June '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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70 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 5 T he interest in water-based ink has surged into the North American market over the past few years. Several tradi- tional plastisol printers have converted to water-based ink or include it in their offering. Many parallels exist between screen printing plastisol and water-based ink; the trick is knowing the subtle tech- nique differences between the two, which simplifies successful water-based printing. These techniques aren't just press related. By working on all aspects of the screen print chain, a shop can control the annoying nu- ances associated with water-based produc- tion and streamline the printing process. FROM ART TO PRINT The art department is the first link in the chain where print production problems can be minimized. Design- ers and separators should know what to look for to adjust for success. For the designer, the actual design function doesn't change. Most adjustments are in the separation and rotation call-out. Many of the half- tone raster programs, such as Photoshop, create an underbase plate that provides more white information un- der light colors and less white information under dark colors. In general, knowing this approximate range of lightness in a color as- sists separators in creating underbase plates for their vector designs. A good visual practice for new separators is to place the image into Photoshop on a black background. Then, view in "Lab" mode with only the "Lightness" channel turned on. This gives the artist a nice visu- al of what a good white underbase should look like. To get a better base on the press, a two- plate underbase is recommended to offer more latitude with the print. The first plate has all information from the design except for the black, referred to as full plate. The second plate has all the white, light, and An Aqueous Solution Best practices to improve your water-based printing b y R a y S m i t h Ray Smith has been in the screen printing in- dustry since 1978. He has been involved as an art director, production manager, plant man- ager, and business owner. He rejoined Wilflex in 2008 as the applications lab manager and is charged with benchmarking products, investigating ink inquiries, and testing new inks and applications. Contact him at n Intermediate

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