March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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18 | PRINTWEAR M A RC H 20 1 5 mesh at 45 N/cm on retensionable frames. The stencil thickness was our standard 12 to 14 percent EOM using a dual-cure emulsion, coated two by three, finishing on the squeegee side. The underbase was exposed on an N-128 at the same tension and 18 percent EOM. This provided us ideal ink deposit for opacity but kept the prints smooth with good drape. Setup of each was straight for- ward and quick using the preregistration system, and the screens dropped right in with no micros needed. Off-contact was minimal at 80/1,000. A flash is needed after most silicone inks. We printed the black and gray wet-on-wet, but all other colors needed a flash. The plat- ens were preheated to 125 degrees F and ran at about 130 to 135 degrees F for a reason- ably fast flash time of about four seconds. Because the ink was silicone, a cooling sta- tion was not needed, though convenient for inspection. We used a 75/95/75 triple-ply, dual-durometer squeegee that was freshly sharpened for everything but the whites, where we used a 65/95/65 squeegee. In a silicone solution, it only needs to reach 250 degrees F to cure, keeping the polyester tem- peratures and dyes stable at a lower tempera- ture than traditional plastisol, which needs to reach 325 degrees F to cure. This is an ideal solution for colored com- pression polyester fabrics with unstable dyes. Silicone won't replace plastisol, nor is it a solution for many fabrics with a tooth or hairy surface. But silicone ink is a safe alternative for printing on children's wear and other products, and it exhibits excel- lent opacity and has superior bleed resis- tance on polyester garments prone to dye migration. Silicone ink has great elastici- ty that's suitable for printing on stretchy polyester fabrics. Keep an eye on silicone ink systems as they gain more popularity in our industry. a necessity in handling any multipart system, such as silicone inks. Though much simpler to handle today than in years past, a catalyst was added to help kick off and make the ink curable. We added a 3 percent catalyst by weight to the opaque white for the underbase and highlight white. The grays and Dow teal were mixed using base and pigments to match the necessary Pantone colors. Once catalyzed, the inks had a shelf life. The manufacturer said up to eight hours, though we pushed that with ink sealed in the container. Once the separations were complete, we output to the computer-to-screen system. We went with a 45-lpi halftone at 22.5 degrees and ran the colors on N-166 to N-205 tpi From Software to Substrate | | | | pw 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 separated by a simulated halftone method.

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