May '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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5 0 P R I N T W E A R M A Y 2 0 1 9 SHOULD I PUSH OR PULL? Finally, we need to examine how we apply the ink: push or pull? This is like asking which computer brand, phone, or even soft drink is better. Everyone has their opinion. My answer to this is that there are times in which each will provide the advantage. For instance, when printing a large area on a manual, the natural peel of the screen is outside-in, thus a push motion is very efficient to allow the screen to peel away from the substrate as the squeegee passes over the image. The disadvantage to this action is the fact that the squeegee has become more of a hammer than a subtle tool, so ink flow is lim- ited and can require a second stroke to completely clear the screen. Halftone images may also suffer from excessive dot gain with this method of print. When printing simulated process with dark colors on light fabrics and normal sized graphics, I tend to use the pull method. This gives greater control of the pressure being used to clear the screen along with utilizing the full potential of the squeegee to apply a good de- posit. The operator should be very careful to flood the image well to help with this method. The off-contact should be set to allow peel from the inside-out on the press. Printing over large under-based areas are especially sensitive to the peel action. Either way, the idea is to create a clean print utilizing a good flood, a controlled print stroke, and an adequate peel. If these three pa- rameters can be established with the suggested criteria from the ink manufacturer, there is a high chance for success that the plastisol ink will perform well. This procedure proves out as true on manual or automatic equip- ment, and is the pathway to clean, consistent quality application. Knowing the relationship between the fabric, ink, and print will help an operator on any press. The subtle adjustments that will make a print work or transform a good print into a great one are directly related to this parameter. No matter the quality or price of the ma- chine used to print the garments, if an operator becomes a craftsman on-press and makes the changes necessary to achieve this relation- ship, the final result will be great. PW Ray Smith has been in the screen-printing industry since 1978. He has been involved as an art director, production manager, plant manager and business owner. He re-joined Wilflex in 2008 as the applications lab manager and is presently technical field rep specializing in product demos, plant evalu- ations and applications training. Contact him at For more about plastisol inks, check out Joe Clarke's break down at PLASTISOL INK Above: It is best to print with the least amount of pressure while al- lowing a clean print. Left: When printing on a manual, the natu- ral peel for the screen is outside-in. If the screen does not separate from the image as printed, the screen can become attached to the print, thus lifting the fabric or creating an undesirable surface.

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