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Posts Tagged ‘printing technology’

Technical Tips on Screen Printing by Bhargav Mistry, DMI – #6

April 15, 2017 1 comment

Tips on squeegee blade (squeegee rubber)

  • Maintain a reasonable gap between the squeegee edge and inside of frame
  • Short gap will negatively affect print quality, performance, uniformity of ink deposit; and it also shortens the life of stencil, fabric & squeegee
  • Squeegee should be only 2” bigger than the print area i.e. for printing 30” wide squeegee should be 32” only

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  • Keep ends of the squeegee rounded to get good registration and uniform ink deposit

Squeegee with rounded corners


Squeegee with sharp corners

  • Always maintain sharp squeegee while printing and use squeegee sharpener regularly.

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nano-sharpener

  • Storage of squeegees is also very important. Its advisable to store the squeegees vertically (squeegee rubber side up) and ensure no objects are in contact during storage.
  • Good air circulation is also recommended to keep the squeegee dry after cleaning with solvents.

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  • Do not use aggressive solvents to clean the squeegees
  • Do not wipe the ink from the squeegee after printing with any sharp metal or hard materials. This can damage the squeegee edge.
  • Do not print squeegees with one edge for longer period always use both edges after few hours or impressions to maintain the edge sharpness and parallelism

Finally I would to remind you to register for my next Graphics workshop schedule in June 12 to 14, 2017.

This time you will learn all about linearisation right from pre-press to screen making to screen printing including colour management system, digital workflow, ICC profiling and digital proofing on Inkjet Printer before final screen printing. Everything will be displayed live.

Plus for the first time you will also learn all about Monitor Calibration, Digital Proofing & Certification.

Enjoy and have a nice weekend.

Bhargav Mistry

Technical Tips on Screen Printing by Bhargav Mistry, DMI – #2

March 9, 2017 4 comments

Q – Important points about screen making room?

  • First of all you need proper screen making room with yellow safe lights
  • Do not allow outside footwear in the room
  • Do not keep any windows in the screen making room
  • Avoid outside light to enter in screen making room
  • Screens should not be made in dusty open area with bright daylight
  • Maintain room temperature around 20℃ to 23℃
  • Maintain consistent humidity around 55 to max 60 RH
  • Clean flooring with vacuum cleaner twice a day
  • Use anti-static clothes in the screen making room
  • Use anti-static gloves where ever possible plus to avoid contact of hand/fingers on screen mesh
  • Use anti-static brush or anti-static soft cloth to clean your positives and screens before coating emulsions
  • Use high quality emulsion coating trough
  • Use double door system to enter in screen making department to avoid outside lights
  • Do not wash screens inside the screen making room
  • Screen washing should be outside the screen making room but just adjoining to avoid hardening on unexposed areas
  • Screen washing should also be under yellow lights
  • Only keep Exposing Machine, Emulsion Coating Machine or Manual Coaters & Screen Dryers in the room.
  • Positive storage, artwork, designing etc. should not be in the screen making room
  • Do not have overhead fans in the screen making room to avoid dust particle circulation
  • Keep machines, tables etc 2 feet aways from the walls so that cleaning of dust within the room becomes easy

Pictures shown below are of our screen making department at DMI… Each room has proper safe yellow lights, no windows and fully air-conditioned with clean flooring.

I will soon post different layouts of a typical screen making department and how should be the optimum area required for easy movement of screen frames.

Always remember screen is the heart of printing, good quality screen delivers good quality prints. But to achieve good quality screens you also need modern & high class screen making department. That’s the most essential.

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International Women’s Day – 8th March Employ and Empower Women in Printing​

I am proud to say that nobody in our screen printing industry have ever tried to highlight the achievements of women in printing, as much as we do through our Grafica News India magazine.

This issue features Women who are into teaching print technology, women entrepreneurs, women who have joined their family business after marriage, and women who work in printing presses while back home they take care of their families.

So, on the occasion of International Women’s Day celebrations on 8th March, I admire and salute all Women Entrepreneurs; women working in printing, for their courage.

I would appreciate your comments on this issue.

Bhargav Mistry

Click on the image below to download
“Women’s Day Special Issue – A must read for all Women in Printing Industry”

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Learn FM Screening to get Moire Free Prints & Achieve Digital Like Quality by Screen Printing

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In all my future workshops at DMI on textile screen printing you can now learn in depth about high definition screen printing process using 2nd Generation FM Screening technique to print DIGITAL like quality by SCREEN PRINTING process.

DMI is the first and only institute in the WORLD teaching latest and advance screen printing process in graphics and textile field and demonstrating the state of art high definition screen printing on textile using 2nd generation FM screening live and practical for free.

DMI is the only institute in the world teaching, graphics, industrial, print finishing, value addition and textile screen printing for free under one roof.

In all my workshops I teach right from designing to pre-press to colour management to screen making, screen printing, post-press live and practical all three days.

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Left Side Image (AM Screening) – Right Side Image (2nd Generation FM Screening)

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On 5th June 2015 during our grand re-opening of DMI institute in our new premises. I had made a statement in front of 100’s of printers who were present there, that “Once upon a time there was a moire problem in screen printing… what I meant was that moire will be a history in screen printing industry from now onwards. Yes at DMI we successfully implemented it and have also started conducting workshops and training programs on this subject.

So, MOIRE is no more a problem in screen printing with 2nd Generation FM Screening Technique.

After years of research and development in screen printing at DMI I have completely discarded AM screening in all my courses. Now I am only focusing on 2nd Generation FM Screening techniques which produces digital like quality through traditional screen printing process in graphics and textiles.

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Moreover the advantage of using 2nd generation FM screening is to avoid moire in screen printing. Especially when printing halftones on garment it becomes very difficult to control moire even after using coarser halftone dots like 45 LPI.

2nd generation FM screening totally eliminates moire in screen printing thus delivers sharp, crispy and brighter images. Even finer and smaller details are clearly visible.

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Left Side Image (AM Screening) – Right Side Image (2nd Generation FM Screening)

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To take one step further in the implementation of the 2nd generation FM screening in your company. I have made some test files which you can download and print at your end to check and compare the results of 2nd Generation FM screening vs conventional AM screening.

Email to: dtg@graficaindia.com or call us on our helpline number +91 8 655 755 855 so that we can send you the link to download DMI’s complete “Step-By-Step Instruction Guide”. This guide also explains how to print 2nd generation FM Screening to produce digital like quality through screen printing process.

Along with the instruction guide I have included many TEST FILES in PDF Format ready for positive output on any imagesetter. So once you download the test files, you can again call us on our helpline number for further guidance.

At DMI, Learn More – Earn More and be innovative.

Bhargav Mistry

Helpline Number for Screen Printers

June 15, 2016 2 comments

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It gives me immense pleasure to announce that screen printers across the globe can now call on this special HELPLINE Number for any kind of technical support related to screen printing process.

 

+91 8 655 755 855

 

Timing : 12.00 pm ~ 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm ~ 5.00 pm (IST), Monday to Thursday

DMI’s technical team including me will try to solve your problems well within DMI’s scope.

As you know DMI is connected to many international experts in screen printing. So, if your problem is not solved within our scope, we will also try to get solutions from international experts associated with DMI.

I am sure this HELPLINE facility will enable screen printers to improve quality standards and resolve day to day problems.

Have a trouble free screen printing…

Bhargav Mistry

Attention Garment Screen Printers, Are you making profit or just surviving?

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I am writing this blog to educate all garment screen printers with regard to the factors which influences costing. And after going through these points one can correct themselves to avoid further loss in business.

It’s difficult to educate or inform everyone, on one to one. So I thought the best way is to write this blog so that everyone can read, understand and implement these points before quoting for your customers job.

As garment screen printers you should never forget that you are helping your customers to sell their printed garments and because of your quality and services they are able to sell their garments in the market effectively.

Majority of garment screen printers, mainly into job work, only consider ink cost and add ‘margins’ with an understanding that the so called ‘margin’ covers their direct and indirect costs. It’s surely a blind faith!

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I have been conducting workshop and seminars in my institute DMI since 2006. In this 10 successful year I have been teaching advance screen printing process on latest machine and equipments using high quality materials and consumables.

During my 3-day workshops, screen printers sincerely write down all the methods and processes that are explained in my theory and practical sessions, and they even take photographs, probably to implement in toto what I teach. But back in their print shop, they seem to be hesitating to use the same method, products or similar quality materials like inks, emulsions, screen mesh, squeegee rubber etc, just because they find it ‘expensive’ compare to what they currently use. And, the end result: they fail to emulate the kind of quality that we have demonstrated in the workshop.

Frankly, the materials are not that expensive but printers are compelled to use lower standard materials and consumables because of their wrong costing and pricing structure prevalent in the market.

Most of the screen printers in textile and garment sector, especially engaged in job work only considers INK as their major cost while making their price-list per colour basis but they totally forget so many important factors during their calculations before sending quotations to customers.

To begin with, for the time being keep the cost of ink, emulsion, screen mesh out from your mind for a while because if you are not taking into account the following things while quoting your customer than I am seriously concerned whether you are making profit or just surviving in your business?

  1. Designing
  2. Positives
  3. Screen making
  4. Rejections
  5. Ink wastage
  6. Squeegee rubber & its maintenance
  7. Electricity charges per piece
  8. Labour
  9. Overtime
  10. Plant & Machinery
  11. Machine maintenance / AM
  12. Spare parts for plant and machinery
  13. Administration & office expenses
  14. Sampling
  15. Other overheads etc…

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DESIGNING:

Even if you have your own art department and artists to do designing, that doesn’t mean it’s not costing you money. Whether the lot size is bigger or smaller, design charges should be added in the costing. Be cautious that if designing charges are not taken from customers as a matter of regular practice, then you as screen printers end up struggling to purchase high quality designs or hire professional designers. But if you start charging for designs, you will not hesitate to purchase high quality designs from professionals or other online paid source, and hire experienced / professional designers for your pre-press activities.

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POSITIVE:

Majority of screen printers in garment/textile sector use tracing paper (generally knowns as ‘butter’ paper) and output their positives on desktop laser printer. It’s because customers don’t pay so printers try to save on designing and positive making and finally struggle for getting good quality printing. Even I have noticed that inkjet films are also considered ‘costly’. Hence image setter positives are out of question.

So always charge to customer for designing as well as positive making especially for smaller lot size.

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SCREEN MAKING:

Screen is the heart of screen printing. I always mention in my workshops ‘Good Screens = Good Quality Prints’. Believe me screens plays the major role in the quality of printing and many screen printers don’t have any idea what should be the right quality of screens. Textile screen printers main focus is alway ‘automatic machine’. But I would like to remind printers once again that to achieve 100% QUALITY in garment screen printing,

Designing & Positives (Pre-press) has 40% role
Screen Making – 40%
Automatic Machine – 10%
Inks & Consumables – 10% Provided if you are using high quality materials and consumables from renowned companies

The reason why screen printers end up making poor quality screens is because they don’t charge their customers for screen making nor they add it in their pricing based on the lot size. Hence they are compelled to use substandard positives, screen mesh, emulsions, chemicals and unprofessional way to develop screens.

Screens are not FREE it cost you lot of money and also does not last longer so it should be charged to customers separately.

The life of screens for printing photographic images with water base inks using fine halftone dots last only upto 500 to 700 impression. If you are lucky or if you have not cleaned the screens in between production due to ink choking or during any intervals etc. than it can deliver upto or over 1000 impression.

POOR INK & EMULSION QUALITY reduces your screen life so use the best mesh, emulsions, chemicals and inks. The life of the screen especially in halftone printing majorly depends on ink so use high quality inks which reduces ink choking issues thus eliminates screen cleaning during production thus avoids stencil wear & tear.

The life of screen can sometimes double or even more with PVC free-phthalate free plastisol inks compare to conventional water based because these plastisol inks does not choke up in screens and does not require cleaning in intervals. But nowadays many companies makes very high quality low-choking water base inks which can also eliminate screen cleaning during production thus increases the life of the screens.

The screen making charges also depend on the number of colours and type of screen required for printing. E.g. the cost of high density screen should be charged higher compare to conventional screen making because it take more time with special attention and care plus the cost of thick film is also higher compare to conventional emulsions.

And don’t forget that screens do have limited life, sometimes it tears due to poor handling or during printing due to dust particles in ink. So in a month some amount of new screen mesh has to be considered in your costing.

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MACHINE SETUP:

Most of the job workers (garment printers) complain that their lot size has now shrunk between 300 and 500 pieces per lot.

So, in this case it would be the biggest blunder or loss making, if you are not charging or considering the cost of machine setup. Everyone knows ‘job changeover’ time is the biggest nightmare in garment printing.

According to me, on an average, the time taken by screen printers practically to change from one job to another is around 1 to 2 hours, or sometimes even more depending on number of colours and accuracy of the job.

If a company runs 8-hour shift (which never happens practically you know!) they end up with average 6.5 or 7 hours a shift. In that case average only 3.5 lots can be finished per shift, considering a min. order of 300 or max. 500 piece per hour considering 1 hour spent for job changeover and setup in between.

So, if you do not charge/consider ‘job changeover’ time and ‘machine setup’ time for smaller lots, then even survival would be difficult, forget about making profit. Because most of your ‘profits’ are being leaked out incognito due to time lost in job change over and machine set up.

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REJECTION:

Many printers are least bothered about the kind of wastage and rejections. Of course, not all pieces are perfect in any production process. Their bound to be rejections which have to be taken into account.

If customer sends job for printing and if they deduct any amount from your invoice due to rejection then you should inform your customer to send you extra pieces needed to cover up the tests, trials, wastage and rejections. You should inform them in advance that there would be certain amount of rejections in each lot and they should accept this fact and should not deduct any amount from your bill.

These days companies are spending millions in process standardisation and process control to minimise rejections. But many average screen printer do not even have weighing scale to weigh ink for repeat accuracy or any meter to make special colour match inks in-house etc. so they all go by an ‘approximate’ measurement done by naked eye and judgment. So, compelling screen printers to have a rejection percentage in ‘points’ in current situation is not practical.

According to the current circumstances & situation 15% to 20% rejection should be considered acceptable for an average screen printer who does have modern setup or right kind of skilled people with proper knowledge and process standardisation.

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INK WASTAGE:

If anyone claims that they do not incur any wastage of ink, it’s totally wrong. Whether you print 100 or 1000 pieces, there will be some amount of ink wastage, especially when printing with water based inks.

The wastage is higher in water based inks compare to PVC free – phthalate free plastisol inks. The advantage of PVC free – phthalate free plastisol inks is that after each job, you can recover every drop of ink back using sharp spatula (except some ink residues left on screens) and secondly the ink does not dry in the screens and there is no evaporation like water based inks.

So, if you are printing with water base inks 15% to 20% wastage of inks should be considered in your costing. This wastage includes the ink you leave on sides of screen and which gets thicker/harder after some time due to water evaporation. In some extreme conditions wastage cannot be reused.

The major factor of water based ink wastage is due to higher temperature in some countries and places plus mainly due to poor plant conditions.

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SQUEEGEE RUBBER & MAINTAINENCE:

The last priority item for every screen printer is ‘SQUEEGEE RUBBER’.

Printers never pay attention to squeegee which is the most crucial tool in the management of quality in printing.

Most screen printers may expect that the squeegee supplied with the machine, should last for years and years! Even the maintenance of the squeegees are so bad and they are never sharpened.

I have seen printing companies where they use squeegee for years unsharpened! Printers should understand that squeegee life is limited and its hardness starts diminishing from the original count (strength). At DMI we change squeegee after its hardness is diminished or if the length reduces more than 5 mm after frequent sharpening.

Even good quality sharpened squeegees can reduce your ink consumption by 5% to 10% in some extreme cases.

Please be aware that the squeegee has a limited life, and hence it should be replaced based on certain ‘weakening’ criteria. So, printers using automatic machines should consider the cost of squeegee while working on costing.

ELECTRICITY CHARGES / LABOUR CHARGES / OVERTIME CHARGES:

Many printers do consider electrical & labour cost but just for a rough estimate.

But the cost is not added on ‘per piece’ basis, because the electrical & labour charges will completely depend on the lot size. E.g. the cost of electricity & labour to print 100 or 10,000 piece will remain the same, but it will change drastically based on the lot size due to change over time, downtime, wastage of materials, and time wasted by labours during job change over. In this case the price cannot be the same per colour for 100, 300 and 1000 or more…

So, electricity, labour cost and overtime charges very much depends on the lot size, setup time and change over time.

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PLANT & MACHINERY / MAINTAINENCE CHARGES / SPARE PARTS:

Your plant and machinery requires regular maintenance. So if you cannot generate enough profit you will have to compromise on the maintenance of your plant and machinery which indirectly reduces the life of your machines and thus it will affect production and quality.

Better to deposit some amount every month in a separate account for safety and for maintenance of your plant and machinery like machines, generator, vehicles etc.

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ADMINISTRATION COST:

Your office administration cost in general should also be considered based on your monthly production.

E.g. If 10 people are working in your office for admin work with an average salary e.g. Rs. 15,000 per month, and let say your monthly production is around 100,000/per month and you have already added Rs. 1.50 in your costing. Now if your quantity shrinks down due to change over time or ink matching time or for any other reason, then it will directly affect your profit margin. But if you increase your production and productivity with same people, your profit will increase drastically.

FINALLY, FREE SAMPLING:

I know there is a trend all over to provide free samples to customers.

But I do not want to explain in details because by now you must have understood why one should not make free samples to customers. Because it cost you a lot of money for making screens, positives, setup time and other overheads.

While making samples for customer, you have to make special match colours. If the design works, you consume those inks; but if the design fails, your matched ink has to be used in other jobs or it remains in stock and has to thrown after some time.

That’s the reason why DMI has introduced a new system where in you only have to keep stocks of basic 14 Pantone colours, and all your designs will be printed using those limited colours. This will help you to minimise unwanted stock of inks and time to match special colour. Quite often, while matching special colours, there is possibility of wastage due to error in colour matching.

So, it’s not only the ink cost that you need to consider to add to your profit, but all the above factors should also be considered while working on your costing because today the major cost is labour, electricity, land, machinery and overheads.

Don’t struggle in production by using substandard, low quality inks, materials and consumables.

According to me don’t consider INK or EMULSION cost into your mind, if you increase your productivity, reduce machine setup time, reduce job change over time, minimise colour by doing proper separation of each designs believe me INK or EMULSION cost will be no where in account.

Most screen printers works so hard, spend so much time and energy to source cheaper substandard inks but fails to understand that the ink, emulsion cost even does not come into account if you increase productivity, reduce rejection & downtime, reduce setup & job changeover time. Don’t forget day by day overhead, labour cost land, electricity etc. will become very expensive compare to INKS & EMULSIONS.

Based on my experience and observation, I urge all the garment screen printers…

“Do not consider the costs that you feel to be considered and do consider the costs that you feel should not be considered”

So avoid further loss and start charging your customers for designing, screen making, positives, sampling and development charges on regular basis.

Because its better to maintain healthy competitions for long term business and don’t let your customers take the advantage of your ignorance & innocence.

To be more productive, reduce machine setup time, reduce job change over time, minimise colour & screens using high end colour separation software and to understand costing in details register to my workshop on advanced screen printing on textile.

For more information log on to: www.graficaindia.com

Be profitable and remain healthy in business.

Have a profitable week…

Bhargav Mistry

 

Do not make ‘mess’ by using nylon mesh, use only polyester mesh!

February 6, 2013 Leave a comment

Because polyester mesh is best for high quality screen printing…

However screen printers need to do extensive R&D to unearth solution for their problems. However, to solve the registration miss–match problem, Polyester mesh is now being widely used. Polyester also has different grades. Polyester mesh is available in wide range from 6 mesh/cm to 180 Mesh/cm and various widths, in both white and yellow colours.

At excessive tension levels, the thread reaches to its plastic deformation point, and the screen will be stiff with no longer capacity to hold tension. However, it has been outshined by a new development in thread technology (High Module), which enables to bear the high tension with Low-Elongation for better and consistent print quality.

Polyester mesh is the preferred choice of the high end industries. i.e. electronics industry (PCB, membrane switches mfrs), CD printing, graphic printing, automotive decals, ceramic decals, tiles, glass, industrial labels, textile industry (garments and apparels, tag printing), Package Printing …even for halftone and fine printing like small micro letters, logos in a visiting card.

Features:
• High tensile and dyed fabric
• Low elongation
• No deformation of fabric
• Fast & good tensioning
• Quick lifting off fabric after squeegee lifts
• Fast ink release, Easy peel off
• Special fabric surface.
• Good Dimension stability
• Faster stabilisation
• Good durability
• Good resistance to acids & alkalis
• No water absorption

Benefits:
Ink savings: Low elongation means savings in ink, if it is used as per the specifications, instructions and right advice from suppliers.

Less consumption: It retains set tension level, print after print and job after job. This way, minimal distortion enables printers to obtain the most consistent results even after long printing runs. It not only improves productivity but also help reduce rejections.

High tension: Can be stretched to high tensions and maintain tension longer. Tension loss between stretching and printing is low and tension will remain stable over subsequent print runs. Higher tensions on press allow for lower off contact, which prolongs screen life and improves colour-to-colour registration accuracy. It also increases production speed.

Special Surface Treatment: Innovative mesh surface treatment provides improved wet ability and more uniform emulsion distribution. This treatment also ensure strong Adhesion: The mesh has an excellent screen making capabilities with outstanding resolution, resulting in a powerful adhesion to the photosensitive emulsion and tremendously increases the life of the mesh. The increased stencil adhesion properties firmly retain screen dots and fine lines, considerably lengthening stencil life.

Other benefits:
• Less choke up, less ghost image
• Easy to clean (after washing)
• Easy ink flow
• Consistent result
• Makes screen strong
• Preferred for good reproduction of minute details, sharp results
• Good for registration accuracy
• Good for high speed printing
• Increase in quality of job, improved registration due to stable tension
• Squeegee movement: silky and smooth
• High emulsion adhesion
• Stable printing dimensional accuracy
• Faster turnaround time from the screen room to the pressroom (Less tension change over time after tensioning)

Take care…

Bhargav Mistry

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

Digital Printing & Proofing Tips

After returning from FESPA, Munich I just had couple of days left to prepare for my workshop at DMI. There after I had to finish my long new presentation for our unique road shows. These shows are organized by us (GRAFICA FLEXTRONICA) to launch our unique NANO PREMIER LEAGUE series in various every cities of India.

Till now with my team I completed 6 road shows, 3 in Maharashtra (Nashik, Aurangabad & Pune) & 3 in Gujarat (Surat, Ahmedabad & Rajkot). All shows were jam packed and very much interesting and had many uniqueness. I shall post full report with photos of my workshop and these road shows soon. Just to give an idea every city we had over 100 to 150 printers but Ahmedabad had a rocking figure 275 printers. Isn’t it amazing. Every where for me and for printer it was a WOW feeling.

In the mean time just enjoy this video tutorial from Dr. Russell Brown who is one of the chief engineer and scientist of ADOBE. In this tutorial he has cleared all doubts about digital printing and proofing.

Printers today gets digital proof either from their customer or they do it in-house using EPSON or HP digital printers for matching our screen prints.

So its important to understand the color management issues using analog vs digital technology.

Download these 2 videos which shall help you to generate correct proof using accurate printing parameters.

Printing to the Epson Stylus Pro 3800

Printing to the HP Photosmart Pro 9180

If you are on our database you shall soon receive our e-news. If you are not getting it regularly every month than make sure you register thru our website.

Have a cheerful and informative week.

Bhargav
00:50, 19th July 2010

Watch my educative film on screen printing process

Hi Folks,

First of all a happy rainy day. Now the time has come to beat the heat because this morning the grass was wet with dew. Finally mumbai is blessed with rains.

Every saturday I usually work late night 3 to 4 midnight and sometimes even on sunday afternoon because next day its relaxing day with no phones and not obliged to reply any emails…

Today at home, relaxing this evening and working on my ambitious project, revamping my technical slides which I was presenting in my workshops till now. Anyway I have to finish soon before my next workshop which is scheduled from 1 to 3 July 2010.

In my new presentation I would like to incorporate all my recent and past experiments with many new ideas. Even though I conduct live workshops but still I would like to include many (HOW TO) video illustrations of each process in screen printing step-by-step.

GREAT NEWS!!!

On 12th June 2010 in mumbai I would be presenting my FILM “SCREEN-ON-SCREEN” which is an Educative Film on screen printing process. This event is organized by Screen Printers Association of India (SPAI).

In this film you will see right from screen preparation to screen printing all with advance techniques using latest equipments. This film reveals all secrets about advance screen printing process and it took me more than three months to complete this entire 1.5 hour long film.

Last year my company organized 15 road shows all over India and more than 1200 printers till now enjoyed watching my unique film. So its a great chance for you to watch my FILM in Mumbai, the only city I have not screened yet. I invite all of you to come and educate the latest techniques in screen printing.

Don’t forget registration is very much compulsory so come prepared.

Download Registration Form if you wish to participate.

ROAD SHOWS!!!

Grafica’s NANO-PREMIER LEAGUE is set to kick start nationwide road show starting this month.

NANO PREMIER LEAGUE (NPL), is a complete in-house screen printing solution offered by my company to give complete freedom to screen printers.

The first show will begin from Nashik 17-Jun-10, followed by Aurangabad on 18-Jun10 and finally at Pune on 19-Jun-10.

I will be presenting the features and advantages of all machines combined in NPL package plus a presentation behind making of NPL.

There will be technical/commercial disclosures for printer who wants to decide on the spot to purchase our NPL super saver combination package. Also there will be a special discount only on that particular day for those who wish to book on the same day.

If you are planning to go for automation this is a right beginning. So come duly prepared to get an exclusive offers from me on that day.

Also there will be live demo of these wonderful inventions of Grafica and a huge sample gallery will be kept for display to see all latest DMI’s creations in process color screen printing (100 LPI), print finishing, wedding cards, paper carry bags, chocolate box and packaging. A unique folder having 16 different special effects will be hand over to everyone present on that day. This shall help screen printers to get more creative ideas.

The admission is free, however, entry is strictly by registration for printers only.

Download registration form

Checkout more information on my companies website and on our recent GraficaNews and stay updated.

Have a showering week.

Bhargav

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