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Boosting Garment-Printing Efficiency

(July 2012) posted on Tue Jul 10, 2012

Use the following tips to control the variables most commonly encountered in garment screen printing.

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By Dawn M. Hohl-Nowlin

Stencil exposure
Underexposure is one of the most common problems in the industry today. Incorrect or inconsistent exposure can create costly problems in production, including stencil breakdown on press, excessive pinholes, sawtoothing, loss of detail, inaccurate image reproduction, and reclaiming difficulty.
An exposure calculator simulates between up to ten different exposures with incremental neutral-density filters, all on the same piece of film (Figure 2). A single exposure can give us all the information we need to determine the correct exposure for a given set of conditions. Chances are you have an exposure calculator in your screen room right now, and chances are it is rarely used.
Successful screenmaking requires the use of this tool on a regular basis. Each stencil/mesh combination must be tested. Exposure times vary with stencil thickness, stencil brand/type, mesh count/thread diameter, exposure lamp, and exposure distance. Each combination will yield a different result. Even after establishing a correct exposure time, regular tests should be made to double check accuracy and confirm exposure-lamp operation.


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