SCREEN PRINTING PROCESS
Screen printing is probably the most versatile of the printing techniques, as it can place relatively heavy deposits of ink onto practically any type of surface with few limitations on the size and shape of the object being printed. This unusually thick ink deposit provides superior abrasion and chemical resistance, along with the ultimate in light fastness (ability to resist fading). The screen print process at VMS provides the ability to print variable thicknesses of ink with a high quantity of pigment that generates brilliant colors, back lighting effects, and durable products that are capable withstanding harsh outdoor weather conditions. Unlike many other printing methods, substrates for screen printing can include all types of plastics, papers, fabrics. While screen printing does compete with other printing techniques for some products it has a specialized market niche for many graphic art materials and textile printing applications.
Screen printing uses a porous mesh screen with an ink-resistant image on its surface as a template to transfer ink to substrates. The type of material used to make a screen depends on the substrate being used as well as the desired appearance of the product. Screen preparation begins by tightly stretching and securing the material in a rigid frame so that it is level and smooth. Non-image areas of the screen must be blocked and image areas open to allow ink to pass through to the substrate.
The image can be transferred to the screen manually, but it is more common to use a direct coating photomechanical stencil, which consists of an emulsion applied to the screen’s surface. The emulsion is spread and leveled either manually with a squeegee or automatically. When the coating has hardened, stencil is applied and the screen is exposed to UV light, that causes a photochemical reaction and makes the emulsion insoluble. The inactivated emulsion, which is still water soluble, is rinsed off. A rubber-type blade (squeegee) is swept across the screen surface, pressing ink through the uncovered mesh to print the image defined by the stencil.
DIGITAL PRINT PROCESS
VMS’s flatbed presses are ideal for a wide format graphics printed onto ridged, sheeted surfaces such as polycarbonates, while the HP Latex 3000 is ideal for wide format graphics and vehicle wraps and graphics that are printed onto vinyls, fabrics, or similar rolled substrates.
The HP Indigo sheet fed is used to print onto smaller sheets of ridged substrates such as polycarbonates while the HP Indigo Web Series is a press designed specifically for the production of digital prime and roll labels for the industrial consumables market.
Roll labels are finished using a semi-automatic rotary die press which cuts, kiss cuts and slices each roll label into usable products based on the end user’s application method. Application methods include hand applied labels and machine applied labels.
VMS also has several other finishing machines. and each is suited for a specific type of job and material. In the future VMS will continue to expand its digital printing capabilities.
VMS’s sales staff is happy to provide additional information on VMS’s digital printing capabilities as well as the overall print process. We can also assist you with specific questions you may have regarding your unique project and how our products and services can fit your specific application.