March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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16 | PRINTWEAR M A RC H 20 1 5 From Software to Substrate BY LON WINTERS Lon Winters learned screen printing from the bottom up, starting his 20-plus-year career reclaiming screens. He has won nearly 50 international industry awards and honors, published numerous articles, and led several industry seminars and workshops. Currently, he is president of Colora - do-based Print This, Inc./, an international consulting firm specializing in technical advances, plant design, layout, troubleshoot- ing, productivity, quality analysis, and complete garment-embellishing solu- tions. Visit for more information. Contact Winters at | | | | W hat is silicone? Silicone is not a product but an en- tire field of chemistry as well as a generic name for a variety of polymeric chains and networks con- structed around a backbone of Si-O-Si. Technically known as "polysiloxanes," silicone is the missing link between organ- ic and inorganic chemistry. By now, you've probably heard some whispers about silicone ink technology. INTRODUCING SILICONE INK Several years ago, chemical manufacturer Dow Corning asked us to help develop and roll out a printable silicone solution for automatic screen printing. After months of test printing and adjustments, we printed a multicolor image on teal, black, and red polyester compression fabric live at an in- dustry trade show where the technology was met with great excitement. While manual screen printing silicone inks have been around for decades with limited success, recent advances in silicone textile printing inks are enabling screen printers to print manually and automatically. After an arrangement with Nazdar SourceOne and some delay in general availability, the product has been simplified and reformulated for better printability, opacity, and general ease of use. The newer inks enable screen printers to produce durable, high-quality screen print- ing that has great drape and is wash resistant on difficult polyester fabrics. These silicone inks have tremendous elongation and good stretch and recovery properties, so they're well suited for fabrics with spandex content, such as compression fabrics. REVISITING AN OLD CLIENT Recently, Dow Corning and Nazdar Source- One returned to us to create graphics and print products for a couple of Dow Corn- ing's internal divisions. Besides a couple of basic logo recreations, two similar designs were particularly interesting—one for the elastomers team and the other for the rubber supply team. Both designs incorporated one component from our original image from the live rollout years ago, and the silicone molecule was part of each design. Using the circle tool in Illustrator, we built several shapes in the form of a seal and laid in our type solutions using warp and shape tools to fit the general direction. On one image, we used hand tools to create wing shapes. After a little back and forth, the client requested we add calipers to the wings to make the engineers happy. It wasn't a problem. Separations were a hybrid of traditional vector art with some raster layers on the appropriate spot color. The raster portions included tools and molecules that were sep- arated by a simulated halftone method. We get little gain on press with silicone ink and don't print much wet-on-wet, so our gut- ters between colors and the overall choke that we used on the underbase was half our traditional sizes at 1/8 and 1/4 points, re- spectively. The inks required a bit more sophisti- cation than pulling a pot off the shelf. A scale is a must in any ink department and Not Your Father's Silicone A look at printing with silicone ink The black and gray was printed wet-on- wet, but all other colors needed a flash. (All images courtesy the author)

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