Posts tagged ‘printing’
Come join us at the ISS Atlantic City Show starting this Thursday, March 23rd – Saturday, March 25th at the Atlantic City Convention Center. John Levocz will be in attendance, so be sure to connect with him there.
Don’t miss our latest products showcased at our distributor partners’ booths:
Davis International, Booth 1437
Nazdar Source One, Booth 729
See you there!
Catch the luck of the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day!
Try out our 700 Series direct plastisol screen printing inks in these various greens:
777 Lime Green
775 Dallas Green
733 Kelly Green and
776 Dark Green
Can you suggest some approaches to building a darkroom for a screen-printing shop that has a limited floor space? This was a question posed by a Printwear reader, and here is Kieth Stevens’ response:
A booth can often be constructed of black plastic sheeting, which is relatively cheap to purchase. Choose a location close to the washout area to minimize exposure to light. Simply construct a 1′ x 3′ wooden frame and determine where to place the entry to the dark room. Staple the plastic to the frame and overlap some plastic to create the “door.” By overlapping the plastic sheets, it will minimize the light coming through during entry and exit. Also, be sure that the plastic cover reaches to the floor to block out light completely.
Another way to create a darkroom with limited space is to repurpose an existing room. For example, if the bathroom is not too small, turn it into a dual-purpose room. Repurposing a closet is also a great way to make use of the space you have.
Stand in the darkroom prior to use to be sure that there is no light leaking into the room. It may be necessary to block out minute shafts of light coming in through the bottom or sides of a door. Use plastic sheeting or light-blocking curtains to eliminate any light contamination. Consult your emulsion manufacturer as to which lights would work best and add a dehumidifier. In such a closed room environment, your screens will dry faster and more thoroughly when moisture content is controlled.
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.
In an article that was recently featured in Screen Printing Magazine’s October/November 2016 issue, and on Screenweb.com, Kieth Stevens gives us some tips on printing on today’s modern fabrics. Here is Part 3 of the article.
Popular, profitable, and often a pain in the neck to print, the latest fashion fabrics can present quite a challenge to shops accustomed to printing standard plastisols on all-cotton garments.
Typical plastisol inks cure between 315 and 330 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn’t a problem when printing on cotton substrates. With synthetic performance fabrics, however, such temperatures might be an issue. Beyond dye migration, the garments may even shrink or become deformed. A low-cure additive will allow you to reduce the curing temperature to around 280 degrees Fahrenheit to give you some breathing room.
Always test a garment before a full production run, first to make sure an unfamiliar fabric can withstand the curing temperature, but also to ascertain that the ink is fully cured. A wash test is an ideal indicator of how well the ink is cured. Under-cured ink will wash off – if not entirely, then surely in several spots, most likely in the center of a design. In addition, the ink shouldn’t crack when the fabric is stretched. This could be a sign of under-curing, though with the newer low-cure inks for performance fabrics, it could be a sign that the curing temperature was too high.
Another type of print flaw might not be apparent to consumers until they try the garment on. Many of the newer fabrics being used today, especially for athletic wear, can’t hold up the weight of a standard print like the old cotton standbys. Some garments are so light that even a small print can make the decoration hang or drape stiffly. For these garments, use finer meshes with higher quality inks to reduce the weight of the ink deposit. This makes the design not only look better, but also feel more comfortable when worn.
Heavier garments, on the other hand, may be more prone to a defect known as fibrillation, in which yarn fibers from below the ink surface come through the ink film after washing, making the print appear fuzzy. Certain types of yarn, notably 100-percent cotton but also 100-percent acrylic and acrylic/cotton blends, are more prone to fibrillation than others. The best way to control it is to make sure the ink is fully cured and consider using a slightly coarser mesh count to deposit more ink. Using a matte-down screen after flashing the underbase will also help keep the fibers down and the surface of the print smooth.
Work uniforms present different considerations. More companies today have their logos or slogans screen-printed onto their uniforms rather than embroidered – a nice source of new business for some shops. However, uniforms must withstand an industrial washing process that is far more aggressive than what a standard consumer garment requires. Using a nylon-style catalyst when printing uniforms can dramatically improve the durability of the ink deposit, enabling it to withstand many industrial washes.
Garments with irregular or bumpy surfaces, such as zippers and hoodies, pose unique challenges when these features must be printed over. Often, printers have to improvise a solution in order to get the job done, and it may mean creating a custom platen that conforms to the irregular surface. I once made a platen out of quarter-inch aluminum to fit bobby socks so I could print designs like poodles and dice on the cuffs. Some strategically placed cardboard may also help minimize the bump caused by zippers and buttons.
Finally, fabrics designed to hold up in outdoor conditions can be problematic. Typically, printers use catalysts to help bond the ink to nylon fabrics, but many don’t know that catalysts can also help with especially difficult substrates such as certain polyester outerwear materials and the synthetics used for backpacks. Test it when you’re dealing with a problem fabric to see if it works. Another tip when you’re working with water-repellent fabrics: Try dabbing a little rubbing alcohol over the area to be printed. This may remove some of the water-repellent coating so that the ink with the catalyst can better adhere to the garment.
Test, Test, Test
Here is my motto for delivering the best possible outcome for your customer: Thoroughly test all prints and shirts before committing to costs and production methods. Never relax and assume that everything will run like the last time, even for a repeat job. A printer once told me that their customer supplied them with the same nylon jackets as a previous order, yet this time the jackets bled through the white print. What the customer did not tell them was that they had switched manufacturers, so instead of printing nylon again, the shop was dealing with a dyed polyester fabric. That turned out to be a costly mistake, as the bleeding was not discovered until several days after they had completed the job.
Everyone is looking out for themselves and you should be no different. A good customer will understand and appreciate your caution. They may even refer you to others because your service stands out.
Is it important to really know the cost-per-screen for your business? This was a question posed by a Printwear reader, and here is Kieth’s response:
It is important to know the cost-per-screen in your shop since the health and profit of your business depends on it. Costs generally stay the same but can vary depending on what type of ink you use. For example, some special effects inks may be more expensive than regular inks and if you print inks that require a heavier emulsion deposit (high density for example), the extra cost for the emulsion also needs to be factored in.
In general, ink costs-per-shirt are relatively low, approximately five cents-per-shirt. To calculate costs-per-screen, factor in the cost of the emulsion (total cost of emulsion divided by the number of screens a bucket will coat), which typically averages to about one dollar per screen. Then calculate other screen-making costs such as tape, film, and the cost of time and labor to prepare a screen.
One sure way to keep costs under control is to make the screens right the first time. This is one of the most important things to control. Fixing issues like pinholes or ghosting costs time and money and create delays in production.
The cost of materials for production is very important, but keep in mind that the old saying still is true: “You get what you pay for.” What’s the point of saving a few dollars on a gallon of ink or emulsion if it slows down your production in some way? I’ve been at high-volume plants where they used cheaper ink, yet they had to stop the production every hundred prints or so to clean off the screen due to build-up. It’s what you ship out that you get paid for and if you ship less, then you get paid less. Saving a dollar can cost you hundreds, if not thousands, in the long run.
Combat Your Toughest Dye Migration With Guardian Gray™
International Coatings is proud to introduce its ultimate bleed blocker: Guardian Gray™ 7043. Guardian Gray™ 7043 is a revolutionary bleed blocking underbase that protects against dye migration (bleeding) on even the toughest polyester and performance fabrics, including highly volatile sublimated polyester substrates such as camouflage prints.
Guardian Gray’s™ proprietary formula uses a unique hybrid technology to combat dye migration and stop it in its tracks. In addition, Guardian Gray™ has a wide curing range of 275°F – 320°F (135°C – 160°C), making it suitable for use on a wide variety of ink system top coats and substrates. Guardian Gray™ is fast flashing and prints beautifully through 86-160 t/in (34-63 t/cm) screen mesh.
Recent beta tests at independent print companies delivered outstanding results. Guardian Gray™ 7043 was easier to work with than other bleed blockers tested and yielded better blocking results, especially with hard-to-block sublimated polyester fabrics.
Here is a recent tip from Mark Brouillard that was published in Printwear:
Flashing ink is a standard practice in the industry, especially when printing a white underbase on a dark substrate. However, many printers are unaware that they actually can over-flash their inks. So what, you may ask? Isn’t the purpose of the flash to cure the ink so that other colors can be printed on top?
The purpose of the flash is to get the ink to a “gel” state so that the next coat of ink printed on top of it does not pick up the flashed color. It may also be used to help minimize the amount of wet ink accumulating at the back of the next screen. Most inks achieve a gelatinous state when the ink reaches 180 degrees F to 200 degrees F, depending on the ink. The ink film should just feel dry to the touch, not completely cured. Test the flash by slowly working up to the proper temperature.
As production progresses, keep an eye on the temperature as the platens heat up and the flash temperature or distance to the substrate may need to be adjusted. When the ink is over-flashed, it can cause inter-coat adhesion problems with the subsequent ink layers, meaning the other inks printed on top may not adhere fully to the over-flashed ink layer. The inks may become very tacky, peel off the over-flashed ink, or even partially wash off.