Printing and finishing processesWhen textiles become eye-catchers: Screen printing
Screen printing has become an indispensable part of textile finishing in the field of advertising media. Most of our T-shirts, pullovers or jackets are printed using the screen printing process, as there are almost no limits to the imagination when it comes to choosing motifs and colours.
One of the reasons for this is the special stencil printing process, which distinguishes screen printing from other processes: The printing form here consists of a frame in which a special fabric is clamped. It is important that the frame is always slightly larger than the fabric to be printed, in order to guarantee a comprehensive print. An attached stencil covers the areas of the fabric that are to remain free of ink later. Now a rubber scraper, a kind of doctor blade, strokes the ink over the screen and thus presses it through the fabric directly onto the substrate. This shows why screen printing can be laborious with particularly colorful motifs: such a printing form applies only one color at a time. This means that a correspondingly large number of frames are used for multicoloured prints. Such a road resembles a printing carousel, on which the fabric passes under the individual screens and the final motif is created bit by bit.
In contrast to other processes (e.g. digital printing), screen printing is associated with a relatively low printing speed, but offers many more advantages: The thickness of the ink layer can be varied depending on the type of fabric, printed textiles are resistant to washing and the print is characterised by long light fastness. As a special highlight, fragrance or glitter pigments can be added to the ink to guarantee the design of even more individual promotional gifts.
By the way: Screen printing is not only suitable for textile finishing. The process is also used for printing products made of metal, ceramics, paper, glass or wood as well as shaped articles such as bottles.