Screen Printing Tip of the Week: How ‘Tools’ Impact Ink Performance

May 21, 2013 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

squeegeeThe following Screen Printing Tip of the Week  by Kieth Stevens was recently published in Impressions Magazine.
For the most part, standard plastisol inks in today’s market are fairly similar, although some products may perform better than others due to formulations and better raw materials used.
What differentiates how an ink performs compared to another? Is it really just the ink or are other factors playing a part?
One critical aspect is the technical support and service that a printer should receive from the manufacturer. Know-how and skill are powerful weapons that can turn a “so-so” print into a great print.
What has the most impact on how inks perform is not necessarily the ink itself, but everything else that is used in the printing process.
Each piece of printing equipment or accessory becomes a powerful “tool” that printers have in their arsenals. From mesh selection (thread count, diameter and tension), emulsion selection (type, cure, thickness and exposure) and squeegee selection (profile, durometer), to off-contact, flood, squeegee stroke speed and pressure, each factor can affect the resulting print.
Knowing how each tool affects the outcome of a print and how printers can mix the variables to suit their needs is paramount to how the ink ultimately will perform. It is important to learn as much as possible about each piece of equipment and accessory from the manufacturer or supplies distributor, and to know how each piece can change or modify print quality.
Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs. For more information, visit and read the company’s blog at

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of phthalate-compliant screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whites, specialty inks, special effects inks, color matching systems, additives and reducers.  For more information on our products, please visit our website at

    International Coatings:     The Intelligent Choice

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