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Print Process Descriptions: Printing Industry Overview: Screen Printing

Many factors such as composition, size and form, angle, pressure, and speed of the blade (squeegee) determine the quality of the impression made by the squeegee. At one time most blades were made from rubber which, however, is prone to wear and edge nicks and has a tendency to warp and distort. While blades continue to be made from rubbers such as neoprene, most are now made from polyurethane which can produce as many as 25,000 impressions without significant degradation of the image.

If the item was printed on a manual or automatic screen press the printed product will be placed on a conveyor belt which carries the item into the drying oven or through the UV curing system. Rotary screen presses feed the material through the drying or curing system automatically. Air drying of certain inks, though rare in the industry, is still sometimes utilized.

The rate of screen printing production was once dictated by the drying rate of the screen print inks. Do to improvements and innovations the production rate has greatly increased. Some specific innovations which affected the production rate and has also increased screen press popularity include:

  1. Development of automatic presses versus hand operated presses which have comparatively slow production times
  2. Improved drying systems which significantly improves production rate
  3. Development and improvement of U.V. curable ink technologies
  4. Development of the rotary screen press which allows continuous operation of the press. This is one of the more recent technology developments
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