Evaluating squeegee materials for quality and performance on press is one of the keys to successful screen printing. This article describes material formulations, essential vocabulary, and criteria for making effective comparisons.
By James Elliot
Your goal is to find a product that meets your needs and delivers what you feel is the best available value given your particular emphasis on performance or price. Some printers use extremely harsh ink chemistries, others print long runs, and some produce commodity goods and focus on margin. You’ll eventually reach the point when you won’t realize any improvements without doing some in-house comparison of materials. Here are some suggestions to help you gain the most from such comparisons.
Apples-to-apples A simple principle, but probably the most important one of all for testing. As mentioned earlier, make sure the durometers are equitable, but do not stop there. Make sure to start with fresh material of each brand and run in the same type of ink for the same type of print parameters for the same number of impressions. Make sure the number of impressions and stroke lengths are the same and that the times in and out of the ink are the same. The list can be as long as you care to make it, but the guiding principle is everything needs to be exactly the same for each sample being tested.
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