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Predicting the Near Future for Screen Printing

(December 2010) posted on Tue Nov 23, 2010

This article presents useful predictions from exhibitors at SGIA.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Gail Flower

Fred Rosenzweig, President
EFI, Meredith, NH
Screen has long been under the pressures of shortened run lengths driven from the demand of marketers to more closely target their messages. This has driven a demand for shorter runs, more customized versions, and more regionalized requests all demanding fast turnaround. Screen printing was designed as a relatively long run printing process. With an initial make-ready that may cost $1000, per four-color inline version, jobs that had few versions and long run lengths were perfect for screen printing. With the continued move to targeted marketing and the introduction of high-speed, high-quality digital print, we will see more and more screen printers adopting digital to profitably serve the needs of their customers. We do think that one-color screen printing will continue as a viable offering and for the remaining long run demand the existing screen printing capacity should be able to accommodate this volume. We do not think many additional screen printing presses will be sold, but instead be replaced by digital.

Jennifer Bowman, Marketing Communications Manager
MacTac, Stow, OH
What we’re seeing is a convergence of printing flexo-guys doing labels now. Printers are converging and crossing over into digital. All that’s happening surrounds digital technology. Printers try to be a one-stop-shop for their customers.

Ben Reutter, Business Development Manager
Transfer Express, Inc., Mentor, OH
I think we’ve seen a lot more automation in the last couple of years and I expect that to continue. I expect more screen printers to be using computer-to-screen units and more automated screen exposure and cleaning. In terms of inks, I think we’re seeing more specialty inks, and ink manufacturers are producing much better specialty inks than they did three to five years ago. I think more environmentally friendly inks are available now. Most screen inks are already lead- and phthalate-compliant, but I expect that to be the norm in the near future as more environmentally friendly inks become available. Mostly customers seek a way to stand out—through pearl prints that are shiny, unique stretch fabrics, and glitter. Fashion changes constantly.

Jim Sause, VP
Agfa Graphics, Ridgefield Park, NJ
Right now many printers are doing just what we’re doing: acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and joint ventures.


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