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Print Process Descriptions: Printing Industry Overview: Screen Printing

Flat-bed and Cylinder Presses

Flat-bed and cylinder presses are similar in that both use a flat screen and a three step reciprocating process to perform the printing operation. The screen is first moved into position over the substrate, the squeegee is then pressed against the mesh and drawn over the image area, and then the screen is lifted away from the substrate to complete the process. With a flat-bed press the substrate to be printed is positioned on a horizontal print bed that is parallel to the screen. With a cylinder press the substrate is mounted on a cylinder (Field and Buonicore).

View image of a flatbed press

Rotary Screen Presses

Rotary screen presses are designed for continuous, high speed web printing. The screens used on rotary screen presses are seamless thin metal cylinders. The open-ended cylinders are capped at both ends and fitted into blocks at the side of the press. During printing, ink is pumped into one end of the cylinder so that a fresh supply is constantly maintained. The squeegee is a free floating steel bar inside the cylinder and squeegee pressure is maintained and adjusted by magnets mounted under the press bed. Rotary screen presses are most often used for printing textiles, wallpaper, and other products requiring unbroken continuous patterns. 

View image of a rotary press

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