December '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 1 4 D EC E M B E R PRINTWEAR | 81 nate the screens during the degreasing process when all of that grime is blown around in the final rinse. I find that a three-part process works well for cleaning. The process includes first breaking down the ink, then remov- ing the emulsion, and finishing with degreasing. Start by scrapping any excess ink that was left behind by the printer. After that, spray the screens with an ink degrader, scrub both sides of the screens, and then rinse with a power washer. Next, strip the emulsion from the screen. We use a concentrated chemical that recommends a mix of 25 parts wa- ter to one part emulsion remover. How- ever, we want to reclaim as many screens as possible each day, so we actually only dilute the mix 10 parts water to one part emulsion remover. At this rate, one per- son can effectively reclaim 100 screens in an eight-hour shift. Once the emul- sion is stripped, we scrub both sides of the screen with a high-quality degreaser. After rinsing again, the screen is ready for storage in an environment free of dust and other potential contaminants. If a "ghosted" image is embedded in the screen, a dehazer should also be used. Essentially, a ghosted image is stained into the mesh. This can affect your final stencil and should be removed. Howev- er, don't regularly use a dehazing agent as it's a harsh chemical that can shorten the life of the mesh. If any of the three processes are skipped or performed incorrectly, excess pinholes can appear in the final sten- cils. Typically, degreasing is the culprit. Be sure that the screens are degreased properly and rinsed thoroughly, which will most likely take care of the pinhole issue. Reclaiming screens may not rank as the most glamorous side of the pro- cess, but it goes a long way in rewarding your shop with better prints and a more efficient business. pw

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