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Eliminating Variables in the Screenroom

(June 2013) posted on Wed Jun 19, 2013

Standardization is a key part of preventing costly quality-control issues on press.


By Rick Davis

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Although film has been the norm, the introduction of DTS has shown numerous benefits. The initial investment in a DTS imaging system can be costly, but it can pay for itself within the first year in film savings alone (depending on your facility’s work volume). In addition, the productivity of these units, which was once rather slow, is now increased dramatically. You also have the ability to have a DTS imaging system calibrated to align your screens with whatever registration system you may use on your press. I highly recommend this because it minimizes the setup and registration time of any production run, regardless of whether you’re running two colors or 12.

In the last facility I established, I had my frames locked into place with a three-point registration system. This was again correlated to the registration system on the press. Setup time was as low as 15-25 minutes on a multicolored graphic.

Although DTS imaging represents the latest and most efficient means, of imaging, you should keep your film system active and functional in case any issue with the DTS system arises. Should you wish to remove the film procedure from the production process altogether, you can always go with two DTS units, thereby ensuring ongoing productivity. Otherwise, is it a good move to keep the film process functional as a backup system to the DTS.

Screen exposure
The next area needed for the screenmaking department is the exposure room. Screen-exposure units have been modified to stay in tune with the diversifying screen imaging systems (Figure 3). Facilities using strictly DTS systems will use exposure systems with no glass or vacuum (they are not needed). Because the image is already in direct contact with the stencil, there is no need for either a glass table top or a vacuum to keep the image (film) and stencil in contact with each other. This also eliminates the issues that glass brings to the table, such as light refraction, scratches that can reproduce on the screen, and—worst of all—broken glass.


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