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What if Screen Didn't Exist?

(January 2016) posted on Mon Jan 11, 2016

Those who believe that screen printing is on the wane are mistaken – mostly because they’ve forgotten the fundamental things that make the process unique.

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By Andy MacDougall

Our special "SWOT: Changes & Challenges" issue brings industry experts together to consider strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to screen printing. Here, MacDougall prefaces the "Opportunities" segment of our exploration.

Let’s pretend for a few minutes that Screen Printing (the magazine) doesn’t exist, because screen printing (the process) was never invented. Now imagine some smarty pants comes along and invents an analog production process that can be used by a wide range of manufacturers in distinctly different economic sectors – not just in your town, but worldwide. This process is simple, with three components that are all easily acquired, and it’s scalable, as they like to say in angel investor land.

What if that process were present in every cell phone, car, and consumer electronic device?

What if it were also used in the manufacturing of solar cells, hydrogen fuel cells, and all sorts of conductive interfaces?

What if the process could help make an array of medical devices and life-enhancing products?

What if it could stimulate art, culture, and local economies – all while creating new jobs in cities, towns, and villages around the world?

What if it could transfer a graphic onto almost everybody’s shirt, from the local bowling team to the World Series champs? That’s a lot of shirts, and a lot of images.

What if the process could decorate the majority of textiles used to create dresses, bed linens, and tea towels worldwide?

What if it were ultimately used to find an inexpensive and universal alternative to oil and coal, and had the potential to eliminate CO2-emitting power sources?

What if it allowed pieces of paper to be turned into $20, $100, or even $1000 bills – legally?

I may be some hick living on an island in the Pacific, but in this world of startups and “next big things,” a single process that could do all of these things would be PDA (pretty darned amazing). Its unique nature and wide-ranging uses would present some incredible opportunities to individuals, businesses, and society in general.

So let’s stop pretending: This process already exists, and it is called screen printing. We have, through our involvement as owners, suppliers, printers, and clients in the screen-printing industry, complete access to all the capabilities it presents.


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