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Better Garment Printing through Squeegee Consciousness

(April 2009) posted on Thu Apr 23, 2009

Despite its important role in the screen-printing process, the squeegee often doesn

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By Tom Davenport

The point is that you have to think about how thoroughness impacts your costs. If you are the experienced printer reading this article, and you think that this section does not apply to you, think again. More than likely, this scenario occurs on a somewhat regular basis and your employees either don’t understand or don’t care about the impact of this kind of carelessness. Simply put, cleanliness saves time, energy, and money.

Sharpening I cannot stress the importance of owning, and more importantly, regularly using a squeegee sharpener in your facility. I believe that if you own an automatic press (or any press, for that matter) you should also own a squeegee sharpener. If you do not own a squeegee sharpener, take a walk onto your production floor, and watch a job printing on press. Pay attention as the squeegee strokes across the screen. Take a moment to inspect the squeegee side of the screen; do you see a thin layer of ink coating the emulsion? Use your finger to touch the residual ink coating left on the screen, do you see a noticeable amount of ink on your finger? If so, your squeegee requires sharpening. You can also inspect your squeegees by running your thumb across the squeegee blade. If you cannot feel the ridges of your finger print, your squeegee requires sharpening.

Will a dull squeegee still push ink through a screen? Of course it will. The problem is that dull squeegees require excessive pressure during printing and a slower stroke speed to properly shear ink. Excessive squeegee pressure can lead to a multitude of problems, including poor image detail, misregistration, and more. Slower stroke speed generally results in slower overall production, which means you’re not operating efficiently. Properly sharpened squeegees, on the other hand, allow for increased production efficiency and better print quality through minimal squeegee pressure and a faster print stroke.


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