High density printing method

When the sales of screen-printed garments fall to some extent, designers will be more committed to finding a new visual sensation that can draw consumers' attention. Perhaps high density printing is what they are looking for.

This method can print a variety of different colors, and with a little time and effort, an attentive printer can master high-density printing. Below, we will make a general discussion on the details of this new method, including the entire process of design selection, plate making, ink processing, printing and drying. Like other new things, this new scheme also needs to be tested or even mistaken to adapt to different printing factories. So don't be afraid of mistakes.

Pattern selection

This is the first and perhaps most important consideration step you need. Line thickness and pattern size are also decisive factors for the success of the high-density printing process. For example, after the printing process is finished, the thin lines will look better than the large area. The small-area printing design, especially the right angle, makes it easier for the ink to hang on the mesh when printing. In general, you must be very familiar with the types of patterns that are suitable for high-density printing, and you must eliminate the use of this technique for inappropriate patterns. There are many tricks if you use 3D processing will greatly enhance the visual experience. You need to use these to your advantage.

Plate making

The screen determines the thickness of the ink layer by the thickness of the mesh yarn and the thickness of the screen. Platemaking can be done by direct emulsion coating, direct/indirect methods, or by capillary coating methods, which are described below.

For most thick plates, 60-110 mesh (per inch) may be commonly used. You may want to use a lower than normal mesh tension, such as 14-20 Newton. Thicker and thicker ink deposits require greater web spacing and perhaps elevated tension can be achieved. With this concept in mind, don't think about your print pattern too high. If you think so, you will make the screen distance too close, and make the appropriate network distance become impossible.

In any case, you need to prepare a suitable degreasing agent to clean the mesh. After sufficient drying time, apply the coating or patch (indirect film).

The direct emulsion film is achieved by repeatedly coating the printed surface until the desired coating thickness is achieved. This will take a day or longer. Because each coating requires drying to a moisture content of less than 4% (30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the emulsion and drying conditions you use) to apply a layer. After all the coatings have been completed, you will need to allow the stencils to be further dried (for example, overnight) before exposure, because the screens that are not fully dried will not have a good exposure.

How to choose the appropriate emulsion is also a study of the next effort. The best choice is high solids content. The higher the solid content, the less likely it will shrink when dried. In addition, use a quick exposure to my emulsion to minimize the exposure time. It took quite a while for me to expose the 400-1000 micron film layer.

● The single-component light-sensitive polymeric emulsion has a high solid content and a fast exposure speed;
● The diazo-based photopolymer has a high solid content, but the exposure speed is not fast enough;
● Diazo-based emulsions are also low in solids and have the slowest exposure rate. (The higher the solid content of the diazo-based emulsion, the slower the exposure speed)
Any one of them is available, but I suggest using a photopolymer because it has the fastest exposure speed and good shrink control.

The first step is to do wet coating on both sides of the screen, and then apply a little more force on the ink surface. This allows the emulsion to "settle" on the printed surface. Place the screen on a horizontal shelf with the printed side facing down.

After a certain period of time has dried, it enters the thickening stage:
Thickening can be achieved in several different ways:

1, the standard coating: the use of a round scraper, from the bottom to the top coated with two layers of coating (the middle is not dry), flip the screen in the printing surface from the opposite direction twice for wet coating. Call this coating 1 Marking the coating helps you to know exactly how many times you have applied the coating. Now let it dry and repeat the above action until the expected thickness is reached. Allow time for each coating to dry. Depending on your thickness requirements, eight, ten, or more layers may be required. When painting the third and fourth layers, it may happen that the middle of the screen is thicker than the edge. If this is the case, you will need to paint the edges one or more times to make the thickness of the stencil consistent. You can pour a small amount of cream around without going down. Repeat twice in each direction to make the standard coating, which will allow the emulsion to stay only around the screen. When the eighth or more layers are achieved, it needs to be repeated many times to make the thickness uniform. After the coating is complete, allow enough drying time. My suggestion is overnight.

2. Assist with adhesive tape: Stick tape along the outside of the frame, but the width between the tapes should not exceed the width of the scraper. This will help lift the distance between the scraper and the screen, and allow thicker emulsion buildup for each operation. Calculate how many layers of tape to use based on the base thickness. For example, if your tape thickness is 3 mil (1 mil = 25 microns), for a 300 micron thick film layer, you will need 4 layers. To achieve the required thickness of the screen, you may need to laminate the tape to take into account the shrinkage factor. Apply the coating twice in each direction and carefully keep the scraper "riding" on the tape. Remove the tape before drying to avoid tearing off the dried emulsion. Then place the screen on a horizontal shelf with the printed side facing up. For thicker screens, they can be re-operated as needed, that is, after each coating is completed, new tapes are layered and the next cycle is performed. Allow enough time for drying in the middle of the coating and allow enough time after completion. My advice is still overnight.

3. Blade Coating: This method requires a support plate to provide a flat surface with the screen printing ink facing down. Correspondingly, this board is smaller than the inner edge of the basket, but higher than the height of the frame, so that it can be more closely connected with the mesh. Stick tape along the outer edge of the screen, but make sure that the width between the tapes does not exceed that of the coated knife and the support. The tapes are stacked together (as before) to achieve a thickness that completes the coating at one time (consider shrinkage). At the end of the tape, where the squeegee starts and stops, an extra width is left to remove the unwanted emulsion to keep the screen clean. Now pour photographic emulsion on one end of the screen, place the squeegee down the tape at the same end, and slowly and steadily push the squeegee. When finished, place the screen printing face up on a horizontal shelf. Then allow it to dry for a sufficient time - at least overnight. One disadvantage of this method is that because this time coating a thick layer may cause unevenness on the surface. The reason is that the air bubbles rise from the emulsion or are surrounded by dry emulsion near the surface. But this is not the problem itself. What would be the effect of exposing it with a bottom plate containing bubbles? Also, if you do this, you'd better put the emulsion long enough to allow the bubbles to escape before coating, and to ensure that your technology does not introduce new bubbles in the next steps. This is similar to the direct/indirect method of using a capillary film patch, which is a film film that is pre-coated with a cream and then placed on the table with the film facing up. The screen printing surface is attached to the film. On top of this, a squeegee was used to apply the emulsion to the surface of the ink. After drying, the protective film on the back side was peeled off. This method considerably improves the firmness between the film and the mesh.

First you have to consider which film to use. Like the sensitive emulsions, there are diazo type and photosensitive compound type films. The aspect that does not need to be considered is the solid content. Because the indirect film itself is dry, it is 100% solids. You don't have to think about shrinkage. It's just a matter of simply determining the thickness you need.

Then you also need a support plate, a small roller, a blunt or rounded squeegee, and a jade emulsion that works with this film. Put the film emulsion facing up on the support plate, and then place the screen printing face down on the film. Sticking tape inside the screen, the enclosed area is slightly smaller than the film, which helps to process the remaining emulsion, and also can keep the screen inside clean. Pour the emulsion on one end, hold the scraper, and slowly, using a standard printing technique, push along the screen. This can be coated with a thin layer of emulsion, and after drying, the mesh and film will be glued together. Then place it on dry, leave it dry for enough time, and peel off the backing protection film.

You can now begin to expose, or you can also "roll" a layer on it, in order to achieve this you can put the screen printing ink down on the support plate. Drop a drop of sensitized emulsion onto the film and place a second layer of film. Start with the edge. Then he began to roll over the film with the roller to remove the air bubbles until the entire film was completed. Leave enough time for drying before stripping the backing layer. (At least one company now produces a direct/indirect film. Each layer can be glued together before you stick to the screen. You don't need to use emulsions; you just have to peel off the protective layer and stick it. On the other layer, then press together with a roller. By pressing on the second or more layers to your desired thickness.)

The capillary film was carefully applied to a wet (water) screen, and the emulsion was drawn onto the screen by capillary action. Although you can stack two or more layers of photographic film to increase the thickness, if the film is thick enough, it will have a better effect (the thickness you can reach is now 1000 micrometers; this film can take you The time to do the screen is reduced from one day to less than an hour; the downside is that they each have a value of $50 or more.

Both direct emulsions and direct/indirect films have the diazo and photosensitive compound types of choice. Similarly, after the film is dried, the solid content is not a problem. Photosensitive compounds have a fast exposure time, and what needs to be done now is to determine the thickness. Capillary photographic film is simpler to use than straight/indirect film, because it uses water to bind the emulsion to the mesh by capillary action. Thick photopolymerized films are available in a variety of sizes and are currently available up to 1000 microns. This avoids the need to crush several layers together.

There is only one fat-free version, one film, water and scraper. The method I chose was to place the film emulsion facing up on a support plate and place the screen printing face down on it. Spray a small amount of water with a spray bottle, let the capillary action for a few seconds to suck the film on the mesh, and then gently scrape the excess water with a scraper. After drying, you can take the exposure or roll the second layer of film behind it. (There is also a method of “rolling down” that is also common in capillary photographic film applications; however, it may not be used very quickly. Although both methods can achieve satisfactory results, this one mentioned here It is easier to operate.)

The last thing you need to mention is that you can increase the durability of the capillary photographic film by means of a direct/indirect on-screen emulsion with a screen-printing ink.
How thick do you want to make the screen? Thick printing is harder than the standard version. This requires a little adjustment to achieve the best print effect, starting with a small amount and then continuously improving. One of the benefits of Indogu inks is that you can dry the first layer instantaneously and then you can print the next layer. This method allows you to use less thick templates; I recommend starting with a 150-300 micron range and adding as the technology improves.


How to find an ink that can meet various requirements has become one of the biggest obstacles. When you start out, it's best to use inks with better release properties. Low-viscosity, paste-like inks are better than high-viscosity inks. Then, decide what kind of form you want the finished product to appear, smooth or rough? Is it a round corner or a right angle? Make a decision, then choose from a variety of inks.

Here are some of the things you might use when you describe inks:
Thicken to increase viscosity. Silica flour is very useful, this additive is used by most manufacturers and works for all inks;
● You need a high speed mixer to mix the thickener into the ink. The method of adding a scraper with a power drill is good;
● Concentrated foaming additives or foamed bottoms to produce a matte surface;
● Lubricants or surface activity increase the fluidity of the ink;
● Tensile additives and tension base can increase the elasticity, which avoids cracks in your design patterns;

● Concentrated pigments increase the intensity and brightness of existing colors. It is a good idea to check all available additives or modifiers. You will find that every manufacturer actually has a wide variety of additives and modifiers, so you have to find an additive that you think fits most situations.

Ink manufacturers have begun to produce products that can handle high-density printing. This will save you debugging time. Remember that in the same category they will appear in a variety of different appearances. Therefore, you will also want to understand how to better control these inks in production.

To make a matte (matt) pattern with a smooth edge, you need a low-viscosity paste ink. Try to use the ink alone to print what the finished product looks like. If there is a flat matte, you don't need to add anything; if it doesn't, add a concentrated foaming agent or a foaming base and add a small amount until you get the matte gloss you need. The thickening powder is then added to make it a paste-like state. The thicker the ink, the smoother the edges, but the harder it is to clean the screen. In order to better clean the screen, thinner may be used. Also, it is necessary to gradually increase the amount to avoid the ink layer being too thin. At the same time, you cannot lose the right-angled edge. If the ink's tensile strength is poor, pull additives or primers should be added. The exact amount of these ingredients depends on the ink and additives you choose. As usual, record the details of the “decoration” made, preferably using weight instead of volume.

Smooth edged smooth patterns are used in the same way as matt (matte) patterns, except that the use of foaming additives is eliminated. If you are starting to use a matte ink (no added foaming ingredients), try adding a pull additive, or simply change to a low viscosity and have a high gloss ink after drying. Similarly, the exact amount of these ingredients depends on the type of ink and additives you choose.

High-gloss, high-definition patterns with inlaid edges (or rounded corners)--like embellishments embellished with plastic plates that mimic "welding"--can be printed on multicolored patterns, such as logos. The selected transparent paste requires no milky white or yellow after drying, which also has a high gloss. Increase the viscosity of the thickened ink if needed. This pattern generally does not require a right angle, so don't worry too much about the consistency of the ink.

Make a matte (or rounded) matte (rough surface) pattern with a low-viscosity ink at the beginning. Gradually add a small amount of thickening agent, but at the same time pay attention to the fluidity of the ink, so do not wait until the ink becomes a group of paste and then stop. If necessary, add thinner to increase fluidity and add a little foaming agent in order to increase the dullness of the matte surface. Because you don't need a right angle, you can add a little more, but don't overdo it to make it a standard foaming ink (this will make the finished surface wrinkle-free and less durable).

Printing method

"Make action" is the key here. Developing a method can keep your production uninterrupted. If your technology can only be proofed, it is unprofitable.

Any printed pattern must have a good screen, to ensure that there is enough "free" area around the design pattern, which means that the frame should be large enough to not allow the printed area to be based on all or almost all of your frame. Select the appropriate ink scraper and ink stroke distance. After the screen is ready, there is no way to expand the size or increase the scratch stroke. Unless you have to do the screen. Then start with a squeegee with a hardness of approximately 70 degrees. It is a good idea to have a variety of different hardness scrapers. If it is double or triple, it can be better controlled. The ink pushback plate should be adjusted to the maximum loading of the screen (referring to the ink filling the open mesh). If the ink can be pushed back properly, scraping the ink becomes easier.

Network distance is a critical adjustment and it is also very important. If there is not enough mesh distance, ink cannot be released from the screen to clothing. Because the net distance is directly related to the screen tension. Tension high screen requires a low network distance. Therefore, if necessary, increase the net pitch of the low-tension screen.

At the beginning, the printing ink and the ink return speed are all adjusted to the lowest level, and the speed is gradually reduced without affecting the printing effect. If the pressure is too high, you will squeeze the ink into the fabric. It is best to let the ink “sit” on the clothing.

If you want the maximum thickness, then dry it and put on another layer. Printing two thin layers is much easier than printing a thick layer.

Instant drying

The drying time needs to be carefully calculated to achieve the most suitable drying fixing effect and temperature. Remember that not all instant dryers are the same. For example, quartz tube dryers heat up quickly. It can quickly dry the surface but another 2/3 thickness of ink, which is not heated. Therefore, the first ink layer is inconsistent in physical and chemical states. This may cause the first layer of ink to not support the second layer of ink well, which is a problem that often arises in thick printing. In this case, infrared drying panel is more appropriate. If the amount of ink is large, it must be fully heated and dried, and more time is needed. If you want to superimpose your print pattern layer by layer, you will need to dry it more than once. So you need a second or more instantaneous dryer.

Final drying

Cured thermoset inks typically use a temperature of 360oF (160°C), except that one hundred times is a 3x (or higher) ink layer thickness. It takes more time for such a thick print pattern to reach the drying temperature, so consider the dwell time when adjusting the oven temperature. You can also increase the drying temperature, but do not attempt to dry it too fast. Drying at high temperatures for a short time can cause other problems.

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