Originally, the process was called Screen printing or Silkscreen printing because silk was used in the process before the introduction of polyester mesh. It was first developed and used in China around 960-1279 AD during the Song Dynasty. Other Asian countries like Japan later accepted the idea and helped in improving it to be better. After some years, in the late 18th century, the Western Europe welcomed the idea but it was not really accepted until the invention of silk mesh.
Silkscreen printing which is also known as Screen Printing is a stencil method of print making in which a design is imposed on a screen of polyester or other fine mesh, with the blank areas coated with an impermeable substance. Ink is forced into the mesh openings by the fill blade or squeegee and by wetting the substrate, transferred onto the printing surface during the squeegee stroke. As the screen rebounds away from the substrate the ink remains on the substrate.
With Silkscreen printing, only a color can be printed at a time, so several screens can be used to produce a multicolored image or design. Most clients will prefer Screen printing because it’s a good choice for printing simple design with only one solid color. For a client that wants to make many products with just one design on them, Silkscreen printing is always the best option.
Other reasons why most people consider Silkscreen Printing is because of the cost effective factor for large batches, which basically means that the more products you order per volume, the cheaper they are.
There are three types of screen printing presses. There is the flat-bed which is regarded as the most widely used for home based printing, there is the cylinder, and rotary that is more suitable for industrial purposes.
Though, the Rotary screen printing machine is expensive; but because of its productivity and flexibility, it is considered as the mostly used in today’s contemporary textile industry.
In rotary printing, the fabric travels at a consistent speed between the screen and a steel or rubber impression roller immediately below the screen. The impression roller serves the same basic purpose as the press bed on a flatbed press. As the fabric passes through the rotary unit, the screen spins at a rate that identically matches the speed of substrate movement.
The squeegee on a rotary press is in a fixed position unlike the flatbed, with its edge making contact with the inside surface of the screen exactly at the point where the screen, substrate, and impression roller come together. Ink is automatically fed into the center of the screen and collects in a wedge-shaped “well” formed by the leading side of the squeegee and the screen’s interior surface. The motion of the screen causes this bead of ink to roll, which forces ink into stencil openings, essentially flooding the screen without requiring a flood bar. The squeegee then shears the ink as the stencil and substrate come into contact, allowing the ink to transfer cleanly to the material.Rotary screen presses are most often used for printing textiles, wallpaper, and other products requiring unbroken continuous patterns.
Silkscreen Printing is a method that supports variety of materials which means that printers can produce t-shirts, caps, promotional banners and even posters all from the same screens and with the Photosensitive feature, which makes it possible to create multiple designs for different formats, serves as an advantage that has always appeal to businesses because it saves them a lot of money and time.
In addition, you can be sure the quality of each product will be the same despite the underlying ground, which gives companies the ability to create a wide of range of branded products for their customers or staff.
Another advantage is the ability to edit the image to increase the size or reduce it, which means that a business logo or other graphic can be scaled to cover the entire front of a shirt or just a small area over a pocket.
Silkscreen printing is best suited for printing on clothing, textile fabric, signs and displays, medical devices, snowboard graphics and so many other ones.
Silkscreen printing has been around for centuries and will still be relevant for years to come because of its efficiency, affordability, and flexibility.