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Common Screen Printing Mistakes

Posted by Robin Bumgardner - Custom Color Mixing on 3/26/2015
As an everyday screen printer, it is easy to fall into bad habits that can be hard to break out of.  As someone new to the screen printing industry, it is a good idea to learn what habits to avoid from the very start.

Using Old or Outdated Equipment - New equipment is constantly being engineered and developed with the goal of being able to increase production and efficiency, yet many shops (who have the money to invest) refuse to do so because 'things are running just fine as they are'.  Upgrading equipment is especially important to higher volume shops as an increase in efficiency can often mean the difference in having to hire another person or not, which can be a considerable expense for any shop.  Are your exposures taking too long?  Have a look at some of the new LED units, or perhaps your dryer won't hold a consistent temperature.  These things cost you time and money. 

Not Marketing Yourself Properly - There was an excellent article here written earlier this month on this very issue.  The successful shops I see are the ones that keep their name in front of their customers.  In this age of electronic media, many avenues are open to you that cost you nothing more than some of your time - take advantage of that and watch your business grow.

Ignoring Industry Trends - This is a big one; business owners will get in a 'rut' where they are simply offering the same products over and over.  The market has changed. The customer wants softer prints. They want what they see hanging in stores. They want edgy graphics.  They want the distressed look. Do you print with discharge ink? No? Why not? You heard it was too hard? Discharge ink gives a softer feel to the print. OK, it is waterbased and can have an odor but a LOT of printers have found out that this is what the customer wants – no hand to the print. How about ink additives that give your plastisol a waterbased feel? How do you find out these things? You read the trade magazine, follow industry forums and get out to trade shows.

Take Advantage of Additives - These days many brands of ink are very rich and work well through high mesh screens. If your ink is too thick, simply add a little reducer and thin it. Get it creamy and smooth. It will flow through high mesh screens and on all of your multi-color jobs you will get less pickup, cleaner and softer prints and higher production.

Avoiding some of these common problems will lead to business growth and enable you to be a more versatile and in-demand screen printer.

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