Make the most of your screen-reclaiming efforts by following the tips presented here.
The process of de-hazing is this: Apply a small amount of the haze remover onto a brush and scrub both sides of screen frame. Let it sit for one to three minutes. You will see the haze lift up and break apart. Rinse it off with water and, finally, rinse with a pressure washer. Of vital importance: Remember to rise the water off first so that when you use your pressure washer, the remover will not splash back at you.
This process also enables the printer to actually de-haze multiple screens at a time. By the time the last screen is brushed, the printer is able to return to the first screen, rinsing it with an even, back-and-forth action motion with a pressure washer. Finally, let the screen dry.
Aluminum screen frames and quality polyester mesh are not inexpensive, so it’s important that a printer get the most use out of them (Figure 4). By following the steps outlined above, especially the de-hazing and degreasing sections, the printer can help extend the life of the mesh and spread the initial investment in a screen out over many, many print runs. Proper storage of screens when not in use is also of utmost importance. Using an industrial-grade rolling rack that accommodates screen sizes of 20 x 24 in. and 23 x 31 in. can help you cut down on the potential of broken mesh
Keep an eye on your hands
Screen cleaning and reclaiming can aid in ravaging hands! When the last screen is reclaimed, it’s an advantage for printers to use a product that will help to heal and soothe hands. Plenty of products are available to clean hands, prevent moisture loss, and rehydrate skin.
Gregory Markus is president of RhinoTech, www.rhinotechinc.com.
As with any business, the main focus is the bottom-line. By incorporating the following steps into your workflow, you will save time, money, and effort involved in the cleaning, reclaiming, and reuse of screens. Remember, we are screen printers! If we are not printing, we are not making money. This is as critical for the one-, two- and three-person shops as it is for the large screen-printing companies. In summary:
1. Use a good, eco-friendly product that does not cost more than traditional cleaning products. Generally, you will use less of the eco-product per use as compared to a conventional product.
2. Investigate, compare, and invest in a recirculation system. A recirculation system generally holds 15-20 gal of screen wash and works to filter out ink pigments, cleaning the screen wash for reuse many times over. Another advantage is that it is a system to move you toward environmental compliance.
3. Take the leap to purchase a dip/soak tank that will hold stencil remover. Why, you ask? Because a dip tank allows the printer to reuse the stencil remover many times over instead of just letting it run down a drain each time it is sprayed onto a screen in the washout booth.
4. Invest in a filtration system. You will be infinitely grateful that you chose to purchase this system, and it’s much less expensive than a plumber! Emulsion is a thick substance, and you do not want to take the chance of clogging drain pipes and septic fields. Finally, a filtration system will help you comply with local, state, and federal rules governing what goes down the drain.
5. Invest in a heavy-duty pressure washer. With this system, you save by not having to replace homeowner-grade units every six months or a year. You will speed up screen-cleaning/reclaiming efforts and, again, save lots of money to spend on other screen-printing equipment, supplies, and accessories.
6. A printer’s goal is to distribute costs over many projects. For example, a 20 x 24-in. aluminum screen frame with 110-thread/in. mesh range runs $22-26. Reusing that screen for 25 different jobs makes the per-screen cost per job approximately $1. This is the ultimate reason why taking care of screen frames is a vital business practice.
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