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 • 65 product but how the ink behaves during the printing process. "Typically, when printing on plastic substrates, you want to use an air-dry ink," suggests Caleb Morgan, Social Media Marketing/Webmaster, Texsource Screen Printing Supply. "These have similar properties to water-based inks in that they can easily dry on your screen if you're not careful to flood in between prints. Air-dry inks are ideal for sign printing because of the short cure time. Color FX offers a high-quality, air-dry ink solution, even a phosphorescent ink." Digital Versus Screen It's probably unfair to compare wide-format digital print- ing with screen printing. Even though the layperson may not be able to distinguish a finished-product digital print from a screen print, shops realize the discrete differences. One wouldn't employ screen printing for a massive building wrap, for example. "With wide-format printing, you're able to print things like large wall graphics/stickers, vinyl banners," explains Morgan. The two disciplines are "apples and oranges" when placed side by side. Yet, advancements in digital printing have had an impact on screen printing, as sign professionals will admit. "Absolutely they have," says Marcotte, "with automation and solvent or UV inks, the digital world has been able to take a large portion of the market and even have become many shops' preferred outsourcing method." Digital printing is useful in both wide- and small-format projects, depending on the size of the printer. And with its increasing popularity comes some wariness for screen printers. "Shops with wide-format and flatbed printers are usually able to output at a higher pace, as well as track their per unit material costs much more efficiently," continues Marcotte, "making them a force to be reckoned with in the industry. It's not an 'endgame' for traditional screen printers, but it is something that we will continue to see the market shift more and more towards." However, there can be benefits to the presence of digital printing's decline, if looked at through an optimistic lens. "I feel digital printing has impacted screen printing posi- tively in that screen printing is not needed any more to do the things that the digital printing process excels at," explains Landrowski. "I feel screen printing can now be used in areas that it was intended for." Make sure your operational area is clean and able to accommodate screen printing equipment. (Image courtesy of Total Ink Solutions)

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