Survey Report: Trends, Technology, and the Graphics Screen Printer

Find out how your company compares to 100 other graphics screen-printing businesses by reviewing the results of our printer survey.

Of all the screen-printing markets we cover in this publication, none has experienced more upheaval during the past decade than the display-graphics segment. Besides contending with stiff competition and increasing customer demands for quick turnaround, short- run lengths, and higher image quality, graphics screen printers have had to make difficult decisions about their production processes and the technologies that support them.

The advent of digital-imaging equipment hasn't made matters any easier. Now, in addition to screen-printing presses, graphics shops must decide from an assortment of other technologies, many of them unfamiliar. And they must make their decisions promptly--before hungry new competitors with backgrounds other than screen printing sweep in and steal their business away.

So how have screen-printing companies reacted to these circumstances? We decided to find out by conducting a survey, one that paints an accurate picture of the modern graphics screen-printing operation based on the technologies and business strategies it employs. Ultimately, our goal is to help readers make the right choices in their own equipment investments by showing where other shops have focused their attention and how those businesses were affected by the decisions they made.

We started our survey by identifying hundreds of graphics shops all across North America, using sources like our own subscriber records, trade-association membership rosters, and similar tools. We concentrated on screen-printing companyies that produce mid- to large-format applications, such as signage, banners, posters, decals, P-O-P graphics, and other promotional displays. The shops, located all over the US and Canada, were also selected based on the likelihood that they regularly produce process-color graphics.

Next, we came up with 13 questions for our survey group. The questions related to the types of printing equipment respondents currently use, what equipment they plan to acquire in the future, how digital printing is affecting their businesses, and how much printing they do with various technologies. We contacted the printers on our list via telephone and collected their responses to our questions during live interviews. In total, exactly 100 screen-printing com-panies participated in our survey.

On the following pages are the results of our informal study. Rather than make extensive generalizations about these findings, we've decided to let the numbers do the talking and let you draw your own conclusions. Keep in mind that while this information is based on responses from a relatively small group of participants and may not be reflective of this market as a whole, we believe the results represent trends in equipment selection and use that are mirrored in other graphics-printing companies of similar size and focus. Also note that results are tallied by number of respon-ses, but the values can be considered percentages as well since the survey group consisted of precisely 100 companies.

Special thanks to Screen Printing magazine's junior editors Anne DiNardo and Lori Leaman, who conducted all of the telephone interviews for this survey and contacted more than 300 screen printers in order to gather the information presented here. 

Survey Results:

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