Dot gain is a challenge for garment screen printers, whether the job involves four-color process, simulated process, or index separations. Decorating textiles means working with surfaces that are 65-90% solid, which leaves a 10-35% chance of missing a printable surface.
One great way to elevate the level of detail and quality that a screen printer can handle is to look at reproducing fine-art designs onto garments. The challenge to re-creating fine artwork tends to relate to the fact that styles and media have to be simulated through some form of halftone to be printed onto the garment. An additional challenge to fine-art reproduction is that it may cost more time in hours and effort than most of the profitable work that comes in the door. Having a standard setup that can qualify the order up front can prevent headaches in production.
Happy 100th birthday, screenprinting!
Graphic Parts International (gpiparts.com) says it has the solution for screen printing accurately and quickly on difficult styrene, foam board, and other malleable substrates: High Tolerance Stay-Flat Vacuum Tables. The company says the tables are manufactured using a proprietary process that sets the industry standard for flatness and performance, are built around an all-aluminum honeycomb core for maximum airflow, and are covered with the thickest top and bottom plates for extra strength. G.P.I. also offers a stainless-steel surface and a phenolic tabletop.
Roland DGA Corp. (www.rolanddga.com) announces the arrival of the VersaUV LEF-20, a new addition to its line of flatbed UV inkjet printers. At 20 in. (508 mm) wide, the LEF-20 features an LED curing system and accommodates direct printing onto 3D items such as pens, golf balls, mobile-device covers, and guitar bodies. It supports objects up to 20 in. (508 mm) in length, 13 in. (330 mm) in width, and 3.94 in. (100 mm) in height. Roland says a built-in laser pointer allows for easy setup, while advanced printhead technology ensures photo-quality output up to 1440 x 720 dpi.
Automotive designers are discovering that film insert molding (FIM) now offers much more than the usual dashboard interfaces. Led by the European market, FIM is enabling designers to achieve striking results all around the vehicle that add value, enhance the brand and, ultimately, boost sales.
The wide-format-digital market remains a growth business. Growth comes from two major sources: the conversion from analog to digital and expansion in digital-printing applications.
I recently picked up the guitar again after an 11-year break. Nothing serious, more like Willie and the Wheelchairs—just a group of guys getting together. In the old days, as a youngster, I used to wear out records, playing a part over and over again, lifting the needle arm and dropping it, writing down lyrics, chord progressions, or trying to work out a lick. Most everyone, from Elvis on, seems to have learned to play rock this way.
SOS From Texas (www.sosfromtexas.com) now offers a baby blanket that it describes as super soft, chemical-free, and made from certified organic cotton. The cotton is only washed, not bleached, the company explains. The blanket measures 32 x 40 in. (813 x 1016 mm), and SOS From Texas reports shrinkage averages approximately 15%. The blanket can be decorated with screen printing or embroidery. It is American made, SOS says, from the cotton processing to the knitting of the fabric to the cutting and sewing. Trim colors come in natural, pink, and yellow.
The G3 digital cutting solution from Zünd (www.zund.com) now features tandem vacuum operation, a feature the company says increases workflow efficiency, keeps idle time to a minimum, and provides maximum productivity. With the tandem setup, the working area of the cutter is divided into two independently controllable vacuum plates in front and back. Each side is equipped with controls for turning the vacuum on/off and for resuming the cutting process.