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You can find a lot of tips online regarding screen printing, but something that seems to be a little bit of an anomaly is how to care for your screen printing press. Sometimes we get so excited about screen printing that we lose the care manual – or maybe we think that it doesn’t really need to be cleaned. Either way, we will get down to the absolute necessities (not specifics of each machine), and give you some ideas of how to maintain your press and keep it in optimal condition.
Location. Location. Location.
You want to make sure that your press is in as much of a temperature controlled environment you can manage. The main point of this is to protect the screens from drying out. You also want to protect it from the heat and humidity which over time can strain your press performance.
Keeping it Clean.
Think of your press as a new addition to your home. Regularly dust the equipment and keep the area around it free of clutter. Each time you use it, you will want remove (and save) the left over ink and then wipe it down. Ink and other chemicals will build up on your machine which could strain performance.
On a regular basis (not just your press) make sure to check the filters, conveyors, feeders, belts and squeegees. Clean them when they need it and replace them when it’s time. Don’t cut corners on your equipment. If something needs fixing or replacing you don’t want to hesitate on a fix and then your production suffers.
For palette longevity be sure to use palette tape. It is also recommended that you use water based adhesives. This is because over time the aerosol chemicals will build up on your press.
Keep it Lubricated.
Check the performance of your palette heads and arms occasionally. If they have been stationary for a long period of time, they could become stiff and un-operational. Oiling may be necessary for certain parts of your machine. This part will take a little bit of research. Figure out what machine you have and what lubrication will be compatible. You will also need to figure out how often you should oil your particular machine. Over or under oiling can become a problem.
And as always with screen printing – try doing a few test prints to make sure the machine is fully operational and does not need further attention in a particular area.