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Five Trends in Screen Printing Process

August 25, 2013 3 comments

Trend No. 1: Fast changing image of screen printing:

Image

The very mobile or high end smart phones or iPods, tablets that you are holding in your hands have the imprints of screen printing. The helmets you wear, the bike you ride have designer decals on both sides; the car you drive has the speedometers and dashboards – all screen printed. If you are a cricket fan, notice that almost every bat has multiple designer stickers screen printed, and t-shirts, helmets, PVC cheer sticks, balloons, or flags that the cricket fans are holding in the stadium – all screen printed. And do not forget, we are living in high technology electronic age. Every electronic product that you use has a PCB (printed circuit board) inside, screen printed of course.

A high level team of printing company engaged in automobile and aeronautic decals printing and high end graphics, walked into Grafica’s stall at Gulf Print & Pack’13 in Dubai. During the discussion, the gentlemen did not mind sharing with our team that they have as many as 30 semi – automatic and fully automatic screen printing machines! This is the quick glimpse of fast changing trend in screen printing.

So, screen printing is more than what people may tend to think about printing visiting cards, letterheads, invitation by using out dated and tedious method what we call “manual screen printing”. Screen printing is an artistic as well as technology oriented process. From its age-old method, ‘silk’ screen printing has transformed into an advanced technology.

Its distinct advantages: It has its own distinct advantages: versatility, suppleness, wide range of applications, brightness and solidity of colours of outdoor applications, possibilities of special effects in graphic and textile; and wide range of presses available for different applications – Multi – colours press very large size for graphic applications; Multi-colours rotary screens to print textile in roll; possibility of combination with other imaging or printing process (offset, digital, etc.).

The visual impact that screen printing process can create is simply incredible. The durability of the inks, the vibrancy of the colours, especially considering the harsh outdoor weather conditions for outdoor applications such as automobile decals, helmet stickers, indoor/outdoor advertising display boards, etc, (it withstands sunlight, rain, snow, wind, etc).

Applications, unbound: Screen printing has wider applications in commercial graphics (packaging included), industrial (almost every industrial segment needs the imprint of screen printing process), garment decoration and textile printing as summarised below. (It is virtually impossible to list out total number of applications of screen printing process).

Commercial Applications:
• Posters
• Billboards
• POP/POS
• Displays
• Stickers/Labels
• Signs
• Flags
• Packaging
• Value addition on offset printed commercial and packaging.

Daily necessaries:
• Toys
• Stationery
• Sports goods
• Art (Serigraphy)
• Cosmetic containers
• Toiletry containers
• Wooden products
• Glass & ceramics
• Plastic Cards, Credit Cards
• Foot wear

Textile:
• Sportswear
• T-shirts
• Ladies/Mens/Kids wear printing (full fabric printing)
• Textile printing
• Heat transfers/Tag-less labels
• Caps
• Jute bags
• Cloth bags
• Garment tags, stickers
• Packaging for Garments/Saree/clothing

Industrial applications:
• Automotive decals
• Automobile meters
• CDs
• Parts of electric appliances
• Membrane switches
• Liquid crystal display
• Automatic vendors
• Metal name plates
• Print Circuit Boards (PCBs)
• Hybrid Circuits
• Solar Cells
• Mobile keypads, iPod, iPads
• Medical patches and many more…

Trend No. 2. Advancement in screen printing technology comes of age:

Image

“Necessity is the mother of all invention.” And that applies to screen printing as well.

So, now there are:

1. Screen printing machine (semi-automatic or fully automatic – alas NOT MANUAL tables anymore!)

2. Screen making set up thatincludes: polyester yellow mesh or fabric (alas NOT nylon mesh anymore); fabric stretching unit with tension meter; aluminium frames (alas NOT WOODEN FRAME anymore), emulsion coating equipment; screen exposing machine; screen drying unit, and other accessories.

3. The screen that is the imagecarrier (considered the ‘heart of screen printing’)

4. Squeegee (the ‘heart of thescreen printing machine’) supported by a ink coater

5. The substrate on which youprint which depends on the job. (Screen printing process can be used to print on numerous paper and non- paper substrates – both semi- rigid and rigid – pvc, wood, glass, tile, ceramics, fabric, metal, etc).

6. UV Inks, varnishes, UVspecial effects (and emulsion and chemicals needed for screen making) (to be forbidden solvent ink wherever possible since it is hazardous)

7. Drying system to print,depending on the ink used (UV curing, IR/Jet Air/Wicket Dryers as against racking system which requires huge space.

8. QC tools (like tension meter, UV thickness meter, spectrometer, etc)

Trend No.3 : Emergence of Multi-process printing solution & fast spreading value addition concept:

ImageIt is believed that screen, offset and digital printing will co-exist for different types of jobs. These days, many offset printers are ‘falling in love’ with screen printing as witnessed by us during various printing exhibitions. In the last couple of years we received more visitors from offset, packaging and digital than screen printing.
Perspective

1. Digital-screen combination: This is yet another good sign. There are many digital printers who have also screen-printing units to meet the market demand for ‘total print solution’.
2. Offset-screen combination for VALUE ADDITION:
3. Digital, offset, screen combination.

There has been a growing trend of many offset printers and packaging printers embracing screen printing process for carrying out print finishing in house instead of depending on outsourcing.

Why value addition?
Sharjah based Silver Point Printing Press has recently bought one more Swing Cylinder Press with inline UV from Grafica to meet the non-stop and growing demand for value addition which is offered with the application of various decorative UV to give touch and feel effect over duly commercial and packaging jobs.

In today’s highly competitive business environment, print buyers are certainly looking for something different which really differentiates them from their rivals. 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. Same principle applies to all commercial jobs other than packaging – value addition is a must.

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.

UV Special effects currently used in the market are:
• Commonly used UV Matt and Gloss
• Pearl
• Metallics
• Fluorescent (glow in the dark)
• Scents / Rub and sniff
• Emboss
• Glitter (silver and gold)
• Sand
• Sensation
• Abrasive
• 3D reflective
• Crystal
• Rough finish
• many more…

Trend No. 4: Focus on Quality, productivity & Standardisation:

ImageToday, with automatic precision machines, it is possible to get a result that years ago would have been a pipe dream. For example, by manual screen printing reproducing photorealistic images on t-shirts was next to impossible, but now with automatic direct to garment textile screen printing machines, garment printers are able to print what the customers want with speed and accuracy.

In India, many of the large screen printing units are matching to international standards, and beyond, in a competitive marketplace because of use of high-level equipment and high – priced consumable supplies.

The industry (customers) allows minimum tolerances for the rejection besides mandating for Just in Time production and deliveries. 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.

Also, 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. Yes in some areas such as decals and industrial printing UV has not made successful inroads and still they have to use only solvent inks.

Shift from manual to automation: In the last decade, there has been steep increase in the number of screen printing machines and UV curing system (also screen making set up) sold in the last couple of years than it was five to ten years ago. There has been a big shift from manual to semi-automatic and now fully automatic system. More and more printers are now adopting automation and using quality raw materials, process standardisation, documentation of parameters for each job since in screen printing every job is a new job involving unique process parameters, use of materials (inks, chemicals, mesh, etc) with different specifications.

Over 50 companies engaged in garment manufacturing as well as garment printers (job workers), and also jute bag manufacturers, have installed our automatic direct to garment screen printing machine along with complete screen making system who had huge manual long tables.

Trend No.5: Growing urge for Education and training:

ImageScreen printing is now quicker, cheaper, produces better quality images and offers a number of special applications. Having advanced machines in place is not sufficient to run a profitable screen printing business. 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.

Since we started workshops (always houseful with average 50 participants) in our DMI institute in 2006, till today over 2000 printing professionals (owners and staff) from India, USA, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, etc, (screen, offset, packaging, flexo, textile printing segments) attended our 3-day workshops. They were of the opinion that without proper knowledge, screen printing technology cannot be used in a profitable manner.

Conclusion:
I would conclude by saying that while technology is the lock, education is the key to unlock the numerous opportunities in screen printing. I leave the screen printers to decide whether to take both (technology and education) or anyone! Those who grab both will stand winners in the market.

Key to success is technology adoption and knowledge up gradation!

Image“Two years ago, when I saw some wonderful creative samples at DMI institute, I realised the potential of screen printing process … I strongly believe, 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. Mr. Narendra Paruchuri,
Managing Director, Pragati Press, Hyderabad

Image“You simply redefined the “Screen Printing Industry” of India to a different dimension. In the last six years your institution and activities have grown to multiple folds and you created significant mark in the chosen field. Nobody in India has approached screen printing so seriously and you created an international bench mark for the Indian screen printing industry..” Prof. Dr. Rajendrakumar Anayath, The Technological Institute of Textile & Sciences, Bhiwani, Haryana

Enjoy this cool Sunday…

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

Grafica’s nano-prinTex LIVE DEMO Centre now in Tirupur

September 24, 2012 1 comment

Today I am proud to announce our new DEMO CENTRE in Tirupur.

Mysteries of textile screen printers in India

After my long technical vacation I am back with full confidence and enthusiasm to share some of my insights, views and opinions about the direct-to-garment screen printing industry which I experienced from my last workshop and our companies participation in two exhibitions – GTE 12, New Delhi and KnitWorld, Ludhiana.

GTE 12 - New Delhi

GTE 12 – New Delhi

Knit World - Ludhiana

Knit World – Ludhiana

But first I would start from where I left…

THE LAUNCH PARTY…

The launching of Grafica’s nano-prinTex was a full house with more than 150 invitees from garment screen printing industry across India …

The event began with my welcome speech, product presentation, live demo followed by cocktail-dinner. Apart from textile screen printers I had also invited DMI’s Sponsors, our dealers and distributors, industry associates and existing Grafica customers. I was really thankful to all those who attended this event and a special thanks to all our distributors, dealers for their supports. My special thanks to DMI’s sponsors (Sericol, Skyscreen, Colors, Technova, Adobe & Indian Dyes and Sales Corporation).

Upon my request Anil Brahmbhatt (Skyscreen), Raghav Rao (Sericol), Mustafa Kapadia (Colors) and Jayesh Shah (IDSC) openly shared the kind of benefits they are deriving from sponsoring their products and services to DMI.

After my presentation live demonstration of nano-prinTex was arranged in the factory…

Following the launch of nano-prinTex, we were flooded with requests from many garment screen printers to conduct an exclusive workshop on direct-to-garment textile screen printing. I was eager to announce my first 3-day workshop on direct-to-garment screen printing at DMI. Finally this workshop was successfully concluded on 5,6, 7 April 2012. Due to this unexpected scheduling of the workshop, I really had very limited time because there was too much of reading and meeting with experts, garment screen printers, ink suppliers to understand what sort of difficulties each one is facing related to their products and services so that all those issues could be covered in my theory and practical.

Screen printing is not a new subject for me but refreshing my knowledge in textile printing within a very short time was a big challenge. In fact my experience and knowledge in screen printing began with Industrial screen printing and thereafter I learnt many new tricks of process color graphics screen printing. That’s the reason why I found textile screen printing too easy for me to understand, because the only technology which changes apart from artwork, screen making and press parameters was inks and substrates i.e. fabrics. So my main focus all the time was to spend most of my time in understanding the chemistry of inks and the behavior of inks on the fabrics. I spend most of my time in DMI to standardize the process of inks, mesh count and press parameters to achieve consistent result.

Considering the high level of quality standards required in Industrial screen printing (e.g. PCB’s, Automotive Decals & Dials, Graphic overlays, Membrane keys, Glass and Ceramics etc.) and even in process colors graphics, especially in areas like screen making, pre-press and screen printing is much challenging and different in these segments as compared to garments / textile screen printing. That’s the reason why I do not compromise on printing quality.

In the last two exhibitions and in my first workshop I was surprised to hear from many big players in textile printing that they are not aware about the mesh count they use nor they knew anything about types of fabrics like Nylon or Polyester. When I asked them what mesh count they use few of them replied by saying 18 no. mesh or 20 no. mesh. When I explained that we use 77T or 90T or 120T they were confused???… Even when I asked the same question in my first exclusive textile workshop, the same answers came from the participants albeit with same confusion about mesh.

 

And, Dual-Cure Photopolymer emulsion remains a mystery… :
If I compare the level of understanding about emulsions, mesh count etc. between graphics / Industrial screen printing with textile screen printer, I personally feel that percentagewise, garment screen printers have less knowledge and understanding about screen making compare to industrial and graphics screen printers. I was really concerned that many printers use butter paper (tracing paper) to make positives in A3 size for a 12 color job. Often, few so called ‘intelligent garment printers’ ask me about the registration accuracy of nano-prinTex and my answer to them was to first check the accuracy of your positives with each colors before you want to know the accuracy… Butter paper hhmm..

 

This clearly makes me understand that at DMI, I have to focus more on screen making parameters to explain the importance of screen than just printing. Because the screen is the heart of screen printing, GOOD SCREEN = GOOD PRINTING.

World’s first exclusive workshop for 3 days on garment screen printing…
Complete new slides with new contents, theory and practicals. All new pre-press parameters and screen making techniques…quite challenging but was easy due to our years’ of experience and expertise.

   

On the first day I completely spent on pre-press, process color screen printing, artwork, separation techniques, positive linearization and press linearization techniques, and on second day I focused on Spot Process Techniques printing on white and dark garment. On the last day we printed with Special effects and water based inks on dark using metallic, glitter, puff, high density etc…

Participants:
This time we had couple of participants from nearby countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and many far distant places across India. To me one of the interesting participants who came all the way from Ludhiana was Mr. Ashok Jain of Miniking Knitwears Pvt. Ltd., one of the biggest and reputed garment manufacturers in the northern region. He came along with his son and two of his key production people. Being an owner he showed keen interest and enthusiasm to learn various techniques we demonstrated at DMI all three days. Very few owners like him take interest to learn technology with so much patience and very few owners send their people to learn. Most of them are afraid of teaching or sending their people outside to learn. Such printers have very conservative approach towards growth. I think teaching and training is an ongoing process and should be taken in a broader prospective if companies want grow their business. Towards this objective, Mr. Ashok Jain’s approach was very much positive because he told me that, “the company is being run by people and everyone in the company should be aware of the right process and technology to progress and it’s they who handle day to day problems and what I want is results”.

Like him there were many CEO’s, MD’s from reputed companies who took keen interest by participating in my workshop.

But, I urge all CEO’s, Owners, MD’s in garment/garment screen printing industry to also send their printers, managers, supervisors, graphic designers to DMI to learn correct process so that they can deliver quality output and you can reduce your day to day involvement in production and quality issues.

I remember that from the moment we announced our first workshop, within 15 days it was houseful. There were many wait listed participants who will get the chance for the next workshop. This shows the eagerness of textile screen printers. I wonder why there is not many institutes like DMI in the world to teach proper technology in screen printing.

I have incorporated many new and improved contents based on my first experience and requirements of screen printers at large. This time we will be screen printing process color using plastisol and water based inks. We also plan to demonstrate discharge ink on dark garments and special effects using water based and plastisol inks. Inks like metallics and glitters will also be included in few designs to demonstrate how to make attractive garments.

DMI Sponsors…
DMI sponsors have always shown their keen interest to support all my workshops but this time I would like to specially thank Jayesh Shah of IDSC, Raghav Rao of SERICOL & Mr. Konkane & Mr. Kamat of PIDILITE. In fact Mr. Kamat was keen to deliver his technical presentation on water based ink, pigments and on green environment. IDSC have supplied all plastisol inks for Spot Process on dark garments and SERICOL have supplied PVC-PHTHALATE free Plastisol Inks, Water Based Process Color Inks. PIDILITE have supplied their water based medium, binder and various pigments to make our own colors and some special discharge pigments to demonstrate discharge printing. They also included one magical water based ink which can be directly printed on any dark garments without under base white or discharge, still it can achieve bright colors.

In our next workshop we will refine our technique with great improvements to get the best result out of all these varieties of inks and chemicals.

DMI Students…
I specially thank all my students and DMI faculty members who worked day and night with me. These boys were so curious and enthusiastic. That’s the reason why I could also work non-stop along with them without getting tired.

There are many surprises for garment printers coming soon…

So be in touch with us. After my second textile workshop which is scheduled on 17-18-19 May 2012 I shall announce in my blog about further exciting developments.

If you have not registered for the next workshop, then what are you waiting for, just log on to http://www.graficaindia.com today and reserve your seats.

Meanwhile, thanks DAWN HOHL of Uncommon Enterprises LLC, USA for sending many tips and technical information on water based discharge inks and many other parameters related to garment screen printing. DAWN has always been very cooperative since the inception of DMI and very few technical experts like her would share their information with others.

Thanks DAWN for your continued support…

Then, thanks to MARK COUDRAY of TShirtSuccess,LLC, USA (www.coudray.com) for helping me with solutions to my queries related to mesh selection, inks many other factors related to garments. In fact he was so much supportive that whenever I asked him any questions he gave me accurate and prompt reply which helped me to complete my R&D quickly.

Thanks Mark for your prompt replies and showing keen interest in my developments.

Finally I cannot end my blog thanking The Great CHARLIE FACINI of Freehand Graphics (www.softwareforscreenprinters.com) who was quite generous to donate free licenses of SEPARATION STUDIO and ACCURIP to DMI for our research and trial purpose. With his great innovations we could achieve fantastic results using SPOT PROCESS TECHNIQUE and we could print dramatic photorealistic images on white and dark garments

Take care and have a great week ahead.

Bhargav

For the first time in the world Exclusive Workshop on Textile (Garments) Screen Printing

I am proud to announce that DMI (Dhirubhai Mistry Institute) will be the first institute in the world to conduct 3 DAYS exclusive workshops on Textile (Direct-to-garment) Screen Printing for FREE.

The information given below will give you complete idea about the content of my next workshop scheduled 5 to 7 April 2012.

Register soon… Limited Seats…

Bhargav

nano-printex was a show stopper @GTE12 New Delhi

March 1, 2012 1 comment

On its debut, our most innovative product of this year, Grafica’s nano-prinTex “print easy” world’s first automatic direct-to-garment textile screen printing machine manufactured without problematic pneumatics or complicated hydraulic systems made its presence felt with a bang at the recently concluded Garment Technology Expo (GTE – 17-20 February 2012) in New Delhi.

nano-prinTex has really opened its innings with thunders from the day we launched this fantastic product. Soon every garment screen printers will realize the benefits after using this machine. Its not just that I am fully confident about the quality and consistency of our products but I strongly believe that this machine will speak on its own. Its such an amazing machine, highly comfortable and so easy to use that you will just like it as much as I do.

It’s my humble request to all garment screen printers that do not waste your hard earned money buying any expensive machine without seeing Grafica’s nano-prinTex because trust me Grafica’s nano-prinTex will give you better quality output and speed at a much lower investment.

SO THINK ABOUT YOUR ROI FIRST before making any quick decisions.

With this morale booster exhibition and our stepping stone for success we are now preparing ground to launch Grafica’s nano-prinTex at KnitWorld to be held from 16-19 March 2012 at Dana Mandi, Bahadur Ke Road, Ludhiana in the state of Punjab, India.

 
 

Meanwhile, I am thankful to all my customers and well wishers who visited us at GTE (Garment Technology Exhibition) at Okhla, New Delhi to witness live demo of nano-prinTex. I am especially thankful to all B2B media who gave wide coverage in their ‘daily show bulletin’ as well as in their regular magazines. 

I am also preparing contents and samples for my first three days workshop at DMI (Dhirubhai Mistry Institute) exclusively on direct-to-garment textile screen printing scheduled from 5 to 7 April 2012. I would say it will be world’s first comprehensive workshop on direct-to-garment screen printing with live demo on our nano-prinTex.

If you are a textile screen printer than hurry up register your name for DMI’s exclusive workshop on direct-to-garment textile screen printing.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

See you soon at KnitWorld, Ludhiana from 17 to19 March 2012 at Dana Mandi, Bahadur Ke Road, Ludhiana.

“Print Easy”

Bhargav

Last chance to register for Print Summit 2012 – DO NOT MISS

February 16, 2012 1 comment

Hi Everyone,

Progress in business cannot be achieved overnight and it also cannot be achieved only by investing in new technology, visiting exhibitions, attending technical seminars etc.

To progress in business its equally important to learn from India’s most successful entrepreneurs of printing industry, how they built their multi million empire from scratch.

Here is rare chance to meet and listen to many such successful printers.

Also get a chance to meet large print buyers from corporate sectors who will explain what are the current trends and requirements in Printing & Packaging to meet the global challenges.

Even its important to know from them what they expect from you as a print supplier.

YOU CANNOT MISS THIS PRINT SUMMIT 2012 which is a rare opportunity no matter how big or small printer you are.

Bhargav

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