Sign & Digital Graphics

June '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • June 2019 • 63 of substrates—not just textiles—and the finished product is typically simple to install and move, if necessary. But one of the biggest difference makers with screen printing resides with the ink. Latest Offerings "Over the last decade we have seen inks become healthier to be around, but oftentimes in exchange for ease of use," says Matt Marcotte, Regional Sales Consultant, T&J Printing Supply. As trends shift and technology improves, it is important that quality does not take a hit. In ink production, manufacturers have found ways to make products safer but also more compatible with screen printers' goals. "Some of the easiest inks to use in the past were some of the most toxic solvent inks," continues Marcotte. "However, with the many updates to the ink chem- istry, inks like UV inks have become very popular. We don't have to worry much about them trying to dry in our screen. As long as we have a good UV dryer, we fully dry our inks and the usability is super simple." The concept of a faster-drying ink is very attractive to screen printers. It allows them to increase production time while also improving color quality and durability. And this leads to a more effi- cient shop in general. "I think LED technology could be a very positive change for the industry in the future," says Landrowski. "Reducing energy consumption on equipment and allowing UV inks to be cured without excessive heat created by mercury vapor technologies. The cost of LED curing devices will have to come down for this technology to likely be more viable used in more screen printing segments of the market." The benefits that UV inks bring to screen printing cannot be ignored. Neal Steward, Digital Department, DKMSales. com/RealEstateSigns.com, stresses that, "The most significant development has been in UV-cured inks that are replac- ing the use of most solvent-based inks, reducing VOC exposure to press opera- tors and the environment." For the end product, these inks also allow for more variety in all of the com- ponents of the sign. "The newer formulations are more versatile and will adhere to a wider range of substrates," Steward shares. "This allows us to stock colors in only a few lines of ink." Because the latest versions of inks can be used so freely among substrates, screen printing has expanded to include more projects. Popularly thought of as a means to create custom t-shirts, sign makers have also reaped the benefits of screen printing processes. "As with each ink, materials are infi- nitely variable and require a knowledge of each in conjunction with the ink to make sure the results are what you are looking for in the specific application," states Landrowski. "Both visually in A multi-color graphics screen printing press that can print and cure up to six colors. (Image courtesy of The M&R Companies) Over the last decade we have seen inks become healthier to be around.

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