Just like baking a cake, drying a screen requires that you follow a specific recipe.
By Mick Orr
2. Another screen shop also operates in cramped quarters, but features a room built specifically for the purpose of screenmaking and includes filtered fluorescent lights (yellow lights) to reduce the chance of inadvertent exposure. There, properly tensioned screens are coated with a quality coating trough. After coating, the screens are dried in a cabinet that provides further protection against light exposure. The screen- maker keeps the cabinet temperature set on "hot" (it features additional settings of "low" and "medium" that have never been used). Since the shop is relatively busy, the screenmaker has an inventory of screens ready to use at all times, and some may sit idle for long periods before use.
3. A sophisticated print shop busily churns out screens to meet a demanding production schedule. The company has been careful to lay out and plan each area of its operation to provide the highest levels of efficiency and quality. It has a light-safe coating room where properly stretched, clean screens are coated on an automatic coater. The screens are dried and stored in a separate temperature- and light-controlled room. Inventories of coated screens are always on hand for emergencies and rush jobs.
These examples demonstrate the varying degrees of importance that screen printers assign to proper screenmaking, and more specifically, proper screen drying. What separates these companies isn't the level of automation, the size of the operation, or the volume of work they produce. The real difference is the degree to which they've standardized their procedures to be correct and consistent.
Screen drying involves more than just making sure emulsion is dry to the touch. It requires attention to the coating process, understanding of common drying procedures, and knowledge of the conditions that must be present in order to achieve reliable coated screens on a consistent basis. In this article, we'll explore these procedures and conditions and how to implement them correctly in your operation.
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