Proven advice for industrial applications and other situations where delivering less-than-flawless prints isn’t an option.
By Mike Young
One could reasonably argue that the latter job was over-engineered based on the client’s specs, a subject we’ll revisit. But the example demonstrates why frame size does not always influence the acceptable maximum image size, as additional tolerances (print or otherwise) must be met according to the job specifications.
Secret #2: Mesh Makes a Difference
I learned a long time ago that many printers do not fully comprehend screen fabric geometry, at least beyond the mesh count and thread diameter of the fabrics they use. In fairness, an experienced, knowledgeable person selected those products, and they worked – it’s understandable why awareness of mesh stopped right then. The truth is those meshes may have met the necessities of that time, but as we’ve discussed, the challenges in today’s marketplace have changed radically and will continue to do so. What was adequate in the past may not necessarily be so today. The only way to know is to put newer fabric grades to the test.
Many of the finer meshes may not have been around when the current products were chosen. Not that long ago, these fabrics were woven for filtration purposes. They were designed to filter out particles, while our objective is to deliberately force particles through them. Since then, fabric mills have stepped up by adding higher mesh counts with finer thread diameters to their lineup, specifically to satisfy critical applications.
Screen printing was once widely hailed for its ability to lay down thick, solid, opaque coatings – and it’s a continued strength. Many of the recent innovative applications, however, require a more subtle ink deposition, often a tightly controlled, uniform depth; smoother topography; uniform tint/translucency; fine detail without clogging; blemish-free lines/curves (minus sawtoothed/serrated edges); and much more.
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