Screen printing has proven itself as an effective method of decorating three-dimensional items and unusually shaped products at high production speeds. This article introduces the printing systems used for such jobs and the innovations they feature to accommodate challenging products.
By Harald Gavin
The direct decoration of three-dimensional products and items designed with uneven surfaces is a job best suited to screen printing. Presses engineered for this purpose can handle multi-stage processes, such as applying UV inks and ceramic enamels, and have stations dedicated to various process stages, including loading, surface treatment, positioning, printing, drying and/or curing, and unloading. Such screen-printing lines are optimized at every stage of the decoration process, thereby making them uniquely suited to complex, independent movements that require accuracy and repeatability.
Here you’ll find an overview of screen presses built specifically for decorating containers and other 3-D products and learn what to expect from the latest generation of machines. The discussion will explore mechanically driven presses for printing at high production speeds and servo-based systems for decorating challenging products. You’ll also have the chance to familiarize yourself with basic functions, advanced features, and some important operational considerations.
Mechanically driven presses
Mechanically driven, multicolor screen-printing machines can achieve very high production speeds and produce high-quality printed images on 3-D items. But mechanically driven systems have two disadvantages: mechanical drive elements are limited in the variety of shapes they can handle, and if every fixture is linked to the main drive, the rotations of the fixtures in any station of the machine are the same as the rotations of the fixtures in the printing stations.
Process stages such as item orientation and print inspection can, in many cases, only be accommodated by de-clutching the fixtures’ drives when the fixtures are in the orientation and print-inspection stations. Separate electrical drives with friction wheels in these stations drive the de-clutched fixtures independently from the main drive.
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