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By Rick Davis
System standardization is a fairly straightforward process. As it applies to the screen-printing process, standardization is required to the greatest degree in the areas of pre-press operations. In the screen room, processes that demand standardization are screen tensioning, degreasing and rinsing, coating, exposure, and washout. Each step of the process requires training, documentation, and enforcement. These steps will smooth the workflow throughout and maximize quality, consistency, and productivity.
You must establish optimum tension for each screen mesh that you use. Once you establish these levels, be sure to document them all and keep your records in a master procedure file. You also should mount this documentation in the work area in a step-by-step format. Your documentation should be straightforward and plainly worded so that anyone introduced into that department could follow the instructions to produce a screen that meets the set standards. This procedure not only ensures a consistent screen, but it also minimizes the need for excessive supervision over a new position. The employees should be able to walk themselves through the processes with minimal intervention.
The same procedures apply to the remaining parts of the screen-production process. The areas that require the greatest enforcement are those where the bad habits of shortcuts may come into play under heavy production periods, when time is at a minimum. The most prominent place where screen quality suffers is in insufficient rinsing once you’ve degreased the screen. Although the process of rinsing the screen with a high-power pressure washer can be a tedious one, it is crucial to the longevity of the screen on the press. Properly executing a procedure like this ensures maximum production efficiency on the press and contributes to the overall efficiency of the production flow within your facility.
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