Screen Printing - December 2012/January 2013 - (Page 24)

SOLUTION SOURCE BOOK APPLICATION-SPECIFIC CONSIDERATIONS FOR GRAPHICS PRINTERS Graphics applications can vary widely, and not many uni- versal rules exist when choosing media on which to print. There are many factors to consider, from the initial printing method to the environment in which the graphic will ultimately reside—all of which can affect which print media will deliver the best performance for the application. As a result of these many variables, one of the only rules to follow when attempting to determine an appropriate graphic printing material is to ask important questions up front. The following guide will help you with these conversations. 1. What sort of graphic are you planning to print? This first question may seem like a basic one, but it is a great starting point. Whether you are printing simple text or a large, ink-rich graphic can make a difference when it comes to choosing between economy or high-end print media or liners. Your supplier needs to know what your graphic is ultimately meant to accomplish. 2. What printing method are you going to use? It is very important to share your plans for printing with a material supplier, because print media can respond very differently to various printing methods. For instance, latex printers may require higher quality films and liners to properly handle the high temperatures used on the printer. Here’s another example: While printing with UV-cured inks is a great way to make quality images, you should think twice about using these inks for automotive wraps, because UVbased ink is prone to cracking when stretched. A lot of stretching is involved when applying vehicle wraps. Additionally, not many laminates stick to UV-inkjet-printed graphics, unless a specially designed adhesive is used. The process of UV-inkjet printing can cause damage to films when UV light hits a portion of the graphic many times during printing, potentially over-curing the ink and damaging vinyl films. This form of accelerated aging causes degradation, especially with economy films, which may become brittle. 3. Will a graphic be used indoors or outdoors? This question, simple as it may be, must be answered to avoid major repercussions. Outdoor environments have specific requirements regarding resistance to UV, moisture, temperature, and so on—considerations that may not apply to an indoor graphic—making location prudent to mention to your supplier. 4. What environmental elements will act on the graphic? Many forces can act upon media, whether a graphic is located outdoors or indoors. Your supplier needs to know about these elements to provide an effective recommendation. Will chemicals, temperature, moisture, or other factors affect the graphic? How about wind and precipitation? Different print media and adhesives are available to resist damage from exposure, but a supplier may not be recommended the best options if you don’t call out environmental factors for the indoor and outdoor graphics you produce. 5. To what surface will the printed media be adhered? There is much to be said on the subject of adhesives as there is substantial variance between different adhesive formulations to ensure adhesion to specific surfaces. For instance, an acrylicbased adhesive may need to be used to adhere to high-energy surfaces, whereas a rubber-based adhesive offers better tack with low-energy surfaces. Also, certain surfaces, such as rough brick or cement-block walls and floors, may require very specialized print media (Figure 1). FIGURE 1 Specialty substrates allow graphics to be applied to rough, textured surfaces, like brick or cinder-block walls. 24 SCREENPRINTING FIGURE 2 Some materials allow for simple installation and repositionability after application for error correction and easy removal.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - December 2012/January 2013

Screen Printing - December 2012/January 2013
Prepress for Special-Effect Garment Printing
Tips for Optimum Screen Exposure
Maximizing Image Size and Position
Understanding Screen-Tension Loss
A Look at Screen Lift-Off
Staging Garment-Printing Jobs
How to Control Dye Migration
Fine Tuning for Fine Details
Application-Specific Considerations for Graphics Printers
Upping the Ante at SGIA 2012
Statement of Ownership
U.S. & Canadian Directory
Opportunity Exchange
Advertising Index

Screen Printing - December 2012/January 2013