March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 85 of 118

KEY ADVANTAGES OF CTS TECHNOLOGY • Elimination of film - No film storage - No lost film - No damaged films - No pinholes • No more expensive ink cartridges • Perfect screen-to-screen registration • Perfect screen-to-press registration • Better print resolution - Better tonal range • Faster exposure times - No glass - No pinholes - No blanket • No undercutting • No pinholes in screen • Digital workflow control • Fewer processes • Quality improvement • Faster screen-making throughput • Lower labor costs • Faster on-press setup 20 1 5 M A RC H PRINTWEAR | 81 aging. This eliminates printing toner. In- stead, a digital mirror device or digital light engraver modulates an ultra high-power UV light, laser, or LED source. The dig- ital mirror device or digital light engraver moves over the screen, exposing the image as it travels. However, the technology is too expensive for many apparel decorators. Digital light processing systems are based on an optical semiconductor chip. The chip is covered with almost a million tiny hinged mirrors which are repositioned to reflect light onto the screen. Current mod- els are available for several hundred grand, depending on configuration. Laser imaging uses one or more finely tuned lasers to expose the emulsion. Also expensive, these systems are targeted to- ward printers using small-format screens for CD and DVD manufacturing. With some cooperation between high-end projection companies and digital light processing and digital mir- ror device companies, light processing may show additional imaging solutions in the near future. The more affordable, practical solu- tion is a CTS imaging system with an onboard LED exposure system. This is almost a hybrid technology with all the benefits of CTS combined with the bo- nus of onboard exposure. As the screen enters the unit, the ink- jet heads do the imaging. The screen is then exposed and comes off the equip- ment ready to go directly to the wash- out booth for developing. With this setup, one operator can image, expose, and develop as many as 400 screens in a single shift with a smaller footprint. Left: The registered film pos- itive is aligned to the screen. Below: The film is exposed in the traditional workflow process.

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