While a certain amount of waste might be inevitable, there are some common screen printing mistakes that could be eroding your profits. Expanding on our previous blog, here are seven more screen printing mistakes to avoid.
For years, screen printing convention held that 110 mesh count screens could be used for any job, and a lot of suppliers will pass on this advice to novice printers. While 110 screens will suffice for many jobs, they’re not ideal for every job. Know which screens are best or which jobs and which inks. Ultimately, you’ll get better prints and waste less ink.
Flecks of ink from your last print jobs, pieces of lint from your previous substrate, grease and smudges from your hands; these all can make marks on your substrates and ruin your final products. A lot of waste can be saved in your shop just by properly cleaning your equipment. Thoroughly wash, clean and degrease your screens between projects. Make sure that your pallets are clean and your press is dusted. And make regular handwashing a habit when you’re on the production floor, as your hands can spread ink, dirt and grease onto your substrates.
When spots or stains do appear on your final product, they often can be saved with a spot gun. If you’re not using a spot gun, you could needlessly be throwing away products. Spot guns concentrate cleaning solvent on fabric flaws, from grease spots to stains to pin print of ink, to renew a garment.
Your press should be inspected before each and every run. A lot of printers will skip this step to save time, but it can result in serious printing problems. The bolts that hold pallets and print heads in place become lose during the printing process. That means they’ll shift during printing, causing blurred or smeared images. In the end, the little bit of time it takes to check your press could save you from wasting money on prints.
Again, this a step a lot of printers will skip to save production time. Not doing a test print before each press run is a mistake. A test print helps you to spot and correct problems before it impacts the entire job, such as bad registration, improper color matching, bad print placement or even spelling or logo mistakes within the print itself. Taking the time to create one test print could save you from throwing out an entire press run.
Many printers are quick to turn away jobs because they don’t have the resources in house to handle some aspect of that job, whether it’s the color separation, the image cleanup or full-on artwork design. But these are all jobs you could outsource for a small fee. If you team up with a freelance artist or a larger print shop that provides the services you need, you could take on more jobs at a relatively low cost.
When you use your white underbase as a highlight, you end up putting down too much ink, giving your print a heavy hand that may be undesirable and affecting the quality of the following layers of ink. This can result in an uncomfortable garment that’s difficult to cure and unpleasant to wear. It’s worth the extra effort to prepare a separate screen for a highlight white.
Most screen printers do plan to have a little bit of waste, and that’s a reasonable approach. You can, however, minimize your waste and maximize your profits by working to avoid the mistakes, however small, that can cost you money and keep your business from growing.
Curious about what other bad habits you should avoid? Check out this blog post: