Tips for Cutting-Edge Garment Graphics in High Volume
How high will you stack your high-density ink? Should the gel print be highly domed and glossy or flatter, like a laminate? Do you require a thick deposit of suede ink, or should it be softer and smoother? These are the questions that you should ask at the design stage and answer long before you allow the job to go into production on an automatic press. Ideally, you should answer these questions before the job order goes to the screenmaking department, because the parameters you specify determine the mesh and stencil you’ll need to use.
Pose the same questions you ask of ink manufacturers to mesh and emulsion manufacturers. The variety of prepress products available, while not typically as extensive as ink, is still quite varied. Emulsions with long shelf and screen life are as common as capillary film and as easy to use. Developments in the manufacturing of emulsion and mesh systems mean that the low-resolution bar set for screen printing is raised, thereby making your ability to hold a smaller, sharper dot much more realistic.
A word about curing
Proper ink curing is always an important matter, but the ways in which you use your dryer when you work with special-effects prints can dramatically influence the final appearance of your printed garments (Figure 3). Screen-printing inks are heat sensitive, but you can put this sensitivity as it applies to special-effects inks, to good use. Adjustments to dryer temperature influence loft and texture produced by modern blowing agents, the glossy or matte finish of gel inks, and more.
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