Automated Screen Printing

Written by Patricia Skinner
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In the beginning, all silk screen printing was a manual affair. A screen was held over a garment or piece of fabric, while paint or ink was applied through the screen. Several different frames would be applied to make up the full depth of a given image. Each screen was set up by hand and operated by hand. This gave rise to inconsistencies in the results, particularly when large numbers of garments were being printed.

Computerization of Screen Printing

Today, the situation is entirely different. Computerization has meant that every part of the silk screen printing process is automated. Literally thousands of garments can be printed off in next to no time, with a high degree of consistency and with vastly improved quality of image too. No matter how complicated the image, the first garment of the line will look just the same as the last.

In fact, it's possible to print photo-quality images onto just about anything, if you have the right type of ink. As a result, automated silk screen printing is used for a wide range of purposes. It is a favorite of advertisers to apply logos or messages to garments for promotional campaigns.

There are a number of different types of machine used for automated screen printing. The machines are generally classified by the mechanism used to lift the screen. These include clamshell, vertical lift, parallel lift and cylinder. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. The clamshell type is widely considered to be the most popular, largely because of its simplicity and ease of use.

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