) whose clients are happy that he offers something different every time because of UV special effects which they feel a luxury value addition especially in case of cosmetic, and such luxury product packaging. He strongly feels that UV special effects are not only luxury value addition for customers but a ‘safety net’ as well. Because of the very nature of special effects, it will help the companies in protecting their brands from duplication.

RFIDs

One fantastic application of screen printing is the printing of both antennas and transmitter/receiver in RFIDS : Radio Frequency Identification.  This is beginning to replace at short and medium term the classical barcodes that need to be caught at very short distance. The printing of those items, both on or inside of the packaging itself or on a special label to stick on or in, is ideally suited for screen printing in that sense that it is the best technology to print the conductive silver, carbon or nano-particle inks for the antennas or receptors.

‘Substitute substrates’

Continuous advancements and developments in polymer technology, expertise and cost-effective manufacturing, plastics is replacing traditional materials in many fields (environmental conditions apply!). These include : PVC, Polypropylene, HIPS, Lenticular Films, Polycarbonate etc. Polypropylene Sheets are extensively used for blister packaging, cardboard boxes etc. Polypropylene finds application in Disposable Containers,  Embossing, Gift Box Making out of clear sheets, Freight Packaging, etc. The trend these days is to use a substrate with a low density which also makes it affordable. PVC Sheets and Polypropylene Sheets are the best suited for screen printing. Polypropylene as a material is very eco-friendly and can be easily recycled. It is accepted and widely used all over the world for different applications. It is preferred by screen printers because of its low density and very economical cost. Similarly, PVC for screen printing purpose is a very good option. A good quality PVC sheet makes a good surface for a screen print because it has a pre-coating on it; even if the material gets old the coating is never hampered.

Perfect expertise needed

The main problem is of course the adjustments of registers, knowing, for example, in offset if each sheet printed simultaneously in four or six colours is perfectly registered, it can be some differences from one pallet to another. In case of UV spot effects, the register problem is crucial and requires a perfect control of the different elements of the image.

Some special effects will have to be entirely designed or separated from parts of the original image: this means that either a studio or an individual that created the image and/or yourself are able to prepare the needed proper part of the file: this is of course very important. In PDF, the problem of layers and transparencies can be difficult to solve: it also depends upon the quality of the files received from the customer or its studio.

As those effect will quite often have to be overprinted on inks and/or substrates printed with other technologies (offset, digital printing, flexo, hot-stamping, foils, etc.) a huge care must be taken. For example, even, for a simple high gloss spot varnish above a classical offset print on paper or board, be sure that the offset inks are over-printable: this means that they must not contains any wax, or worth, silicones, or of course that the so classical automatic powdering has been eliminated by the offset printer through a careful automatic brushing.

Patience please

Screen printing is now quicker, cheaper, produces better quality images and offers a number of special applications. But advanced screen printing with high level of automation is not everybody’s cup of tea. Having advanced machines in place is not sufficient to run a profitable screen printing business. There is no profit “from the press of a button” like in digital printing arena. There is no short cut. Because not only does the set-up process take considerably longer than other techniques, but being able to truly master printing high quality images using the screen printing process also takes much longer, because there are a number of variables involved.

Today, there exist different systems designed to help the screen printers to achieve better result. But it revolves around the simple concept or standardisation of the entire screen printing process.

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I hope you must have enjoyed reading…

Special regards,

Bhargav

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