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Slam-Dunk Solutions for Screen Cleaning

(August 2013) posted on Tue Aug 20, 2013

Make the most of your screen-reclaiming efforts by following the tips presented here.


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Emulsion/stencil removal
This is the first and last job anyone wants to perform. But, as a necessity, it is important to seek out and test products that will remove emulsion and capillary film from screens as efficiently and happily as possible and without harming the screen mesh. Again, look for a product that is eco-sensitive, biodegradable, and ready to use—or one that can be diluted with water. Also look for a product that performs well in all climates.

Start the reclaiming process by propping the screen in your professionally built, polypro washout booth. Wet the screen on both sides. Apply emulsion remover onto the screen. Using a wet scrubber pad, scrub the stencil on both sides (Figure 2). You will notice that it will begin to break down the stencil. Let it sit for a minute or two, enabling the remover to work. When removing the stencil from a number of screens, apply the remover to all of the screens. Once completed, return to the first screen, blast it with a pressure washer (Figure 3), and continue down the line until all screens are finished. Important note: Do not let the stencil remover dry on the screen! This will cause many emulsions to harden, making it almost impossible to remove after that.

Because the emulsion is a thicker product, similar to the consistency of glue, this is the time to consider installing a filtration system. This will prevent all particles 5 μm and larger from going down the drain.
Removing haze/ghost images is achieved though using an eco-sensitive product that is formulated to remove embedded UV-, conventional-, and plastisol-ink residue from the screen after emulsion removal. It effectively lifts the haze and embedded ink from the mesh, then emulsifies and dissolves the ink resins, binders, pigments, plasticizers, etc. The solution suspends resins, so reattachment to the mesh surface is prohibited, allowing for water-rinse removal.

Try to choose a haze remover that is biodegradable so that you will be fully compliant with all rules and policies in your own community regarding what you can dispose of down the drain and through a septic system. The routine use of haze remover helps to ensure that no stains will build up on each other, making it more difficult to clean later. The haze remover (also an excellent degreaser) will not harm mesh.


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