Leaders in the field reveal what they think about the challenges ahead for the industry.
The origins of screen printing can be traced back to China’s Song Dynasty, a period covering the years between 960 and 1279 AD. The printing technique was introduced in the Western world in the 18th century after silk became a more popular trading commodity. The rest, as they say, is history. Other forms of printing have come and gone during this time—the linotype machine, for example—while screen printing continues to evolve to meet the needs of modern society. But that doesn’t mean that the evolution will continue as it is today and that the future is assured.
We’ve asked several industry experts to give us their take on where screen printing is headed for the coming years and what factors will likely shape its future. Their experience covers a broad range of subsets in the industry so we were able to get a panoramic view of the landscape that is just over the horizon. Commercial and industrial printing dominated the conversations, but experts also commented on screen printing’s continued relevance in the arts community and for do-it-yourselfers. You may agree or disagree with their insights, but you’ll probably agree that it is a useful conversation to have.
As a consultant to screen printers throughout the world, it is Mike Young’s job to find ways that the industry can remain relevant and necessary in the face of newer technologies and processes. He’s been at it for more than 40 years and recently spent two months studying the matter in over 28 marketplaces. Young believes that screen printing must continue to evolve to meet new needs and demands as they develop.
“The challenge, as I see it, is acquiring quality, up-to-the-minute screen making techniques and advance process training. This is specifically to meet newer complex and demanding screen-print requirements that manufacturers need to fabricate a finished product; something that is widely inadequate or entirely absence. To meet these exceptional and intrinsic printing obligations, oftentimes, either as a three-dimensional coating requirement or precise uniform ultra-thin deposition; the screening process is taken to a new plateau in execution and performance, but the industry at this level sadly lacks the necessary skills to reach quality objectivity in an acceptable comfortable and profitable manner,” Young says.
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