How should you reclaim screens for screen printing? The key is developing a process that is documented and repeatable. Bill Hood shares the template he uses at print shops to dial-in their reclaim process.
Remember: good screen prints start with good screens. It's called screen printing, after all!
An understanding of the operations of the screen printing process – no matter how complete – is not sufficient!
A system is needed to assure repeatability.
Creating instructional workflows is one such system. It should include all of the functions and activities that relate to that task.
Screen printers must be aware that maintaining this systemic view is critical to understanding these functions and the interrelationships among them. In short, you must understand the entire organization!
This Screen Reclaiming Procedure Workflow is an example of a simple system that provides checkpoints for repeatability.
Use this as a template for constructing your own workflow!
Screen reclaiming works like a water wheel.
One part of the process leads to another in an infinitely repeating system. A consistent screen reclaiming procedure will ensure your press operators are never waiting on screens!
The screen reclaim process always begins by removing leftover ink from the screens.
Removing old emulsion is essential. Complete removal of leftover emulsion ensures your screens last longer and your prints are higher quality.
Ghosting can ruin screens, causing printing errors and spoilage. Having a step in the process to check for ghost images (and remove them) ensures that ghost images are not an unpleasant surprise that's discovered on press – or worse, by your customer.
Screen tension is a variable that print shops must take control over.
Introducing this step into your reclaim process ensures that your shop's screens always have consistent tension. This, in turn, leads to higher quality prints through more consistent ink application. This turns quality assurance into an ongoing part of your shop's daily routine.
Degreasing your screens improves their longevity and reduces the risk of chemicals damaging your mesh.
How you store your screens is just as important as how you reclaim them. Screens need an uncontaminated environment with limited temperature changes. Isolate your reclaimed screens away from lint, dust, inks, and chemicals.
Many options exist for screen storage. The simplest may still be the best: a sealed wooden rack.
Bill Hood has spent most of his life learning every aspect of screen printing technologies. As a business owner many times over, Bill has served as practitioner in segments across the screen printing field. Today he mentors and coaches high-achieving business owners and their staff. Bill is determined to create phenomenal success through efficiency and productivity. You can reach Bill on his website, Bill Hood Consulting.
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