Images Magazine Digital Edition August 2018

TIPS & TECHNIQUES a print to get better opacity. Some shop production managers have a ‘secret recipe‘ for the ink to improve a print. Curable reducer, chino base or extender is added for smoothness, while sometimes even a percentage of puff ink is added for opacity. It is all a gigantic waste of time. Band-aids all. Remember this, my friends: the keystone to profitable screen printing production is your ability to create a perfect, production-ready screen on a consistent basis. It‘s how the high performing shops put distance between themselves and the competition. Using the right tools Time, then, to take a closer look at why print shops are failing to produce perfect screens. Often, it’s because they’re not using the right tools. W hat’s the biggest problem facing shops that screen print apparel? Here’s a clue: this problem gets ignored most of the time and blame is probably assigned to something else when your print isn’t looking like it should. Is it the ink? Maybe the press? The garments you use? It’s none of the above. The biggest problem in your shop and in the apparel decorating industry is screens. You can’t have great screen printing without great screens, and yet they are often overlooked in the process for some reason. Every day people stand around their presses trying unsuccessfully to dial in a print, trying to figure out why it looks so bad. They adjust the pressure, change the squeegee, play with the ink and the off-contact. They will double-, or worse, triple-stroke Shops tend to skimp on the screen room and opt for flashier things instead, like a better press. That’s where the investment goes: when we can’t get enough of our orders printed and out the door on time, maybe adding another press will help. Except that nobody stopped to look at the daily downtime or amount of impressions printed each day by the presses already on the floor. How much of that downtime can be attributed to a problem with your screens? What percentage of the inefficiency in production is caused by having to double-stroke a print to get decent coverage? For many (most?) shops, quite a bit! They just don’t know that because nobody is tracking and analysing the information. Here’s a simple tip: less downtime equals more production. 32 images AUGUST 2018 SCREENS The biggest issue in your shop Go back to basics if you want to move up a level, says Marshall Atkinson, in the first of his two-part guide to mastering the art of screen-making