Screen printing is a versatile printing technology that can be used on a variety of surfaces such as wood, nylon, cloth, banners and even glass. It can be used to create high quality and durable images on materials of uneven shape and thickness. The method employs a squeegee to force ink into the fibers of the material on which the imprint needs to be created. The result is a sharp, high quality durable image
Even though screen printing cannot compete with other forms of printing such as digital printing in terms of volume and speed, it offers the following benefits that make it popular.
Prints on any surface – The biggest advantage of screen-printing is that it can print any fluid on any surface such as plastic, glass, wood and can even directly print on items such as bottles, pots and mirrors.
Another important application is in the creation of printed electronics, mobile phones, smart fabrics and flat screen televisions as well.
Bulk printing – The method is suitable for bulk printing as the printing process is quite fast and the same screen can be used to print on different materials of varying size. The main time and effort is employed in the setting up of the machinery.
Quality – Fine line illustrations, small text and metallic colours can be achieved in high quality. Also, textured printing can be done using this technique.
One drawback with screen printing is that intermediary colour mixing is not possible as ink has to be pushed through screens and perfect mixing cannot be achieved. However, with growth in technology, such limitations are gradually being weeded out.
Currently, the number of screen printers in India is somewhere between 65,000 to 1,00,000. It is being used in the textile industry, the ceramic industry and the electronics industry as well as for packaging and promotional material.
The applications of screen printing are unlimited. Michel Caza at the FESPA Munich 2010 workshop pointed towards the future of the technique in the following statement: “Graphics and signage are only 20 percent of screen applications where as 35 percent lies in textile printing and about 45 percent in industrial applications.”
Thus, if you are looking for durable colours or textured prints in bulk or want to print on an irregular or an odd surface, screen printing can be your best bet.