Achieving proper registration at the front end of your production workflow is critical for reducing setup time and boosting profits. Trimingham discusses how you can reap the benefits of such a system.
The usefulness of a registration system is proportional to the amount of time a printer spends setting up jobs. If a printer only prints one-color images and has long runs, then the system isn’t an issue. But savings are substantial for the majority of screen printers who run an average of two to four colors on every job in medium to smaller runs. Each registration system has elements for the different departments. The most popular registration systems use films created with registration points and several level and top lines that aid in alignment (Figure 1). These top and bottom alignment guides are then used to attach each positive onto a carrier sheet with pin holes in the top. These pin holes align with pins on an artboard in the art department and identical pins located either on the screens or on the exposure unit. Advanced systems also include a press element that locates the screen on the platen based on the pins.
The art department
Starting registration in the art depart-ment is key when the printing shop is distanced from that department or has operators that don’t typically talk to the artists about each job. In a larger company the location and registration of the print on the garment has to be established before it arrives in the screen department; otherwise, the operator of the exposure unit will end up making garment-location choices with the artwork. Proper registration in the art department is even more important now with the trend for placing prints in alternative locations. Such layouts can be difficult to place—even for experienced operators.
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