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Top Mistakes Every Shop Makes

Posted by Andrea Sheley on 3/26/2018

Mistakes in the screen printing business can cost you time, money, and resources. While its true that a certain amount of waste is inevitable, there are some common mistakes every shop makes at the top of our list.

1.      Not updating your equipment as your business grows...

Screen printing equipment can be one of the most substantial costs of running your business. While with regular maintenance quality machines will run for decades-sticking with your old equipment, and not updating as your business grows, can cost you time, money, and customers when it’s all said and done. Updating and upgrading machinery can increase your production, as well as offer a larger selection of products to your customers. While it might mean an up-front investment, new screen printing machines can pay off by helping your business grow faster.

2.      Improper curing…

Cracks in a printed image after it’s washed are caused by improper curing. Some issues that typically lead to improper curing may include your dryer belt speed running too fast, and inconsistent temperature.  These issues will be compounded when dealing with water based inks as they typically require a higher temperature and longer dwell time.  Most plastisol manufacturers recommend a curing temperature of 320f for approximately 60 seconds.  

3.      Using the same screen mesh for all jobs…

Too many novice printers end up with only 110 and 125 mesh screens -which do indeed work great for your everyday spot color printing. However, any type of halftones or high-end, photo realistic printing will require a higher mesh. You need a wide variety of mesh if you want to do better quality work. Make sure you know which screens are best for which jobs-you’ll get superior prints, and waste much less ink…all of which protects your bottom line.  See this video for a demonstration mesh counts.

4.      Not proofreading your artwork…

Typos and misspelled words are sometimes so subtle that they’re easy to miss if you’re not careful. Proofreading can help make sure your graphics, from fonts to colors, are spot on before you start printing. Make sure to double-check each piece of artwork before it makes it to the press. Also, after you proof your art, it helps to have a second set of fresh eyes comb over it one last time before you green light it. It’s a lot easier to correct a mistake on your graphic, than it is to fix a 300-piece press run-the more eyes you have proofing the artwork, the less likely you are to have an artwork mishap go to press.

5.      Reclaim and proper chemical use…

A quality stencil begins after the last print job is finished, and that means proper reclaim steps.  Taking shortcuts with your reclaim can reduce screen life, cause pinholes, and generally decrease your shop efficiency.  Keep the proper chemicals on hand and use them as directed.  In addition, make use of tools like color change (screen wash) chemicals and screen openers as they can greatly increase your efficiency with regards to down time.  Consider options such as dip tanks to further decrease reclaim times. 

While it’s unrealistic to expect zero waste-you can certainly minimize it, and maximize your profits by working to avoid these common mistakes that can rob your bottom line, and keep your business from reaching its full potential.

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