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Using Quality Control to Manage Misprints

(August 2011) posted on Tue Aug 23, 2011

If high rates of seconds are increasing your costs and creating unwanted downtime, have a look at the quality control remedies Davis discusses for each stage of the garment-printing process.


By Rick Davis

Press setup
Controlling variables on press can sub-stantially reduce reject rates in your operation. As odd as this may sound to some, one of the most important press variables to control is squeegee durometer. Using squeegees with a standard durometer will play a big role in ensuring quality prints and timely execution of a production run. Press operators need to have a thorough understanding of the effects that different squeegee durometers can have on the finished print.

Facilities that make use of multiple squeegee durometers often mix and match different squeegee types on the same job. Doing so results in slower setup times and actually adds more variables to the process, which all leads to a higher seconds rate. The simple solution is to select the best squeegee durometer, blade profile, edge shape, and so on, for each of your most common applications and stick to these squeegee parameters. When you attempt to use a variety of squeegees in the same job, you lose production time.

You should use similarly standardized practices when setting off-contact and when registering screens. Additionally, keeping your equipment clean, lubricated, and well maintained will go a long way to preventing problems that lead to misprints.

Dryer concerns
Although the dryer is seldom considered to be the tool that generates a significant number of seconds, quality problems do occur—sometimes on a much greater scale than you anticipate. When you fail to properly maintain the dryer and carefully adjust its temperature and belt speed for each job, you’ll notice more and more scorched or undercured prints coming into the picture.

Conducting a wash test will determine whether the prints are undercured. Garments with this problem can usually be cured again at the proper levels to overcome the problem. But once a garment is scorched, it is toast.

A properly maintained dryer will not require much adjustment for standard wet-on-wet printing, as long as the appropriate and regular maintenance on the unit takes place. In many cases, this is little more than a routine cleaning of the air filter and air knives on forced-air drying units.

Seconds to spare
Too many printers react to trouble by making random adjustments to their equipment in hopes of producing fewer seconds on a particular job. You can exert a much greater deal of control over the quality of your work by implementing quality-control procedures and eliminating the variables they bring to light.

Rick Davis is the president of Synergy Screen Printing in Orlando, FL. A 27-year veteran of the textile-printing industry, Davis is a member of the Academy of Screen Printing Technology and has a background that spans production management, artwork engineering, application testing, and industry consulting. He is a frequent contributor to trade publications and a speaker at industry trade events.

 


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