Screen printing - buyer's guide

Screen printing, also known as silk screening or serigraphy is one of the earliest forms of printing. Screen printing inks are used to print multi-colored or black and white images on textiles, wood, silicone rubber, fibers, ceramics, glass, plastics, papers and metals. Because of its versatility and cost effectiveness, commercial screen printing is applied in many industries.

What is screen printing?

Screen printing uses a mesh woven with silk, nylon, polyester or other synthetic fibers. An ink-blocking stencil is applied on the mesh or screen that is stretched on a frame of wood or aluminum. The parts that are not covered by the stencil form the pattern that will be printed. A squeegee or roller is used to spread the ink over the stenciled mesh.

Industries where screen printing is applied

Screen printing is a cost effective means of printing and still popular in many industries in spite of the advent of digital printing. Some of its applications are:

Textile screen printing

The textile industry has been using screen printing since a long time. Rotary screen printing and flat (bed) screen printing are the most popular techniques used in textile printing.

Screen printing on garments

Screen printing is a popular technique of transferring images and designs onto readymade garments such as T-shirts, vests, team shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, caps, trousers, jackets, undergarments, etc.

Ceramic screen printing

Decorators use screen printing to adorn ceramic and glass articles with ceramic pigments, precious metals and other ornamental materials.

Chinaware screen printing

The chinaware industry uses innovative screen printing techniques to transfer designs onto complex shaped surfaces.

Screen printing for product labels

Screen printing can be used to label products - logos, warning labels, CD covers, etc.

Screen printing for printed electronics

Screen printing is used to print low cost and low performance electronics used in flexible displays, animated and decorative posters, active clothing and smart labels.

Screen printing in the circuit board industry

Screen printing is not new to the printed circuit board industry. Conductive pastes are screen printed onto flexible substrates. Advances in screen printing technologies allow the construction of complicated circuits. Printing machines and screen masks can screen print 20 micron line/space already.

Thick film technology

Screen printing is used in thick film technology for the production of electronic devices such as hybrid integrated circuits, sensors and surface mount devices. Successful layers of special ink are deposited onto an electrically insulating substrate thrrough a screen printing process.

Screen printing for balloon art

Balloon art is used by many marketers and entertainers. Logos, attractive designs and images can be screen printed onto balloons.

Screen printing medical devices

Permanent adhesion inks are used for screen printing on medical devices such as tubing, catheters, solution bags, syringe barrels, etc.

Screen printing military and aerospace equipment

Screen printing on aerospace and military equipment uses permanent adhesion, scratch resistant, light transmission inks. Screen printed items may include cover glasses, dials, faceplates, keypads, instrument panels, etc.

Screen printing for snowboards and displays

Screen printing is used to print images, text and graphics on snowboards, displays, signs, nameplates, and more.

What does commercial screen printing cost?

A commercial screen printing company can offer specialized services in an industry. Screen printing prices depend upon:

  • the substrate type
  • type of ink used
  • number of colors used in the print
  • type of industry
  • intricacy of the print design
  • additional sides to be printed per item
  • number of items in the order
  • screen printing technology used
  • Commercial screen printing providers can give you a quote based on your order. Shop around for best pricing and quality for good deals.

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