October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Screen Printing When printing water-based ink, why does the image sometimes clog on the very first print? What can I do to prevent it from occurring? This is a common problem that occurs because the water-base ink wants to adhere to something dry. The screen mesh is the first dry thing it comes in contact with. But there is an easy prevention: spray your image with a light mist of water or mixture of water and retarder. After one or two clearing prints, your ink should flow with no problems. Alan Howe, Tech Support Screen Printing Supplies Should I stir plastisols before each use? Yes. It is recommended to stir any product that has been setting for more than a week. In some cases, liquid can settle in pockets throughout the ink. Stir this liquid back in the ink to avoid fusion or opacity problems. Stirring high opacity plastisols will also maintain, if not increase, shelf life. The opaque inks will continue to thicken with time as the high loads of pigment continue to absorb available liquids. If the ink has been sitting six months or more, open and stir to increase the printability. Technical support team, Rutland Plastic Technologies Why does the white ink on my shirt wash out when other colors wash okay? It is important to understand some basics of plastisol ink composition and their interaction with the dryer conditions. The ink density (directly related to solids content) is generally 20 to 30 percent higher for white inks than general purpose colors. These white inks require exposure to the heat source either for a greater amount of time, at a higher temperature, or combination of both, in order to heat these inks to the same temperature as a general purpose ink color. Ink film deposit impacts cure rate similarly, requiring more time/temperature exposure to heat the entire ink film from the surface through to the garment. Steve Hedge, PolyOne Wilflex How can I print onto performance wear? These garments are engineered to keep the athlete cool and dry during performance. Unfortunately this makes them difficult to print on. So, first figure out what material you're printing on. Performance wear is an umbrella term that covers different types of synthetic fabrics used in athletic jerseys and sports apparel in general. Many of these are fabric blends. Find out whether the material is heat sensitive enough to withstand the temperatures required to cure screen printing inks. The To print on performance apparel, the inks need to cure at a temperature lower than that required to cure plastisol inks. Inks with good stretch properties may also be necessary to accommodate the fabric's stretch properties. (Images courtesy International Coatings) 2013 October Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 83 | 83 9/18/13 11:54 AM

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