Read on to find out more about the latest technologies available for this screen-printing specialty.
By Harald Gavin
High-quality, direct-screen-printed images add appeal to glass or plastic containers and bottles, as well as a variety of tubular products. For those who market beverages, cosmetics, and personal-care products, maximum shelf impact is critical, and well-executed decorations are an ideal way to attract attention to their goods. Print buyers in these markets look for images that feature more colors, higher resolutions, and very accurate color-to-color registration (Figure 1). In many cases, they also want to use bottles and containers with sophisticated shapes.
Satisfying these demands poses a continuous challenge for screen printers, especially with the large run lengths that such jobs frequently entail. But manufacturers of screen-printing equipment have answered by developing advanced, new machines for printing on three-dimensional items. These systems enable screen printers to excel in their competitive markets and meet their customers' needs.
In this article, we'll look at the latest generation of screen-printing equipment for containers and other 3-D products. The discussion highlights two families of machinery: mechanically driven presses for printing at very high production speeds and servo-based units for printing onto a wide range of complex-shaped containers. We'll consider the basic functions of these devices and explore the innovative features that can be found in both types of equipment.
Mechanically driven presses
The latest improvements to container and 3-D screen-printing machines were helped by advances in mesh materials, mesh weaving, coating materials, squeegees, and inks—especially UV inks. These developments make it possible to print at high speeds without losing fine details and without significant wear to screens and squeegees that would necessitate frequent machine stops to replace these components.
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