I strongly feel that the printing technology institutes in India should now learn a great lesson from Clemson University, USA, who are using two Grafica’s nano-print plus to teach advanced screen printing process to graphics students.
I salute Patrick Rose, Senior Lecturer of Clemson University, who has taken a commendable initiative to promote advanced screen printing and keep this versatile printing process alive.
The Printing Institutes in India show somewhat step motherly attitude towards ‘screen printing’ process. The syllabus makers and institutes seem to have totally neglected screen printing as if it is an out-dated printing process.
Much against the tremendous advancement taking place in screen printing, I often hear from printing students that the institutes still teach screen printing using out-dated methods. That is exactly why, as a manufacturer of screen printing machines, Grafica has taken the responsibility of imparting education and training to printers and printing technology students through our DMI Institute.
The Department of Graphic Communications, Clemson University, USA, has recently installed 2nd Grafica’s nano-print plus, a semi-automatic screen printing machine which does not require compressor or have any pneumatics inside.
As his summer teaching session came to an end, Patrick Rose, Senior Lecturer, Department of Graphic Communications, Clemson University, USA, shares why they invested in two nano-print plus.
What was the objective of installing one more screen printing machine? (While many other institutes still have just small manual screen printing table to teach screen printing):
Both Nano-Print Plus machines replaced two older (1987) machines. We wanted two alike machines for more efficient and consistent teaching.
Why such aggressive educational initiative is needed by investing in technology to teach students?
We have a hands-on intensive program. Although we do not expect students to operate presses later, we want them to have the experience so they can better be managers of people who do operate presses. About 50 students so far since December have used the Nano Plus machine for a 4 colour print.
As an academician what did you like, feature wise, in this machine? Your experience with nano-print plus?
Great experience! I like how quiet they are and the precise nature of their operation. We were looking for a similar size to the machines was replaced. We also wanted a machine that did not require compressed air to operate. We also liked the fact that the screen never tilts, causing the ink to run to one end. The Nano Plus is a unique hybrid of a clamshell and a 2 post pillar type press.
What are your teaching contents?
4 colour process. It is the first printed process colour product our student do- and it is screen printed!
Your views about screen printing … its potential, future and scenario in the US: There will still be screen printing in the future! In the USA screen printed posters and letterpress cards and stationery are becoming quite popular! People want the feel of the texture of screen ink and letterpress impressions. There are also special applications of screen printing for “”functional”” materials used in electrical circuits as well as electroluminescent (EL) displays.
Trend No. 1: Fast changing image of screen printing:
The very mobile or high end smart phones or iPods, tablets that you are holding in your hands have the imprints of screen printing. The helmets you wear, the bike you ride have designer decals on both sides; the car you drive has the speedometers and dashboards – all screen printed. If you are a cricket fan, notice that almost every bat has multiple designer stickers screen printed, and t-shirts, helmets, PVC cheer sticks, balloons, or flags that the cricket fans are holding in the stadium – all screen printed. And do not forget, we are living in high technology electronic age. Every electronic product that you use has a PCB (printed circuit board) inside, screen printed of course.
A high level team of printing company engaged in automobile and aeronautic decals printing and high end graphics, walked into Grafica’s stall at Gulf Print & Pack’13 in Dubai. During the discussion, the gentlemen did not mind sharing with our team that they have as many as 30 semi – automatic and fully automatic screen printing machines! This is the quick glimpse of fast changing trend in screen printing.
So, screen printing is more than what people may tend to think about printing visiting cards, letterheads, invitation by using out dated and tedious method what we call “manual screen printing”. Screen printing is an artistic as well as technology oriented process. From its age-old method, ‘silk’ screen printing has transformed into an advanced technology.
Its distinct advantages: It has its own distinct advantages: versatility, suppleness, wide range of applications, brightness and solidity of colours of outdoor applications, possibilities of special effects in graphic and textile; and wide range of presses available for different applications – Multi – colours press very large size for graphic applications; Multi-colours rotary screens to print textile in roll; possibility of combination with other imaging or printing process (offset, digital, etc.).
The visual impact that screen printing process can create is simply incredible. The durability of the inks, the vibrancy of the colours, especially considering the harsh outdoor weather conditions for outdoor applications such as automobile decals, helmet stickers, indoor/outdoor advertising display boards, etc, (it withstands sunlight, rain, snow, wind, etc).
Applications, unbound: Screen printing has wider applications in commercial graphics (packaging included), industrial (almost every industrial segment needs the imprint of screen printing process), garment decoration and textile printing as summarised below. (It is virtually impossible to list out total number of applications of screen printing process).
• Value addition on offset printed commercial and packaging.
• Stationery • Sports goods
• Art (Serigraphy)
• Cosmetic containers
• Toiletry containers
• Wooden products
• Glass & ceramics
• Plastic Cards, Credit Cards
• Foot wear
• Ladies/Mens/Kids wear printing (full fabric printing)
• Textile printing
• Heat transfers/Tag-less labels
• Jute bags
• Cloth bags
• Garment tags, stickers
• Packaging for Garments/Saree/clothing
• Automotive decals
• Automobile meters
• Parts of electric appliances
• Membrane switches
• Liquid crystal display
• Automatic vendors
• Metal name plates
• Print Circuit Boards (PCBs)
• Hybrid Circuits
• Solar Cells
• Mobile keypads, iPod, iPads
• Medical patches and many more…
Trend No. 2. Advancement in screen printing technology comes of age:
“Necessity is the mother of all invention.” And that applies to screen printing as well.
So, now there are:
1. Screen printing machine (semi-automatic or fully automatic – alas NOT MANUAL tables anymore!)
2. Screen making set up thatincludes: polyester yellow mesh or fabric (alas NOT nylon mesh anymore); fabric stretching unit with tension meter; aluminium frames (alas NOT WOODEN FRAME anymore), emulsion coating equipment; screen exposing machine; screen drying unit, and other accessories.
3. The screen that is the imagecarrier (considered the ‘heart of screen printing’)
4. Squeegee (the ‘heart of thescreen printing machine’) supported by a ink coater
5. The substrate on which youprint which depends on the job. (Screen printing process can be used to print on numerous paper and non- paper substrates – both semi- rigid and rigid – pvc, wood, glass, tile, ceramics, fabric, metal, etc).
6. UV Inks, varnishes, UVspecial effects (and emulsion and chemicals needed for screen making) (to be forbidden solvent ink wherever possible since it is hazardous)
7. Drying system to print,depending on the ink used (UV curing, IR/Jet Air/Wicket Dryers as against racking system which requires huge space.
8. QC tools (like tension meter, UV thickness meter, spectrometer, etc)
Trend No.3 : Emergence of Multi-process printing solution & fast spreading value addition concept:
It is believed that screen, offset and digital printing will co-exist for different types of jobs. These days, many offset printers are ‘falling in love’ with screen printing as witnessed by us during various printing exhibitions. In the last couple of years we received more visitors from offset, packaging and digital than screen printing.
1. Digital-screen combination: This is yet another good sign. There are many digital printers who have also screen-printing units to meet the market demand for ‘total print solution’.
2. Offset-screen combination for VALUE ADDITION:
3. Digital, offset, screen combination.
There has been a growing trend of many offset printers and packaging printers embracing screen printing process for carrying out print finishing in house instead of depending on outsourcing.
Why value addition?
Sharjah based Silver Point Printing Press has recently bought one more Swing Cylinder Press with inline UV from Grafica to meet the non-stop and growing demand for value addition which is offered with the application of various decorative UV to give touch and feel effect over duly commercial and packaging jobs.
In today’s highly competitive business environment, print buyers are certainly looking for something different which really differentiates them from their rivals. Ultimately, the packaging in a shelf carries its look, its power of attraction for the consumers, and eventually the feeling of touch, or we can rightly say, today packaging is all about sensation – look, touch, feel, smell. Same principle applies to all commercial jobs other than packaging – value addition is a must.
The most promising is the use of a wide range of ‘special effects’ thanks to the think tanks in the screen printing industry driven by FESPA, an international association of various national printing associations including India.
UV Special effects currently used in the market are:
• Commonly used UV Matt and Gloss
• Fluorescent (glow in the dark)
• Scents / Rub and sniff
• Glitter (silver and gold)
• 3D reflective
• Rough finish
• many more…
Trend No. 4: Focus on Quality, productivity & Standardisation:
Today, with automatic precision machines, it is possible to get a result that years ago would have been a pipe dream. For example, by manual screen printing reproducing photorealistic images on t-shirts was next to impossible, but now with automatic direct to garment textile screen printing machines, garment printers are able to print what the customers want with speed and accuracy.
In India, many of the large screen printing units are matching to international standards, and beyond, in a competitive marketplace because of use of high-level equipment and high – priced consumable supplies.
The industry (customers) allows minimum tolerances for the rejection besides mandating for Just in Time production and deliveries. Today, there exist different systems designed to help the screen printers to achieve better result. But it revolves around the simple concept or standardisation of the entire screen printing process.
Also, Screen printing industry is now waking up to the reality of UV-age. More and more screen printers are now adopting UV and dumping the foul smelling solvent which many feel a curse to the screen printing. Yes in some areas such as decals and industrial printing UV has not made successful inroads and still they have to use only solvent inks.
Shift from manual to automation: In the last decade, there has been steep increase in the number of screen printing machines and UV curing system (also screen making set up) sold in the last couple of years than it was five to ten years ago. There has been a big shift from manual to semi-automatic and now fully automatic system. More and more printers are now adopting automation and using quality raw materials, process standardisation, documentation of parameters for each job since in screen printing every job is a new job involving unique process parameters, use of materials (inks, chemicals, mesh, etc) with different specifications.
Over 50 companies engaged in garment manufacturing as well as garment printers (job workers), and also jute bag manufacturers, have installed our automatic direct to garment screen printing machine along with complete screen making system who had huge manual long tables.
Trend No.5: Growing urge for Education and training:
Screen printing is now quicker, cheaper, produces better quality images and offers a number of special applications. Having advanced machines in place is not sufficient to run a profitable screen printing business. Being able to truly master printing high quality images, using the screen printing process, also takes much longer, because there are a number of variables involved.
Since we started workshops (always houseful with average 50 participants) in our DMI institute in 2006, till today over 2000 printing professionals (owners and staff) from India, USA, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, etc, (screen, offset, packaging, flexo, textile printing segments) attended our 3-day workshops. They were of the opinion that without proper knowledge, screen printing technology cannot be used in a profitable manner.
I would conclude by saying that while technology is the lock, education is the key to unlock the numerous opportunities in screen printing. I leave the screen printers to decide whether to take both (technology and education) or anyone! Those who grab both will stand winners in the market.
Key to success is technology adoption and knowledge up gradation!
“Two years ago, when I saw some wonderful creative samples at DMI institute, I realised the potential of screen printing process … I strongly believe, in screen printing every step is a ‘science’. So without learning this ‘science’ nothing can be printed qualitatively. By learning new techniques we can assimilate it in our daily practice. Mr. Narendra Paruchuri,
Managing Director, Pragati Press, Hyderabad
“You simply redefined the “Screen Printing Industry” of India to a different dimension. In the last six years your institution and activities have grown to multiple folds and you created significant mark in the chosen field. Nobody in India has approached screen printing so seriously and you created an international bench mark for the Indian screen printing industry..” Prof. Dr. Rajendrakumar Anayath, The Technological Institute of Textile & Sciences, Bhiwani, Haryana
Enjoy this cool Sunday…
My Dear Grafica Customers & DMI Participants,
I am pleased inform you that FESPA has recently announced it’s most prestigious “FESPA 2013 Premier Awards Competition” which is now open for all Screen & Digital Printers across the globe.
In India this competition is supported by SPAI (Screen Printer’s Association of India) to support all screen & digital printers.
Winning this prestigious award will change the image of your organisation in the global market.
So rush your best screen printed entries to SPAI office in Mumbai and on your behalf SPAI will send your entries to FESPA LONDON for competition. You will have to pay very nominal fees to SPAI for sending your entries from Mumbai to London…
I have listed few products that are eligible for competition for your ready reference:
1. Advertising (POP’s POS, Graphic Posters)
2. Screen Printed T-shirts & Garments
3. Wedding Cards or any invitation/greeting cards
4. Commercial screen printed products
5. Screen printed Electronic & Industrial products
6. Glass & Ceramic Tiles and Transfers
7. Textile Heat Transfer Stickers
8. All types of screen printed stickers and labels
9. UV special effects
10. Automotive dials and decals
11. Screen printed Cd’s & plastics components
12. Screen printed Foot wear
And any other products that are either screen or digitally printed can be sent for competition.
Last date to receive the registrations: 25th March 2013
Last date to receive the entries: 25th April 2013
For more information about FESPA 2013, LONDON show, FESPA Premier Awards kindly visit www.fespa.com
Grab this opportunity and take active part in the FESPA 2013 Premier Awards Competition.
Hurry up and send your entries to SPAI office in Mumbai.
For any quick assistance please contact SPAI office (+91 22 66939747) or email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
My best wishes are always with you…
Important Note: If you are a screen or a digital printer outside of India still you can participate in this competition but in that case you need to contact FESPA.com directly and I am sure they will guide you how to participate in this competition…
Here are some ‘New Year Resolutions’. I am sure the industry will see “A BIG CHANGE” if these ‘Resolutions’ are followed.
Here we go…
1. Adopt automation to improve productivity.
2. Pay attention towards value addition whether its graphics or garments because that’s where the profit lies.
3. Screen is the heart of printing, so do not compromise on screen making equipment, emulsions, mesh & chemicals.
4. Use only polyurethane squeegee rubbers and sharpen the edge regularly to decrease ink consumption.
5. Maximise the use of UV Inks where ever possible (for graphics, industrial and commercial screen printers).
6. Maximise the use of Water Based Inks, PVC FREE – Phthalate Free Plastisol Inks (for garment screen printers)
7. Use only Yellow Polyester Mesh of high quality.
8. For halftone screen printing use dual-cure photopolymers emulsions and for better sharpness and quick exposure use SBQ photopolymer emulsions.
9. STOP wooden frames and use only aluminium frames
10. Work towards standardisation.
11. Pay attention to avoid. rejections and reduce wastage
12. Spend money for education and training.
13. Visit all printing related exhibitions to keep pace with the latest trends & technology.
14. Have concern for environment, safety, energy savings and other cost saving measures.
My message to screen printers who are into job work:
* Pay more attention towards quality and productivity and do not buy cheaper and substandard raw materials, because today labour, electricity and overheads are more expensive than those cheaper raw materials. Purchase raw materials and develop vendors/supplier who can provide better service and knowledge.
My message to all garment manufacturers who are having in-house printing unit:
* Use only high quality inks and forget ink cost, because the ratio of ink cost is very negligible considering the entire production cost of garment, even if you buy the most expensive ink. Because print sells…
Remember, to bring change in the industry, we need to change.