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February/March 2012

Displays Go Deep with Lenticular Printing p. 20

Special-Effect Finishing p. 24 Plastic Substrates p. 28

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F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 012 Volume 103 / Number 1

CONTENTS COLUMNS About the Cover Lenticular 3D printing is not new, but in the past it was a difficult process to master. Turn to page 20 to learn about new tools that generate highquality 3D lenticular prints easier than ever before. Cover photo courtesy of HumanEyes Technologies.


12 The Real Reason Orders Are Getting Smaller

Mark Coudray

Check on how your operation fits in a pull-market economy.


14 Designing Dramatic Effects with Glitter and Foil

Thomas Trimingham Learn how to design screen-printed garment graphics to make special effects simpler and reduce bottlenecks in production.

Cover design by Keri Harper.


20 New Dimensions in Graphics: A Look at Lenticular Displays

Jeff Miller This article examines the workflow and equipment used to produce lenticular 3D graphics for large-format signage, P-O-P materials, backlit displays, and more.

24 The Wonderful World of UV Special Effects

Mike Young Explore how to use specialty inks and coatings in the creation of high-impact graphics for a variety of applications.

28 Printing on Plastic Substrates

Omer Shoham It’s time to review the steps involved in screen and digital printing on polycarbonate PVC, very popular substrates for signage and graphics.


SCREENPRINTING Online Communities


4 6 32 34


37 38 39 40


SCREEN PRINTING (ISSN 0036-0594) is published bi-monthly by ST Media Group International Inc., 11262 Cornell Park Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45242-1812. Telephone: (513) 421-2050, Fax: (513) 362-0317. No charge for subscriptions to qualified individuals. Annual rate for subscriptions to non-qualified individuals in the U.S.A.: $42 USD. Annual rate for subscriptions in Canada: $70 USD (includes GST & postage); all other countries: $92 (Int’l mail) payable in U.S. funds. Printed in the U.S.A. Copyright 2012, by ST Media Group International Inc. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations. Periodicals Postage Paid at Cincinnati, OH and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Screen Printing, P.O. Box 1060, Skokie, IL 60076. Change of address: Send old address label along with new address to Screen Printing, P.O. Box 1060, Skokie, IL 60076. For single copies or back issues: contact Debbie Reed at (513) 421-9356 or Debbie.Reed@ Subscription Services:, Fax: (847) 763-9030, Phone: (847) 763-4938, New Subscriptions:












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AMERICAN SIGN MUSEUM PREPS FOR BIG MOVE Steve Duccilli Group Publisher Gregory Sharpless Associate Publisher Gail Flower Editor

The Cincinnati, OH-based American Sign Museum, founded in 2005 by Tod Swormstedt, former editor and publisher of Signs of the Times magazine, is set to relocate its more than 3,800 cataloged items to a larger home. The new facility, located in the Camp Washington area of Cincinnati, features more than 19,000 square feet of exhibit space (more than 450% more space than currently available), 28-foot-high ceilings to accommodate large signs, a working neon shop, event space for up to 800 people, signmaking archives, and more. According to Swormstedt, an initial 19,300 square feet of the building is now being developed, and with the help of generous donors, the new, permanent home of the American Sign Museum will open its doors in the spring of 2012. The American Sign Museum is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. Its mission is to inform and educate the general public, as well as business and special-interest groups, about the history of the sign industry and its significant contribution to commerce and the American landscape. To learn about membership and other opportunities to support the museum and its growth, visit or contact

SCREENWEB POLL RESULTS How large is your average garment-printing job? 501 TO 1000 PIECES - 3%

MORE THAN 1000 PIECES - 4% 251 TO 500 PIECES - 8%

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Ben P. Rosenfield Managing Editor Keri Harper Art Director Mark Coudray, Rick Davis, Tim Greene, Andy MacDougall, Rick Mandel, Thomas Trimingham Columnists Linda Volz Production Coordinator Business Development Managers Lou Arneberg – East and Midwest US, Eastern Canada, Europe Ben Stauss – West and South US, Western Canada, Asia

Andy Anderson, Jeff Arbogast, Albert Basse III, Reynold Bookman, Bob Chambers, Don Curtis, Dean DeMarco, Michael Emrich, Craig Furst, David Gintzler, Ryan Moor, Bob Roberts, Jon Weber, Andy Wood Editorial Advisory Board

Jerry Swormstedt Chairman of the Board Tedd Swormstedt President Kari Freudenberger Director of Online Media



Please send your news releases and photos announcing new products, changes in your business, awards, appointments, and other noteworthy developments to:

Customer Service Screen Printing Subscription Services P.O. Box 1060 Skokie, IL 60076 P: 847-763-4938/877-494-0727 F: 847-763-9030 E: Free Subscription Renewals/Address Changes

new products Automatic Screen Press

Hirsch Int’l

The MHM Compact from Hirsch Int’l ( is billed as a mini automatic that’s designed to maximize production speed on one- and two-color print jobs. According to Hirsch, the MHM Compact is ideal for shops that do not want to tie up their larger automatics with this type of work. The press has four platens with two printheads and a station for flash curing. Hirsch says this configuration makes it extremely fast to print/flash/print and unload. The Compact features a 17 x 17-in. (432 x 432-mm) print area, interchangeable platens, microregistration, individual printhead control, multiple print-stroke capability, plastisol/ water-based print modes, sequential start/finish, sample/test printing, dwell timer, and remote flash-cure programming. The Compact requires single-phrase electricity and a small air compressor.

Biodegradable Laminates Interlam Bio from Drytac (www.drytac. com) is a line of certified biodegradable laminating films (Din EN 13432:2000-12) with a water-based adhesive. Interlam BioGloss and BioMatt are derived from wood pulp, which Drytac describes as a sustainable and biodegradable resource. The company notes that the laminates break down easily in the recycling Drytac process, allowing for more eco-friendly disposal and recycling options for laminated graphics. Finishes include Interlam BioGloss 3 mil, designed for P-O-P displays and other indoor signage applications; and Interlam BioMatt 3 mil, designed with a non-reflective finish for graphics where direct lighting cannot be controlled.

Printable Pressure-Sensitive Fabric MACtac Graphic Products ( has expanded its wall-graphics-media offerings with the addition of Deco


Art, a line of interior, pressure-sensitive products. DecoArt DecoSatin DA012, a fabric-based material, is first to launch in the DecoArt line. It is a white woven-polyester textile that is coated with a clear, repositionable, acrylic pressuresensitive adhesive. DecoSatin meets ANSI / NFPA Class A and IBC Class A specifications for flame spread and smoke density. The product is intended to be used with eco-solvent, solvent-based, latex-based, and UV inkjet printers. It features an 86-lb polycoated release liner and is intended specifically for wide-format printing of pressure-sensitive wall graphics, wall murals, and custom wall coverings. DecoArt DecoSatin DA012 offers durability of five to seven years indoors and up to a year outdoors. It is backed by MACtac’s Open Image Warranty.

Flash Cure Unit The 18 x 18-in (457 x 457 mm) Super Seca flash cure unit from Workhorse Products ( features a Workhorse ceramic IR heating panel Products that’s engineered with three heat reflectors to trap heat and provide enhanced edge curing. The head can be rotated 360°, and the angle of the panel can be adjusted by a knob. The unit stands on a five-leg base and can accommodate designs up to 16 x 16 in. (406 x 406 mm). Options include an automatic rotation box for moving the flash in and out of position using a foot pedal or a dwell timer; a stand with a wider base; a temperature-control box; locking casters; and more. It comes as a 110- or 220-v model.

Scrimless PET Media Value Vinyls (www.valuevinyls. com) recently debuted its line of Rio PET Sign Media. The scrimless products feature a matte finish that is compatible with screen printing, digital printing, and pressure-sensitive lettering. They’re intended for long-term indoor and short-term outdoor display usage and engineered to provide low-curl when producing hemless signs. Rio PET 16-oz Opaque Ultra Smooth can be Value Vinyls printed on one or two sides and is compatible with latex inks. Rio PET 13-oz Backlit can be printed on one side and is engineered to provide vibrancy

new products

print when backlit. Rio PET 13-oz Grey Back can be printed on one side and features a grey back, which value Vinyls says offers for a more economical choice to minimize image show through. All media offerings are available in widths up to 126 in. (3200 mm).

UV-Ink Tester

window applications even easier. The film has a low-tack adhesive that’s repositionable and is formulated to remove with little to no residue. LexJet explains that printers image to the window-grip adhesive, which has an ink-receptive coating, and then apply the graphic to the inside of the window with the adhesive and image facing out. According to LexJet, once the film is applied, it will stick to the glass for up to a year. FaceMount Perforated Window Grip is designed only for use with low-solvent and solvent printers and is available rolls sizes of 54 in. x 82 ft and 27 in. x 12 ft (1372 mm x 25 m and 686 mm x 3.6 m).

Color-Separation Plug-In FineEye Color Solutions Inc. ( has issued ICEit! 2.0, a color-separation solution delivered as a Photoshop plug-in. The company says ICEit! captures more of the original RGB image’s color gamut during the CMYK conversion, resulting in cleaner, brighter images that require less color editing. The plug-in supports GRACoL and SWOP specifications and is offered as a base product and a professional version that includes additional functionality. For example, ICEit! Pro allows users to place ICEit! separations in Photoshop layers for additional color editing, and it features preset separation options such as Colorize, Brighten, and Extreme.

Dye-Sub and UV Fabrics Pad Print Machinery

Pad Print Machinery of Vermont (www.padprintmachinery. com) recently unveiled is multi-head UV-ink test printer. Its ink-management array includes ink-storage containers engineered for quick changeouts for sampling multiple ink types. The system is designed to enable printers to match different combinations of UV inksets to their substrates and determine the best fit for their applications. According to PPMOV, the printer can be fully integrated into existing systems, including pre- and post-treatment options, conveyors, vision-sensing and other material-handling and on- and off-loading devices.

Perforated Films for Window Graphics


LexJet ( now offers FaceMount Perforated Window Grip, a 60/40 perforated film (60% printable, 40% open area) that the company says is designed to make inside 


Fisher Textiles

Fisher Textiles ( has added styles 1010 Element and GF 7110 X-Out to its line of fabrics for dye sublimation and UV printing. Fisher’s newest awning fabric, 1010 Element, is 8.5 oz/yd2, 60 in. (1524 mm) wide, and 100% polyester. It can also be used for street pole banners and patio furniture and has been tested in accordance with several AATCC test methods for water repellency. GF 7110 X-Out is 6.7 oz/yd2, 110 in. (2794 mm) wide and, while Fisher says it’s comparable to GF 4100 Sheeting, GF 7110 is receptive to dye sublimation. The base fabric is polyester with viscose/rayon flocking. It is FR, passes NFPA 701, and is formaldehyde free.

Digital-Effect Transfers Dalco ( says its Thermo Image Designs can take a garment to the next level with eye-catching digital-effect transfers. The Metal series has the glossy look of reflected light and comes in navy, light gold, smoke, kelly, scarlet, purple, royal, maroon, black, orange, and teal. It’s available in a two-color, vertical-arch, beveled-edge design. The Metal series comes in an adult and a youth size. The adult size has 4-in. (102-mm) letters, and the youth size has 3-in. (76-mm) letters. Numbers 0-99 also are available. According to Dalco, this transfer will adhere to most fabrics at a temperature of 335°F (168°C) for about eight seconds.

Dalco Athletic

Film for Aqueous Inkjet Printers Sihl Digital Imaging ( says its has developed a clear film for use with aqueous inkjet printers that’s easy to print, apply, and remove. Sihl ClearSTICK 3166 is a 2-mil, clear, polyester film that features what Sihl describes as a high-performance, optically clear inkjet coating. The film is engineered for maximum inkload and fast dry times with leading aqueous inkjet printers. According to Sihl, printers can apply front- or reverse-facing graphics. The film’s repositionable adhesive can be applied wet or dry. Sihl ClearSTICK 3166 is available in sizes of 17 in., 24 in., 36 in., and 50 in. x 75 ft (432 mm, 610 mm, 914 mm, and 1270 mm x 23 m).

Mimaki_UJF3042FX_H_SP0212_Layout 1 1/18/12 4:37 PM Page 1

Print directly on heat-sensitive and non-coated materials up to 2” thick. IDEAL FOR: Plaques & Awards • Trophies • ID Badges • Luggage Tags • Electronic Skins • Promotional Items • Interior Signs • Labels, Stickers, Decals.

The Mimaki UJF-3042FX may be small in size but it comes up big in performance. A true multi-tasking UV LED printer that is ideal for one-offs and short run production. 11.8”x16.5” flatbed print area. Compact footprint of 47”x38”. Uses eco-friendly, low VOC UV inks. u White under and overprinting & clear ink capabilities. u New! PR-100 primer ink that allows users to spot prime substrates u u

simultaneously while CMYK printing. Also utilizes LF-140 & LF-200 flexible UV inks, LH-100 hard UV ink, along with white and clear inks.








888-530-3987 Visit our booth and learn more...

Booth 1944 | Orlando • March 22-24

© 2012 Mimaki USA, Inc.

february/march 2012

new products


Solutions for Indigo Inline Priming Michelman ( now offers primer, indicator, and cleaning solutions designed specifically for the optional inline priming (ILP) unit available on the HP Indigo WS6000 and WS6600 digital presses. According to Michelman, the use of the ILP unit with these solutions eliminates the need for pre-planned substrate treatment, allowing lastminute print jobs to be completed more quickly. Michem In-Line Primer 030 imparts a print-receptive surface to paper



substrates and is formulated to improve the transfer and adhesion of HP Indigo Electroinks. Michem Indicator 001 is an indicator solution used to detect the presence of a Michelman inline primer on dry substrates. Michem Clean 1188 is added to the cleaning tank of the inline priming unit.

Film for Aqueous Inkjet Printers Sihl Digital Imaging ( says its has developed a clear film for use with aqueous inkjet printers that’s

easy to print, apply, and remove. Sihl ClearSTICK 3166 is a 2-mil, clear, polyester film that features what Sihl describes as a high-performance, optically clear inkjet coating. The film is engineered for maximum inkload and fast dry times with leading aqueous inkjet printers. According to Sihl, printers can apply front- or reverse-facing graphics. The film’s repositionable adhesive can be applied wet or dry. Sihl ClearSTICK 3166 is available in sizes of 17 in., 24 in., 36 in., and 50 in. x 75 ft (432 mm, 610 mm, 914 mm, and 1270 mm x 23 m).

CAD-Material for Performancewear Stretch, a heat-applied CAD-material from Siser (www., is designed to follow the fibers of the fabric and eliminating the challenge of decorating performance wear. Siser says it is ideal for use on anything that is made of Lycra or similar material and notes that it’s extremely easy to weed. It also adheres to 100% cotton, 100% polyester, and poly/cotton blends. Stretch has a pressure-sensitive carrier and can be peeled hot or cold. The polyurethane film can be used for layering multiple colors.

Send us your product news!


Please send your news releases and photos announcing new products, changes in your business, awards, appointments, and other noteworthy developments to:


Screen Wash A Recycled/Upcycled Safe Solution





february/march 2012



In this installment, Coudray examines why traditional printers are scrambling to find new value.


anuary is one of my favorite months of the year. There’s a personal ritual I go through at this time of year that’s part personal reflection, part goal setting, and part optimistic resolutionist. This year is more significant because it’s definitely no longer business as usual. We’ve all witnessed the changing landscape of our industry and the graphics industry as a whole. There are new competitors and big power players. It wasn’t all that many years ago that companies like HP, Agfa, Fuji, Canon, Ricoh, and the like pretty much blew off the screen-printing industry as being a tiny part of the graphics community and not worthy of their attention. We all know that’s changed. At the same time we’ve seen a convergence of imaging segments as more and more companies try desperately to find new markets, processes, and services to add value to their customer base. It has become an increasingly competitive zero-sum game where your new win represents the loss of someone else’s customer. Combine this harsh reality with continuously declining order size and shorter and shorter production schedules, and you get a pretty good idea of where things are headed. This is exactly what’s been on my mind for quite some time now. So this month I’d like to share some perspectives with you about why our business has been forever and irreversibly changed. Few people realize the permanent nature of this change. We see the outward signs and hear a lot of grumbling and commiserating at trade shows and while visiting printers in their plants. There’s a sort of helplessness present as owners lament the current conditions and reminisce about the good old days. Those of you who’ve followed this column over the years know I have a fascination with how things work. Some of my earliest memories as a child were of taking things apart and trying to put them back together. When simple tweaks to the process don’t work, or don’t last, it’s time to take a deeper look and try to understand how the new model is working. Like most things disruptive today, our challenges have their roots in digital. It has been more than 20 years since we began to witness the infiltration of digital into our industry. In the beginning, the focus was on digital as a step in the production process. This evolved into digital becoming a 12


Mark A. Coudray is president of Coudray Graphic Technologies, San Luis Obispo, CA. He has served as a director of (SGIA) and as chairman of the Academy of Screen Printing Technology. Coudray has authored more than 250 papers and articles over the last 20 years, and he received the SGIA’s Swormstedt Award in 1992 and 1994. He can be reached via e-mail at

competitive process—as in, will inkjet replace screen? We’ve watched the cannibalistic progression go from introduction, to mutual co-existence, to potential process replacement. Processing speeds get faster and faster. Costs for digital technology continue to drop, but there is a bottom to all of this. In dissecting the situation, we get a very different view when we take the position that the ultimate convergence is really a production black hole. We’re moving to a production unit of one, and therein lies a big part of our problem. But that’s still not the root of what drives all things digital. Let’s step back for a moment and look at the historical landscape. For most of the 20th century, we lived in the industrial age of mass production. There were enormous economies of scale in setting up massive factories to churn out millions of cars, washing machines, TV sets, and other consumer goods. We needed mass communication to sell all of this stuff. We were living in the mass consumer economy. This was epitomized by the post war 1950s and 1960s. Mass media existed because of the same economics as mass production. Advertising was sold on a basis of cost per thousand impressions. The more people you could get your message in front of, the more goods you could sell. This worked for all media. Newspapers and magazines flourished, as did direct mail. The capital costs of setting up a printing plant were huge. You needed massive print runs to offset the high preparation costs. Most print was still just black ink, and color was reserved for only the longest run publications or those with very high product value. As digital image processing began to appear, color became much more affordable and prepress costs began to decline in the early 1990s. Screen printing prospered during these years because printers could produce multicolor graphics cheaply, in oversize format, and in relatively short runs. We offered outstanding exterior durability and color fastness. Add to this the wide variety of printable substrates and you have the recipe for a successful niche segment within the multi-billion dollar graphic-arts industry. Our capital costs were nowhere near those of our litho and gravure brothers. Of course, the market size for what we did was less than 5% of the bigger market, but there was still

the prepress wire

plenty of business for all. Everyone had their place, and all was good. Digital started to appear in the 1970s. The first victims were Linotype hot typesetting and then repro and process cameras. It wasn’t long before platemaking was replaced with CTP, and finally direct-to-substrate printing. As digital moved through the production process, it became cheaper and cheaper to do shorter and shorter runs, but that still isn’t what’s behind it all.

Push or pull The fundamental difference between the old mass-media economy and the new digital economy is the difference between push marketing and pull marketing. Mass media is push. The message was pushed out to millions and you were exposed to it whether you liked it or not. This is often referred to as interruption marketing because the viewer’s attention was interrupted by the message. With the introduction and economics of digital came the proliferation of niche marketing efforts and a fragmentation of mass markets into specialty markets. Look at our own industry—specialty graphics is a perfect example. With fragmentation comes competition for our attention. It was no longer possible to blast our message into the face of our customers. Color became commoditized. Now consumers could simply switch their attention to something else and instantly ignore our messages. Now they have huge choices and they aren’t shy about exercising their options. Internet, 500 cable channels, satellite radio, variable data printing: mass communication is the victim. The rise of pull-based marketing means we must now ask, and be granted permission by, our target viewers. The perfect example is the difference between junk mail and CAN-SPAM regulation. Both are essentially direct marketing, but for the old mass-media model, we don’t need permission to buy a name or a target list and market

to it. On the digital side, CAN-SPAM requires we have permission via opt-in before we can send them our messages. The reason this is so important is virtually all graphics production is based on the old mass-communication, push-based model. All of our businesses are based on this model, and every business owner is now trying to fit the square peg of the old model into the round hole of the new model. It just isn’t going to work. You may be able to get a shortterm, incremental business gain by making some changes or moving into new markets or merging with another company. Make no mistake—they are temporary and short term. You’ll be on the continual downward spiral as you search for smaller and smaller niche markets to view your messages. The ultimate convergence is a market of

Relevance is the precursor to engagement. Engagement is the precursor to commerce. From a graphics model, say P-O-P displays, the more relevant the graphic connection with the audience, the more likely they’ll be to take action and buy something. The rise of SEO and social media as a media of relevance should be fundamentally apparent. When I hear business owners blow off Facebook and other forms of social media, my immediate reaction is they haven’t discovered the connection to what they’re doing today and how they’re going to function tomorrow. This isn’t about why you need social media. That would be a tactical argument. I’m more concerned about going beyond it. Social media is a key part of any business in 2012, and it will only increase moving ahead. The key

“The rise of pull-based marketing means we must now ask, and be granted permission by, our target viewers.”

one. The term for this is mass customization, where we’re producing and delivering our message to an individual. On the surface, this is pretty depressing when compared to the way we’ve done our business in the past. But like all things, our point of view is essential in determining the level of our optimism or pessimism. Begin looking at your business from the permissionbased model.

Relevance The key element of a permission model is relevance. The more relevant you are to your customers, the more likely they are to grant you permission. But permission is only the first step. This is your opportunity to present your message—that’s all.

takeaways for you today are pretty straightforward. We’ve moved from a push, massmedia economy to a permission-based, pull-media economy. The dynamics are no longer the same. Our success is being driven by our relevance and connection to our target markets. Our long-term survival will be measured by how long we can hold attention and how we interact during our engagement. Look at your business today and ask yourself how well you would score based on these new rules. In the months to come, I’ll be exploring some of the specific tactics you can explore to make the transition from where you are today into the new, digitally driven economy.

february/march 2012



This month, Trimingham provides guidelines for working with sometimes challenging materials in the quest to produce outstanding garment prints.


great way to increase the profits on a screen-printed shirt is to give it an attention-getting sparkle. When a client looks across the room and that glint hits their eye, they will almost certainly value the product more highly because they know that they can sell it quickly. Screen prints that are augmented with special effects like foil and glitter have a higher perceived value from the consumer, so the reseller is willing to pay more for them, which adds up to more money for the printer. The challenge is to design the screen-printed items so that the application of the special effects are less of a headache and don’t create too much of a backup during production. An easy way to control the variables and achieve dramatic special effects that are simple to execute is to use a three-step process of educating yourself and selling the client on the process, designing the image for the effect, and then testing the process prior to full production. If you can cover these concepts in the beginning, successful and profitable production runs are almost guaranteed. There are many reasons to consider adding special effects to your printing arsenal, but it is still common for the majority of screen printers who don’t currently handle these effects to shy away from them. In some cases, it is simply a matter of leaving the comfort zone that causes a printer to hesitate when using special effects. Sometimes, it is a prior bad experience with a printed effect causes them avoid all effects. Other printers avoid expanding their shops with new equipment or don’t want to do the legwork, but there is one thing that will always get a dedicated screen printer to rise up and take on new things: a challenge from a paying customer! If a good client walked into a print shop and wanted a big order with an effect, it would have the art department and the production department in a meeting in no time looking for a way to make it happen. The truth is that a printer usually needs to get some samples of a cool effect done right, and then his steady clients will see it and say, “That’s cool! I want to have an order with that.” This is why it is far easier to sell a customer on an effect that you have already done just by showing a sample and discussing the way it would be used for the customer. De14


Thomas Trimingham has worked in the screenprinting industry for more than 15 years as an artist, art director, industry consultant, and head of R&D for some of the nation’s largest screen printers. He is an award-winning illustrator, designer, and author of more than 45 articles on graphics for screen printing. He can be reached at

signs that include sparkle in them typically sell themselves to customers because of the impact value. As long as the effect makes sense with the artwork and the customer in question, it can really set a screen printer apart from the competition with a minimum amount of new work that needs to be done. These days, a printer can use every device to differentiate themselves from the competition and to get a new customer to come shopping. Special effects can be a great way to do that and, at the same time, they can create all-new product offerings to existing customers that may have waited to order but now get excited by the new possibilities enough to buy early just to see how cool it will look. The first step to learning a new effect is to touch base with your local ink representative and have a meeting to discuss the technical specifications that are required to achieve the look you want. The last thing you want to do is to attempt and plan a special effect and then find out your equipment won’t handle the curing that is required or that you need a different exposure unit after you have already sold an order with the effect. Most ink-distribution companies will supply sample sizes of the varieties of inks needed to try out a new special effect, and they should also have details on the printing process that will need to happen to make the effect work. Once you have the right ingredients to start the testing process, it is important that you consider the special effect’s qualities and use a design that will showcase it for maximum effect. Just doing strips or shapes to see how the ink works is fine, but if you are testing a product all the way through, why not create an example that can also be used as a sales or promotional piece? Concerns during the test of a new process typically revolve around the transition from a testing phase into an actual production order. Will the special effect process be repeatable, and will it be a lot slower per print than a normal printed piece? This is where screen printers will think themselves right out of doing a challenging effect. The main idea is to try it out and then evaluate the process. Many effects can justify an extra cost if they are displayed and explained properly to a customer. Learning about the special effects that you would like

expert apparel

to test is a necessary step. First, find out the information about the effect itself, and then look at the application process. Finally, come up with the design to test the process in your shop and see what the benefits and concerns are along the way. The sample can be showcased to different clients as an additional process option that they can select. Often, a far more effective way to sell a special effect (and help to separate your screen-printing operation from the competition at the same time) is to create a design template that can appeal to a client niche and then present the printed sample and offer the template with a simple name drop to several companies. In this manner of prepared sales, the client gets a design for a fraction of the cost of custom artwork—or for free, depending upon the sales position—and the final product includes a really cool special effect. A common mistake for printers is assuming that their clients can somehow visualize the inclusion of a special effect into their artwork during the design process and that they will request it without a sales aid. There is no sales aid as effective as a printed sample of a design in the right market to sell a special effect.

Working with glitter Glitter has made a furious comeback from obscurity in the past ten years. Though it has faded slightly in popularity in the past few years, it still remains strong in many junior markets and with different cheer and dance lines of clothing (Figure 1). Printing glitter doesn’t have to be difficult, but it often can be a challenge if the process is to result in a sparkling finished product. The issues with glitter are that it can clog on the screen or not adhere to the garment if not printed properly. These two issues are best corrected by using the proper screen mesh and the right base in which to suspend the glitter particles. Glitter is typically printed in two different ways onto garments: for total coverage and as an overprint. Though both of these methods require

Figure 1 (Top) Plenty of profitable markets exist for glitterenhanced designs.

Figure 2 (Bottom) Using glitter to mimic rhinestones saves time and money.

similar components, the end results are noticeably different.

Coverage glitter When a consumer thinks of a glitter print, it is usually a coverage glitter print. This is where the glitter is packed together to form a solid area that completely covers the shirt fabric. The challenge to this style of print is that it is crunchy and uncomfortable to wear if a large area is covered in a design. For this reason, coverage-glitter printing tends to work best with designs that are broken up into pieces or when the glitter is printed as an outline or augmenting area to the edges of a design. A common use of glitter is to print it in dots to simulate rhinestones to save the extra cost of using the real thing (Figure 2). An average screen print of glitter might use these products if the desire is to cover the print area completely: silver poly glitter from Meadowbrook

(silver jewel 0.015 hex). This flake would be suspended at roughly 30% volume with Glitter Base (Rutland ink). The screen mesh would need to be 2530 threads/in. and stretched as tight as possible to provide the best open area. Often, the emulsion needs to be chilled or used with higher solids content to cover this low a mesh count. The printing needs to be done with a hard flood to fill the stencil and then a lighter and slower print with a softer squeegee to clear out the stencil.

Glitter as an overprint The whole look of this style of glitter printing is for it to not look printed at all, but rather as if the glitter were just dusted on over areas of an existing print. When this style of glitter printing is done correctly, it can really create an extra little bling to a print that helps to sell a customer. While there are many operations that insist on dusting on the glitter, this isn’t always the best option february/march 2012


Figure 3 (LEFT) Minimizing the use of base maximizes the effect of glitter.

Figure 4 (RIGHT) Foil can improve the looks of designs intended to meet modern fashion trends.

if you want to avoid a constant mess in the shop. Using glitter as an overprint generates the desired effect without the mess. The key is to find the right combination of products to do it. The most common method associated with glitter overprints is to thin out or add base to a regular glitter and then use a slightly higher mesh and print it faster. The key is for very little of the base to go down, just enough to carry the particles and then disappear as the garment is cured. The trick to getting a glitter overprint to work is to test it out with different ratios of glitter to base and then adjust the printing speeds. When the design is created, the glitter can cover as much or as little of the design as needed without adding a lot of weight because most of the thinned-out base just shrinks away in the dryer, leaving the glitter exposed and shiny (Figure 3). Specifications for overprint glitter vary so much depending upon the shop and the press in use. A good start is a slightly smaller sized glitter and a reduced ratio of glitter 10-15%. This mixture can be printed through a smaller mesh count (40-60 threads/in.) at a higher speed to achieve the right blend of sparkle without too much base.

Fabulous foil While glitter may have faded a degree in popularity, foil prints have taken 16


off into many mainstream markets, including some interesting runs into menswear in the past few years. One of the big reasons for foil’s appeal is that is very soft. New versions of foil can be easily applied over other screen prints so they work dramatically well when they are showcased with a background print that looks dull and washed out. Many of the newer fashion trends relate to thinner garments with washed and worn out looks that can be augmented by foil accents without making the garment uncomfortable to wear (Figure 4). It is truly the best way to get a metallic look on a garment without the hard feel. The challenge to achieving a foil print is that an extra step needs to be considered to make the foil adhere to the adhesive. This step requires the use of a heat press after the garment has been cured through the dryer. This extra step is the reason so many printers avoid foil. They don’t want to handle the shirt multiple times. But as long as this cost is factored into the price, the final result of brightness, reflectivity, and sparkle is well worth the effort.

Designing with foil in mind The first thing to consider is whether the foil print will be complete coverage or an accent. If the design will have non-foiled areas with ink showing, the safest way to go is to use water-based

ink. This ink won’t bind to the foil during the heat-press step. There are some plastisol products that claim to work, but these need to be tested carefully. You don’t want to learn after all the shirts are printed that the foil sticks where it shouldn’t. If you want to master foil printing on top of screen prints, you will have to practice first with the water-based and discharge printing so that you can have the full advantage of the soft-handed prints that won’t stick to the foil (except where they are supposed to). Foil tends to work best when it is used in designs similar to way glitter is: in smaller areas and accents, which are best for application and comfort issues (Figure 5). The next step is to print whatever image in water-based ink that you want to go under the design. The last impression in the print order can then be a foil adhesive, after which the garment is cured through the dryer. There are many products on the ink market that work well as a foil adhesive. The best typically are ones that have a high tack value and will stick to the foil when they are hot. Many printers will color the adhesive to look similar to the foil in case the foil doesn’t release completely (Figure 6). Foil comes in rolls or sheets. It is important to acquire foil that is made for heat-press and garment application.



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Figure 5 Foil is effective in small doses.

A piece of foil is placed over the cured adhesive on the garment, shiny side up, in the heat press, and then pressure and heat are applied according to the directions from the manufacturer to give the best result. The excess foil is

Figure 6 Coloring adhesive can prevent problems with aesthetics caused by incomplete foil release.

then stripped away. Glitter or foil should be a special effect that most screen printers have in their shops. These add significant perceived value to the printed garment without a lot of extra cost in either

labor or materials. The printing and application of these special effects can generate great attention when they are integrated into designs that allow for the dramatic sparkle to show through.

MESH Blog Conversations within the screen-printing community

Find MESH blog at under “News & Trends” 18


• Post your comment • Share information • Keep the conversation going • Look, learn and maybe even laugh

Limitless Possibilities and the Power of Resources

Kelso and Ashley Brennan own Thinkwerx— self-described as: your one-stop-shop for all your marketing solutions. The company motto is: “You think it, we ink it”. They hail from Canada and are definitely not your average mom and pop screen printing shop. Just three years into their dream of running their own company the Brennans, and their talented team, are having a blast and business is thriving. They’ve got themselves a hip and successful company… so how do they do it? When asked what contributes to the success of Thinkwerx Kelso talks about strategy and learning while emphasizing the importance of having access to solid industry resources. A large part of their business revolves around promotional merchandise. To increase their abilities and offerings in this arena they are members of ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute). By using ASI, Thinkwerx has access to the largest media and marketing company serving the advertising specialty industry, “We use valuable tools like ASI to expand our service network and save a ton of time. The more we use ASI to source reliable products and suppliers, the faster we become. Our order capacity has continued to grow each month, along with our sales.” For education, they turn to Ryonet—the industry’s leader in screen printing supplies and training. Having first discovered the screen printing supplier in an online search, Kelso has attended classes, owns Ryonet’s educational DVD collection and Ryonet is their go-to source for equipment and support. “Thinkwerx has been fortunate to surpass any expectations we could have dreamed from the onset”. Having the support of companies like ASI and Ryonet only furthers the potential of what Thinkwerx can and will do. Find out how Ryonet and ASI can add to your business:

NEW DIMENSIONS IN GRAPHICS A Look at Lenticular Displays

This article demystifies the process of producing lenticular designs and describes how modern imaging technology simplifies the associated workflow. Jeff Miller HumanEyes Technologies


FIGURE 1 Modern flatbed UV inkjet printers facilitate direct printing of lenticular designs directly onto lenticular lenses for backlit graphics.



he cutting edge of visual technology is once again centered on 3D, and it looks like it is here to stay. Consumers are excited by 3D, as we’ve seen with the recent box office success of 3D movies and the explosion of 3D television programming. Add to that video gaming, consumer video and still cameras, and smart phones, and you have a trend with no apparent end. Naturally, designers and brands want to exploit 3D technology for print campaigns, too. Lenticular 3D printing is not new, but in the past it could be a difficult medium to master—and certainly took many printers out of their comfort zones. But the technology in the digital-imaging arena has continued to improve and, as a result, we have new tools that generate high-quality 3D lenticular prints quicker and easier than ever before. The appeal of 3D, coupled with clean workflows and superior print output, means a highly profitable product. Potentially lucrative applications for lenticular graphics include wide-format signage, P-O-P and P-O-S displays, environmental and architectural installations, vending machines and ATMs, backlit displays (Figure 1), wayfinding signage, and more. For those of you considering lenticular printing as a product offering, let’s take a quick look at the workflow and equipment to be considered for high quality lenticular production.

Design To get started, you need the proper equipment and quali-

fied production staff. But the most important component for premium 3D lenticular printing is the quality of the content and design. When a designer nails content and layout, the wow factor is undeniable (Figure 2). Viewers are simply delighted. Viewers linger over 3D lenticular prints. They comment on them and pass them around to their friends. There simply isn’t anything in the print world that gets that kind of reaction. Good design strengthens the 3D illusion, and great design can cause viewers to try to actually reach into a 3D print. However, designers who are new to lenticular 3D may not know what design components are necessary to get that impact. For instance, many brands require designers to use fonts, logos, and colors that work against a strong 3D illusion. Truly successful designs come from specific design knowledge and good coaching from experienced 3D designers. 3D design for lenticular printing isn’t taught in very many formal design programs and frankly, the percentage of designers who have designed in 3D is small. But this is changing, and we are seeing designers embrace lenticular design. The good news is that high-quality 3D lenticular design can be learned quickly, and it’s easier to master the strategies and techniques for lenticular design than ever before. Most designers today use individual layers for each element in their designs. Designing in layers allows for existing 2D designs to be converted into 3D lenticular-ready files by setting the individual layers into depth planes. It is also possible to assign volume and change a flat layer into a layer with shape. Adding volume to a key focal point layer, like a face and torso, can provide a powerful 3D illusion. Along with using the individual layers to create the illusion of depth, you’ll need to apply some basic principles of 3D design to give the viewer a strong sense of depth and perspective. In many cases, designers do this

with design elements that are carefully sized and proportioned to support their placement in the foreground and carry viewers’ focus to the background. As a consumer, you see this technique in new video-game designs and in 3D animated movies; the effect is similar when the technique is applied to 3D print design. Your team can be trained to convert 2D files to 3D and prepare lenticular 3D files for printing, and you can provide this as a service to your clients looking for 3D but lacking the expertise to create 3D files. Now you’re ready to print, but you’ll want to have the appropriate software and hardware.

Software Several software programs contain new tools that allow for high quality 3D design for lenticular printing. Adobe Photoshop, for example, uses layers for designing. In CS4 Extended, Adobe delivered a new set of features just to set up layered files for 3D and tools for interlacing and printing. Adobe took its 3D-creation tools to yet another level with the launch of CS5 and added powerful options and actions for the creation of 3D text and graphics that can translate beautifully to 3D lenticular printing. You also need production software. HumanEyes Technologies, Imagiam, ProMagic, and PowerIllusion all provide such tools. If you want to move into true commercial lenticular production, you will want to do your homework and purchase the most robust production solutions available. The strength of your design tools, interlacing engine, and production assets play a big factor in your true production speed and limit the time involved in content creation, file correction, and basic modification. A streamlined workflow means faster production and greater profits. Once you’re in the lenticular 3D business, you can begin to explore other lenticular effects, such as flip, motion, zoom, and morph. These eyecatching effects can add a whole new dimension to your lenticular design.

FIGURE 2 This example shows how selecting an ideal graphic for a lenticular display can produce a stunning end product. The accompanying rendering demonstrates a three-dimensional lenticular effect with a great amount of depth.

If you are new to lenticular design and production, you might consider training for your team. There are independent consultants in the market and software specialists that provide remote and onsite lenticular design and productionworkflow training around the globe. FEBRUARY/MARCH 2012





Printers and production Possibly the biggest improvement in successful lenticular printing production has come with the latest flatbed UV inkjet printers. These new printers give a print shop the ability to reverse print the interlaced digital file directly to the backside of the lenticular lens without lamination or special coatings. This brings labor and material costs down significantly and delivers improved productivity. The flatbed UV inkjet printer was a game changer for lenticular-display printing. Registration of the interlaced file to the lenticular lens is a critical step in the production process. These new flatbed printers make registering a lens for application of the interlaced file much simpler and much faster. The process becomes even easier when you couple the newest printer technology with robust software. The combination of direct printing on lenticular lenses with software that creates a registration file with a series of registration lines based on the necessary pitch-test measurement is powerful. Pitch-testing the lenticular lens to the imaging device will determine the interlacing pitch. Each imaging device can, and will, have a bit of variance. This means you may see a slight difference between printers from the same manufacturer and even the same model type. Use the same device for

production that you used to perform your pitch test. This registration file is sent through the RIP and is imaged directly to the printer’s bed. The production team then uses the series of registration lines from that file to register the lenticular lens right on the bed. Precise registration is completed using visual alignment and inspection. If there are multiple pieces in the job, the operator can simply move to the next lens, register the next lens to the registration lines, draw down the substrate with the vacuum table, and hit print. You can repeat this step as many times as needed to complete the job. Inkjet printers that excel at lenticular production are flatbeds with large vacuum tables that keep the lenticular substrate drawn down securely to the table. This allows extremely precise registration. In addition to the vacuum table, these new printers jet very small ink droplets, producing near photo-quality results. The new lineup of flatbed printers on the market allows for CMYK and white ink, which means lenticular-display production for frontlit and backlit applications involves just the application of ink. The current crop of qualified flatbed UV inkjet printers for lenticular displays includes EFI’s Rastek T660 and Rastek T1000, Fujifilms’s Acuity line, Océ’s Arizona line, and Mimaki’s JF line.

Remember, a lenticular 3D display is a high-quality and high-impact product, but it is not typically ordered in high volume. A large print campaign, such as a run of movie posters, will often be supplemented with 3D pieces, but it is rarely exclusively 3D. However, shorter runs for environmental

or architectural design products—for use in hotel lobbies or museum installations, for instance—can benefit from the strong appeal of lenticular printing. Jeff Miller is sales director, Americas, for HumanEyes Technologies. He can be reached at jeffm@

Selling Lenticular 3D products are more expensive to produce due to the cost associated with the lenticular substrate, but they have much greater visual impact, and so command a higher price point. To sell lenticular products successfully, you will need to make the value proposition clear to your particular market segment. High-quality samples, a clear sales pitch that emphasizes the sizzle that can only be found in 3D, and a willingness to educate your clients on the design and production process will help ensure your success.

february/march 2012


The Wonderful World of UV Special Effects Find out how you can use the latest generation of UV-curable inks and coatings to add value to signs, graphics, packaging, and other screen-printed applications. Mike Young Imagetek Consulting Int’l


he playing field within the printing community has undergone seismic changes during the past decade or more, where one dedicated process muscles in to take business away from other processes’ traditional territory, hoping to bring in much needed profit. Margins are squeezed so tight that many printed jobs seem to be a gift, as the proverbial pie appears to be getting smaller. As profits continue to dwindle with no letup in sight, printers of all stripes (offset, flexo, digital, and screen) are desperately seeking resourceful ways to shore up their own bottom lines just to stay in business. Perhaps the most resourceful and least costly approach to succeed in winning additional profitable business is to provide value-added finishing features—the types that bring unique sensations by effectively transforming any ordinary looking print into an extraordinary, breathtaking one. Creating value with special effects Screen printers are beginning to recognize a new, extremely lucrative market niche that has suddenly increased the size of the pie: value-added special effects. Print buyers are more demanding 24


than ever. They want more and better for less. But they are also clamoring to provide excitement for their own markets and customers—something totally different and imposing; something very special and stunning. Buyers are more than willing in mindset to spend additional premiums for something that clearly sets their prints apart and boasts some form of electrifying enhancement. While screen printing is known as the poor cousin of the allied printing community, it provides some of the most spectacular, visual-enhancing results that no other process can emulate. The type of special effects referred to here are those created by a single pass or multiple layers of specially formulated, UV-curable clear coating (varnish), together with additives as necessary. These products are designed to provide an abundance of different effects according to desired needs. Further spectacular results can be produced with combination layers and applied onto unprinted coated/uncoated stocks, thereby creating an inexpensive assortment of exclusive-looking substrate types, such as foil-likeness but in selective areas (Figure 1). Interestingly enough, these

special-effect UV inks can be coated onto any previously printed material to provide an enhanced effect, whether the job was originally produced by offset, flexo, digital, or screen. The extraordinary pulling power of these effects can produce deep gloss, texture, abrasive feel, wrinkle, coral, icy snow, genuine-looking silver/gold, bubble, glitter, selective foil stamping, and fine line micro-embossing and 3D holographic designs. The purpose and target for special effects Value-added features provide subtle, but distinctive, characteristics to a print and a unique boost in appearance to a sign, display, or product package, enabling it to stand head and shoulders above the rest. The aim is to draw immediate attention by an unspoken message, be remembered the longest, and, if required, entice viewers into an intended action. Take five small, similar sized posters displayed together in a bookstore or travel agency, for instance. Other than the book covers’ graphics or vacation destinations’ sceneries, chances are none will particularly standout—that is, unless one had something

Figure 2

Figure 1

A visually stunning, but economically and creatively printed, selective foil-like finish gives a distinctive look of richness to packaging materials.

visually compelling to attract viewers’ sensory interest more than the others (Figure 2), being mindful that real-life samplings provide more pronounced and accentuated characteristics of the added features. Special-effect UV inks and coatings can help screen printers produce graphics that people literally want to see, touch, and feel—especially when the aesthetics are breathtaking in comparison to the status quo. While gaining more business is the obvious reason to take on such work, the underlying motive is clearly to improve the bottom line. The marketplace today is entrenched competitively in every measurable way, and more jobs are undertaken at ridiculously low margins—a practice unheard of recently. To reverse this futile dilemma, it is good to know print buyers can be convinced to pay a premium to make their prints or products stand out in an eye-catching and pleasing way. Special effects can be the largest, or only, money-making part of the whole job, regardless of which printing process was originally used. The markets for special effects are plentiful in general merchandise, posters, P-O-P/P-O-S displays, children’s products, reference books, digitally printed publications, greeting cards, calendars, catalogs/folders (Figure 3), advertisements, high-end/luxury label-

A wrinkle effect, such as the example shown here, can increase viewers’ awareness of a printed graphic and its value. It adds visual and tactile appeal.

ing and packaging (Figures 4 and 5), audio-visual products, cosmetics and jewelry, and more. In particular, combining valueadded special effects with offset-, inkjet, flexo-, or screen-printed graphics can land a printer in a rewarding and profitable niche that offers marketers, designers, and print buyers truly enhanced, unique-looking possibilities to make the initial difference—the only one that matters: increasing sales! Ultimately, special-effects packaging and labels carry their own enormous power of attraction and curiosity to excite consumers and drive desire for ownership. Shifting business core to multiprocess operations Screen-printed special effects provoke a significant response from markethungry promoters for new ideas by exploring creative and innovative solutions that add value. Many offset and digital companies are now embracing the screen process because they felt it was the missing link to expand their business and bottom line. One offset company with 12 presses said the move into screen was bold because they considered it a backward step! Their expectations have since been superseded in less than a year by an average of 100,000 sheets weekly—a runaway success as the appetite for creative finishing soars.

Figure 3

Inexpensive, eye-catching, custommade publication covers and catalog folders give product information or data a professional edge.

Industry’s inclination is beginning to shift from a single-process to multiprocess approach as print buyers’ needs are becoming more passionate in today’s highly competitive environment. It has been estimated that 35% offset printers require some form of special effects that they are unable to perform in house. Printing companies not into the special-effects-finishing market risk leaving money on the table. While difficult to determine in present-day screen printing, consumables suppliers generally agree that offset/digital printers are supplementing their in-house capabilities with screen printing at the annual rate of 5%, which is expected to grow some 15% in the immediate future. Even though the practice of special effects is still much in its infancy, one training school enrolls some 60 participants monthly just february/march 2012


Figures 4 (top left) and 5 (above)

Shown here are examples of a Christmas candy box that attracts buyers without showing its contents graphically and a micro-embossed, foil-like gift box that gives it contents a touch of elegance and opulence at a fraction of the cost of the real thing.

Figures 6 (middle) and 7 (bottom)

These examples show how UV-curable coatings can be used to produce crystallike water droplets and an abrasive surface texture.



to learn the art of it. An exceptionally high level of interest also exists in exploring features that could enhance many industrial applications too, making an array of products stand out with greater prominence. Specialeffects screen printing can potentially replace foil stamping, doming, silvering and micro-embossing—effects that, in many instances, are costly and very slow inhouse processes. While illusionary 3D labels are attention-grabbing, taking the feature to another dimension with hypnotic, 4D dome labels reflects stunning imagination of space, haptic-friendly motion, and depth under any printed domed logo/label. What types of special effects are possible? New special-effect inks and coatings are UV curable and designed for compatibility with one another, thereby enabling the production of a wide variety of surface treatments, finishes, and characteristics. They augment the visual and tactile appeal of printed graphics, and they’re formulated to

yield the exact same finishing characteristics regardless of printing and finishing equipment used in the production workflow. Furthermore, the coatings are all designed to generate a desired finish right out of the can without measuring or special mixing, except for customization with additives. Each can be used alone or as part of other printed elements to provide varying levels of hand, dimensional appearance, gloss or matte finish, highlights and reflective elements, and more. Numerous types of special effects can be created to provide a distinctive and stunning addition to any plain-looking print to bring it alive (Figures 6 and 7). These UV-curable formulations can deliver spectacular special effects simply through creative printmanship, either singly or in multiple layers, for something remarkably out of the ordinary. Example include: • Deep/high gloss for superb spot lamination or to provide a wet, glossy look selectively to an existing matte surface to highlight subject matter • Deep matte for lamination and to give a sense of rich depth or to reverse an existing glossy surface selectively to accentuate another part of the print • Crystal provides a dazzling, light, glistening, transparency finish for a different effect than deep/high gloss; startling finishes include water droplets or sparkling effects with glitter

Figure 8

A relief tactile effect can be used creatively on displays and product packaging.

flakes—a great transition by adding a touch of reality to jewelry. Highly visible lamination radiates when printed over silver, gold, or virtually any color. It also can be used for tactile applications (Figure 8), Braille, doming, and more. Refractive creates 3D holographic or micro-embossed effects. A foil-like surface is child’s play with unlimited vector patterns (Figure 9). Texture simulations, such as leatherlike finishing, are possible and can form realistic surface consistency or can be applied to backgrounds to develop breathtaking exteriors. Softening effects are possible and can de-emphasize backgrounds with a suede-like characteristic and feel. Relief effects are possible with specialty, UV-curable coatings—a great way to add 3D effects, as well as thick-film deposits to small, round objects such as berries, pebbles, etc. Coral/bubble effects provide a deep, distinct bubble effect to accentuate pimple-/dimple-like surfaces, such as the stigma center of flowers. Abrasive roughness is possible in varying degrees and provides a great looking finish to images that call for rough surfaces—a feel that is not meant to be smooth to the touch, such as a crab, brick, sand, concrete, etc., to emphasize real-life characteristics. Sparkle sheen with deep luster accents the body of a car, appliance, machine, or any decorated panel surface to confer an elegantly ap-

Figure 9

A wide range of 3D holographic effects can be created with ease and overprinted to create dynamic, pulsating effects.

pointed finishing touch not possible by other means. Can anyone screen these special effects? In a word, yes. Any company that has UV screen-printing capabilities can reap the rewards of creating special effects for their own customers. For long production runs, those usually printed by offset, are best screen printed with a cylinder line rather than semi-automatics designed for short-run lots. During this year alone, a large number of digital printers invested for the first time in screen printing (talk about a major trend reversal) with offset printers joining the club to provide their own customers with these exciting finishing effects. This is not surprising when considering such alluring, value-added print features become the new redeemer for print buyers—and printers alike—and one that can almost name its own price just to satisfy the objective. Providing special effects can enable any printing company to win business and increase profits. Enterprising printing companies today are seeking ingenious ways to enhance their customers’ products, by adding and creating value-added additions to their in-house capabilities. These special features are truly unique and striking, each with distinct properties for many knock-your-socks-off applications. The results have such an impact that virtually any graphics application can be transformed to provide added embellishments that promote genuine isolation from the competition.

In today’s economic climate, there has never been a better time or opportunity to reignite one’s business passion by strategically embracing an extraordinary market niche that can infuse much needed financial benefits into an existing printing operation. Screen printing is a tried and true process that exists largely today due to its ability to print the widest range of substrates with the broadest selection of inks and coatings and its support for intense color vibrancy and opacity that deliver the greatest visual impact of any printing process. It has been said that you only have one chance to make a lasting impression. UV special effects are limited only by imagination, so innovative printers who are willing to think outside the box will enjoy a higher return on their venture with value-added features that radiates excitement instead of minimizing cost per printed unit. When special effects become product, profits increase. Mike Young ( has spent 40 years as a specialist in high-definition graphic and industrial screen printing. He is an SGIA Fellow, a member of the Academy of Screen Printing Technology, and a recipient of the prestigious Swormstedt Award for technical writing. He frequently writes for industry trade publications and speaks at international industry events. Young has published several technical books on advanced screen-printing techniques and frequently conducts seminars for high-profile screenprinting companies worldwide. Young is a consultant with Imagetek Consulting Int’l.

february/march 2012


A Primer for Printing on Plastic Substrates Learn the basics for printing on two popular plastic materials used in display applications.

Omer Shoham Palram Industries Ltd.


ost plastic sheets perform superbly in a wide range of graphics applications and can be used to create weatherresistant signs, displays, or P-O-P materials. Their smooth surface is ideal for all types of graphics, and they require little surface preparation or treatment. This article focuses on polycarbonate (PC) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), both of which are commonly used for signage and graphics. Cleaning/pretreating The surface of PC or PVC sheets should be cleaned before printing. Isopropyl alcohol and a clean cloth can be used to clean the surface and remove static electricity. Depending on the specific application, certain pre-treatments may also be required. Screen printing The screen-printing process is relatively simple when working with PC or PVC. The surface of PVC has a closed-cell, matte finish that allows mistakes to wipe off easily with the appropriate thinner. Vinyl and vinyl/acrylic, solvent-based inks are compatible with foam PVC. Only acrylic-based ink may be used with PC. The use of water-based screen has also had some success with PC/PVC material, but you must follow directions from ink manufacturers very carefully. Surface preparation of PC/PVC for screen printing is similar to those of painting. • The surface to be screen printed must remain dry, clean, and grease free. • Any surface scratches on the PC/PVC will have a tendency to show as a shadow through the ink. • It is highly recommended that the surface be cleaned with a white cloth moistened with isopropyl alcohol prior to printing. • All screen-printing inks should be tested in a manner that duplicates your printing process before initiating production, especially when using PC. It is strongly recommended to consult the appropriate ink manufacturer regarding any required ink additives, such as a catalyst, for proper adhesion and exterior usage. • Screen-printing ink should air dry, rather than be heat dried. Temperatures in excess of 150°F may cause warping or bowing of foam PVC material; PC is suitable for high temperatures. • All UV screen-printing inks that are compatible with rigid PVC will work on foam PVC. The most important factor to be considered when using UV systems is the curing oven. Low-wattage bulbs should be used to keep the temperature below 150°F. UV curing systems that have variable-speed conveyors are considered the best type to use with foam PVC. Direct digital printing Wide-format inkjet printers use various ink and ink-curing



technologies to allow high-quality printing at relatively high speeds. High-quality digital printing depends on various factors: printer capabilities, ink technology and quality, type of printing substrate and quality, and machine operator. Note that foamed PVC is suitable for use with UV and solventbased digital inks, and for IR drying when water-based inks are used. The substrateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s protective polyethylene film mask (Figure 1) helps prevent surface abrasion and stains. However, removing the protective film may cause an increase of static electric charge, which can affect ink coverage and adhesion. Therefore, after peeling the film away from the sheet, the static electricity that has built up on the sheet should be discharged using an ionized gun or a suitable device provided by the printer manufacturer. The surface should be clean before printing. Carefully inspect each panel to ensure there is no dust, fingerprints, residue, or other problematic substances that may affect ink coverage or adhesion. If needed, the plastics should be cleaned with a damp rag, or with isopropyl alcohol. The distance between the inkjet printhead and the substrate can have a significant effect on print quality (Figure 2). Manufacturer specifications, combined with and operator experience, should determine printhead distance from

Terminology Chemical resistance A material or surface is exposed to the relevant chemical for a longer, defined period of time and the relevant area then inspected microscopically. Possible changes which could occur include: discoloration, alteration in the degree of shine, softening, swelling, detachment of coatings, and blistering. Ease of fabrication The ability of the printed substrate to undergo machining, cutting, routing, gluing, drilling, fastening, adhesive bonding, welding, and other processes. Impact resistance In material science and metallurgy, toughness is the ability of a material to absorb energy and plastically deform without fracturing. Material toughness is defined as the amount of energy per volume that a material can absorb before rupturing. It is also defined as the resistance to fracture of a material when stressed. Light diffusion (especially as it relates to hiding LEDs) Diffuse reflection is the reflection of light from a surface such that an incident ray is reflected at many angles rather than at just one angle as in the case of specular reflection. An illuminated ideal diffuse reflecting surface will have equal luminance from all directions in the hemisphere surrounding the surface (Lambertian reflectance). Light transmission Percentage of incident visible light that passes through an object. In the field of optics, transparency is the physical property of allowing light to pass through a material; translucency only allows light to pass through diffusely. The opposite property is opacity. Transparent materials appear clear, with the overall appearance of one color, or any combination leading up to a brilliant spectrum of every color. Service-temperature range Thermal degradation of polymers is molecular deterioration as a result of overheating. At high temperatures the components of the long chain backbone of the polymer can begin to separate (molecular scission) and react with one another to change the properties of the polymer. Thermal degradation can present an upper limit to the service temperature of plastics as much as the possibility of mechanical property loss.

Figure 1 Sheets of rigid media may come with protective film (release liner) on one or both sides to shield against surface abrasion as the plastic substrates travel through distribution channels and into the enduserâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s printing facility. Extra care must be taken when handling unprotected films, and plastics that feature protective films should be checked for static buildup when the films are peeled away.

Vacuum forming This is a simplified version of thermoforming, whereby a sheet of plastic is heated to a forming temperature, stretched onto or into a singlesurface mold, and held against the mold by applying vacuum between the mold surface and the sheet. The vacuum-forming process can be used to make most product packaging, speaker casings, and even car dashboards. february/march 2012


Figure 2 (TOP) Printhead height is among the important factors that affect image quality. Consult the printer manufacturer and substrate supplier for guidance when it comes to adjusting printhead height.

Figure 3 (Bottom) UV inksâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;whether screen printed or, as shown here, digitally printedâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;rely on exposure to ultraviolet light as certain wavelengths to cure. Overexposure to UV light can damage the plastic substrates and inks.

the substrate. The suggested starting distance should not be more than 2 mm from the printhead to the substrate. Ink PC/PVC is suitable for all types of inks: aqueous, solventbased, and UV. Consult the printer manual or contact the printer manufacturer for recommendations and compatibility information. The two main ink-curing technologies are IR (infrared), where long exposure to high temperatures in the drying tunnel may cause distortions in the sheet; and UV (Figure 3), where levels must be adjusted according the printing speed and substrate. UV overexposure can cause discoloration of both the ink and substrate. The ink system chosen should always be tested for adequate adhesion. To assess adhesion, conduct a cross-hatch rest after the ink has dried. Omer Shoham is the advertising applications manager at the Palram headquarters located in Israel.


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shop talk Living in Low-Budget Land Andy MacDougall


very print shop goes through cash-flow problems and extended periods of dropping sales. In my experience, next to wages and materials, overhead is probably one of the biggest costs to a business. In most cases, unlike labor and consumables, it doesn’t fluctuate as much when sales volumes go up or down. Reducing overhead gives the biggest bang for saved bucks. I experienced this first hand once when our sales dropped for a couple of months in a row and some large jobs went bad. With the bank ready to call our loan, I got the biggest red pencil I could find and attacked our monthly costs in an effort to avoid ruin. Along with a number of smaller expenses immediately reduced, we figured our rent and space were more than needed. The building was also poorly insulated, resulting in wintertime heating costs that were literally through the roof. After failing to negotiate any relief from the landlord, we looked around and ended up in a smaller, custom-built space with radiant heat and great insulation. Savings amounted to nearly $3000 per month on rent and an additional $2000 per month on heat in the winter. A move is a major disruption to any business, but any time a shop can reduce its monthly fixed costs, the savings over the long haul are easy to calculate. We saved more than $40,000 per year. As a comparison, if you had a net profit of 10%, you would need to add sales of more than $400,000 to match those numbers up on a balance sheet.

Material costs I’m a believer in sticking with a trusted supplier, preferably local, and worrying less about rock-bottom pricing. People who chase the cheapest prices end up paying more if materials don’t perform or aren’t delivered properly. Most materials are commodities, so don’t lose sight of the intangibles for a few cents off. Having said all that, if materials and consumables are not doing the job for you, start shopping. Where you can also save is on volume discounts and freight. Look into trade-association discounts for delivery services.

Old equipment A pet peeve of mine is the amount of money companies will throw at new digital presses, which have a useful life of maybe three to five years, yet they won’t spend much if anything on new screen-printing equipment—even though it’s 10 or 20 years old and continues to crank out jobs on a daily basis. If you have to fix a machine constantly, or if it stops in the middle of production, or the work it produces is not up to your standards consistently, then either step up your maintenance, invest in a major overhaul, or look for a replacement. New equipment can deliver faster production, more accuracy, easier setup, and energy efficiency. All these things will save you money. If the machine is not used regularly, with no 32


prospective work in the near future, then sell it. There’s nothing wrong with shrinking your footprint, especially if you are contemplating relocation.

Processing The way jobs flow through a shop and savings from workflow changes are linked with your equipment and your workers. Take a real hard look at your operation, and be honest in identifying anything that slows down a job or takes away from a technician being able to complete tasks in a timely manner. Many shops could grab the low-hanging fruit in the form of a cleaner workspace, with all tools organized and at hand. Save aggravation and 10 or 15 minutes a day with the clutter and dust gone. That’s an hour a week. Multiply that by every worker in your shop and you have not only saved expense, but also gained billable hours.

Labor The business mantra in the age of McDonald’s has been to simplify a job until it can be done by an unskilled, replaceable, minimum-wage worker who can learn the task in a few hours. The problem with that philosophy in screen printing and specialty graphics is twofold. First, we run custom jobs on machines doing complicated tasks that, in many cases, require cumulative knowledge only gained by on-the-job training over a period of time. The second part has to do with the materials we print and the attitude and attention required. Make a sloppy burger or overcook a French fry—odds are the customer just inhaled it in their car and didn’t notice because the evidence was covered up by salt, sugar, and a second burger at half price. Screw up one little thing on a print job and the whole run can be rejected, costing you double, eliminating any profit, and damaging your reputation with the customer. You can look at a slowdown as a gift. Every business, unless it is a one-person operation, eventually finds itself with workers who, at best, are perennial second stringers—at worst, disruptive to the team and never capable of or wanting to up their game or skills. Take the opportunity to lay them off and give the work to the people who demonstrate they want it. Look at all options that allow you to retain your most productive and skilled workers. These might include flex time or job sharing. Investigate any programs that would allow you to train or retrain workers under government employment initiatives. There are lots of ways to control cost, and these are a few that work in our industry. Andy MacDougall is a screen-printing trainer and consultant based on Vancouver Island in Canada and a member of the Academy of Screen Printing Technology. If you have production problems you’d like to see him address in “Shop Talk,” e-mail your comments and questions to

Finally, a direct to garment printer that can handle high production demand without the maintenance burden of traditional “modified” printers. Run hundreds of prints per day with virtually no downtime. Industrial-strength print heads and automated maintenance reduce or eliminate clogs. Print a typical 12” x 10” light shirt graphic in as little as 16 seconds on the mP10. Discover more possibilities with our new “Business in a Box” solution. Customers who buy a new AnaJet printer now receive a free license for InkSoft, the premier online design suite and e-commerce engine for garment decorators. Give your customers a dedicated web store where they can upload their custom graphics, design their own garments, and pay up front. Call today or visit to get started.


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Ellsworth Adhesives, Germantown, WI, promoted Roger Lee to vice president and general manager – specialty chemicals division; Jay Richardson director of sales –engineering sales representatives group; and Andre Rivard eastern region general sales manager. GMG, Tuebingen, Germany, appointed Saul Arana as technical manager for GMG Latin America. Integration Technology Ltd., Oxfordshire, UK, appointed Yasushi Katsuta business development manager – Japan as the company opens an office in Fuchu-shi, Tokyo in March 2012. InteliCoat Technologies, South Hadley, MA, added Dave Burgos as inside sales representative and Candice Bakke as national telesales representative. Nazdar SourceOne, Shawnee, KS, added Mary Strafuss as product manager for graphic inks; Patrick Campbell as account executive, Midwest region; and Kevin Dooley as digital equipment specialist. Sandon Global Engraving Ltd., Cheshire, UK, chose Torben Andresen as sales manager for Germany and Scandinavia. Ulano Corporation, Brooklyn, NY, chose Ethel Grasso as general manager. Vista System International, Sarasota, FL, appointed Alon Bar U.S. branch manager.

In total, 28,636 visitors from 118 countries attended 2011’s show, and it attracted 550 exhibitors. This showcases opportunities for new press launches in inks and substrates. The Labelexpo Global Series team anticipates the 2013 show to grow beyond the six halls of floor space for the first time. For more information about Labelexpo Europe, please contact Lee Anne Robertson, PR manager, Labelexpo Global Series, lrobertson@

Koldan Appointed UDI Committee Chair Ken Koldan, FLEXcon’s manager of new business development, has been appointed by the AIM North America Board of Directors as chairperson of the Unique Device Identification (UDI) committee for the inaugural 2012 term. As a source of industry support for the automatic-identification and data-capture industry, the AIM North America chapter delivers access to information, education, advocacy, standards, and connecting customers with solution providers in the marketplace. AIM NA looked at the current trends in the healthcare industry and recognized that there was a need for a forum to address issues and questions surrounding the FDA’s proposed rule of Unique Device Identification (UDI) from end users. “Ken brings tremendous business experience and additional breadth of expertise to the UDI Committee,” says Don Ertel, chairperson of the AIM NA. “His willingness to advance automatic identification and data capture in the healthcare industry is commendable.”

EFI Acquires Cretaprint

MACtac Receives UL Recognition

EFI, Foster City, CA, recently announced that it has acquired privately held Cretaprint S.L., for approximately $31 million and an earn-out of up to $21 million based on growth targets for 2012 and 2013. Cretaprint, with headquarters in Castellón, Spain, is a developer and supplier of inkjet printers for ceramic tiles. The company expects the transaction to be accretive to 2012 earnings and immaterial to first quarter 2012 earnings. Cretaprint is expected to contribute approximately 5 to 7% to EFI’s 2012 revenue. “As evidenced by our record revenues, we are benefitting from strong traction in our industrial inkjet segment and are excited about expanding into the ceramic tile market, which represents a tremendous growth opportunity for EFI,” says Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI. “We have been tracking the swift transformation from analog to digital technology in tile imaging for quite some time, and have been deeply impressed with the fast growth and global leadership position of Cretaprint.” Industry analysts continue to project rapid growth in ceramic tile inkjet printing, as noted by Ray Work, Ph.D., Work Associates. “The tile industry is moving towards inkjet,” he said.

MACtac Specialty Products has received Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Recognition for its SOLARHOLD cell holding tape HT-1002 and SOLARCONNECT mounting adhesive IM2920, and IM2908 for solar applications. UL Recognition acknowledges products that have been tested and re-tested to meet safety standards. Products are periodically checked by UL at the manufacturing facility to make sure they continue to meet UL requirements. Products receiving UL Recognition are typically installed in another device, system, or end product. “Developing products that meet the latest industry regulations with the durability to last more than 30 years is key in this market,” says Steve Dominak, business development manager, MACtac Specialty Products. “UL Recognition for our solar products is a great indicator that we are meeting the most demanding application settings.”

Labelexpo Returns to Brussels Next year, Labelexpo Europe plans to return to Brussels Expo in Belgium on September 24-27. The biennial fair remains supported by FINAT. 34


DRUPA Offers eTickets for the First Time Before you know it, drupa, held May 3-16 in Düsseldorf, Germany, will be happening. To make it easier for attendees, entrance passes for drupa 2012 are now available online at www. This represents the first time that passes have been offered as eTickets. Attendees can purchase their ticket online, print it out, and travel to the trade fair by bus and train free of charge. In addition, the eTickets are less expensive than tickets purchased on site: a one-day ticket costs $51 (€40) online as

compared to $83 (€65) at the fairgrounds, and the four-day ticket costs $165 (€129) online but $282 (€220) when purchased at the show. The opening hours of drupa 2012 are from 10:00 am to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends. All drupa tickets allow free round trip transportation on busses, subways and trains (2nd class, supplement-free trains only) to and from the trade fair within the Regional Transport Networks Rhine-Ruhr (VRR) of Düsseldorf and Rhine-Sieg (VRS), which includes the neighboring cities of Wuppertal, Krefeld, Dortmund, Bonn and Cologne. Together with the Deutsche Bahn (German Railway) and Düsseldorf Marketing & Tourismus (DMT), Messe Düsseldorf developed an attractive offer: drupa visitors can travel from all German cities to Düsseldorf and back at discounted prices. On the DMT Website, http://business.duesseldorf-tourismus. de/en/fair/drupa, attendees will find hotel offers in a variety of categories or accommodation options in private homes.

UV LED Curing Association Publishes Glossary The UV LED Curing association has recently published its inaugural UV LED Glossary of Terms. The organization was formed by Integration Technology Limited, Lumen Dynamics, and Phoseon Technology in November of 2011. Since the association formation, these three companies have worked to define and established agreed-upon UV LED-based guidelines for curing applications. The UV LED Glossary of Terms consolidates and standardizes curing terminology specific to UV LEDs and can be found at It is the plan of the association to giver users a better foundation with which to navigate and evaluate UV LED technology options.

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MACtac® Graphics offers you a multitude of products that will help grow your business and conquer your next graphics challenge including: MACmark® Tuning Films: The market’s widest range of carbon fiber and matte wrapping films for a variety of custom wrap applications from traditional vehicle wraps to interior vehicle trim, laptops, game consoles, cell phones and more. DecoArt™ DecoSatin™: Soft, white, textured pressure-sensitive fabric media designed for wide-format printing of upscale wall coverings and murals. PERMACOLOR® DecoLam™: Six premium laminate films for decorative finishes in high-profile applications such as furniture, displays, signage and other promotional items. IMAGin® Verde™ and PERMACOLOR® Verde™: Greener alternatives to vinyl. Chlorine- and PVC-free, wide-format media and laminates for use in indoor and outdoor signage and graphics, including POP displays, window graphics and more.

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U.S. Distributor & Dealer Directory Equipment / Materials / Services For Directory Rates or Information, please contact Victoria Wells E: P: (800) 925-1110 ext. 393 F: (513) 744-6993 An advertising service for local or regional screen printing distributors/dealers and national companies with branches and/or distributors. The Products & Services (P&S) Codes and the Business Classification Codes in each listing are defined as follows: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Art, Photography, Cad Graphics Curing & Drying Equipment Finishing Equipment Printing Equipment & Accessories Screen and Stencil Making Equip. & Supplies Inks, Coatings & Chemicals Board & Paper, Foam Center board, Block Out Board. Garments & Piece goods

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Glass & Containers Nameplates, Dials & Sheetmetal Plastics, Rigid & Flexible Pressure Sensitive Materials Misc. Substrates: Magnetic, Binders, Banners, etc. Testing & Instrumentation Computers, Color matching/Business, Hardware & Software Embroidery Equipment & Supplies


Distributor Dealer Branch of National Manufacturer







St. Paul


Advanced Screen Technologies, Inc.

Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co.

Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co.

5301 Peoria St., Unit F, 80239-2319. (800) 332-3819. (303) 373-9800. Fax: (800) 332-3820. Fax: (303) 373-9700. E-mail: midwest@midwestsign. com. Contact: Al Menzie, RAMON FONTANES, Aaron Remsburg. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,11,12,13.

45 E. Maryland Ave., 55117. (651) 489-9999. (800) 328-6592. Fax: (651) 489-0202/ Fax: 800-328-6599. E-mail: Contact: Jason Knapp, Dan Fleming, Pete Weinberg, Ryan Warner, John Hermes, Kevin Wood. Business Class: A. Product Codes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,11,12,13.

247 Route 100, Somers, NY 10589.. (800) 431-2200. (914) 232-7781. Fax: (800) 829-9939. E-mail: Website: Contact: Paul Cylenica. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 2,4,5,6,14.

619 S. Hacienda Dr. #5, Tempe, AZ 85281. (480) 858-9804, (877) 509-7600 Website: Contact; Tom Bays. Business Class: A,B. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,14.

› CALIFORNIA SaatiPrint 15905 S. Broadway, Gardena, CA 90248. (800) 992-3676. (310) 5233676. Fax: (310) 523-3610. E-mail: Website: www.saatiamer Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 2,4,5,6,14. Los Angeles

NuSign Supply, Inc. 1365 Darius Ct., City of Industry, CA 91745. (626) 961-7688. Toll Free: (877) 6NU-SIGN. Fax: (626) 961-7225. Contact: Tony Le. Business Class: A,B. Marketing Area served: Local, Regional, National, International. Product Codes; 4,6,12,13. San Francisco

Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co. 21054 Alexander Court, Hayward, CA, 94545-1234. (510) 732-5800. (800) 824-2468. Fax: (510) 732-7624. Fax: (800) 824-2474. E-mail: midwest@ Contact: Marilee Fox-Cichon, Paul Louie, Kevin Todd, Steve Michel. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes:1,2,3,4,5,6,7,11,12,13.

› ILLINOIS SaatiPrint 2050 Hammond Dr., Schaumburg, IL 60173 (800) 368-3243. (847) 296-5090. Fax: (847) 296-7408. E-mail: info.US@ saatiprint. com. Website: Contact: Jan Bill. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 2,4,5,6,14.


Rhinotech 2415 Pilot Knob Rd., Mendota Hts., MN, 55120. (651) 686-5027. (888) 717-4466. Fax: (651) 686-9745. E-mail: Website: www. Contact: Todd Michaels. Business Class: A,B,C. Marketing area served: National. Product Codes: 2,4,5,6.

› MISSOURI Kansas City

Atlas Screenprinting Equipment & Parts, Inc.

Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co.

31 N. Davis St., Dublin, IN 47335. (765) 478-9481. (800) 533-4173. Fax: (765) 478-9462. E-mail: atlasckg@ Website: www.atlasckg. com.Marketing area served: National. Product Codes: 2,4,5.

1806 Vernon St., Kansas City, MO 64116.. (816) 333-5224. (800) 2333770. Fax: (800) 233-3771. Fax: (816) 333-5446. E-mail: Contact: Junior Costigan, Patti Fairchild. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,11,12,13.

› LOUISIANA Reece Supply Co. of Louisiana, Inc. 1017 Dealers Ave., Harahan, LA 70123. (504) 733-7799. Contact: Ronnie Garic. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 1,2,4,5, 6,7,10,11,12,13,14.

› MASSACHUSETTS Garston Screen Printing Supplies, Inc. 8 Parkridge Rd., Haverhill, MA 01835. (800) 328-7775. Fax: (978) 374-9777. Contact: Dean Garston. Business Class: A,B. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, 10,11,12,13,14.

St. Louis

Lawson Screen Products Inc. 5110 Penrose St. 63115. (314) 3829300. (800) 325-8317. Fax: (314) 382-3012. Contact: David Landesman. Business Class: A,B. Marketing area served: National. Product Codes: 1,2,4,5,6.

New Hartford

Reich Supply Co., Inc. 2 Campion Rd., New Hartford, NY 13413. (315) 732-6126. (800) 3383322. Fax: (315) 732-7841. E-mail: Website: Contact: Neil Reich. Business Class: A,B. Marketing area served: National. Product Codes: 1,2,4,5,6,7,11,12,13,14.

› OREGON Portland

Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co. 5035 N.W. Front Ave. 97210-1105. (503) 224-1400. Fax: (503) 224-6400. 800-228-0596. Fax: 800-278-0596. E-mail: Contact: Karen Walker, Pat McNamara. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,11,12,13.

› TEXAS Dallas

Reece Supply Co. of Dallas, Inc. 3308 Royalty Row, Irving, TX 75062. (972) 785-0212. (800) 938-8330. Fax: (972) 785-0512. Contact: Kelly Leonard. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 1,2,4,5,6,7,10,11,12,13,14.


Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co. 9313 “J” St., 68127. (402) 592-7555. (800) 228-3839. Fax: (402) 592-5267. Fax: (800) 228-3886. E-mail: midwest@ Contact: Trish Nelson, John Schnackenberg, Dan Thomas. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 1-2-4,5,6,7,11,12,13. FEBRUARY/MARCH 2012


Canadian Distributor & Dealer Directory

El Paso



Reece Supply Co.

Salt Lake City

Ryonet Corporation

1530 Goodyear Dr., Suite J, 79936. (915) 592-9600. (877) 776-0128. Fax: (915) 592-9050. Contact: Aaron Wieberg. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 1,2,4,5,6,7,10,11,12,13,14.

Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co.

11800 NE 60th Way., Vancouver, WA, 98682. (360) 576-7188. (800) 3146390. Fax: (360) 546-1454. E-mail: Web Site: www. Contacts: Jeff Held. Ryan Moor. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: National, International. Product Codes: 2,4,5,6,8 ,11,12,13,14,15.


Reece Supply Co. of Houston, Inc. 2602 Bell St., 77003-1753. (713) 228-9496. (800) 776-0113. Fax: (713) 228-9499. Contact Labon Tatum. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes:1,2,4,5,6,7,1 0,11,12,13,14. San Antonio

Reece Supply Co. of San Antonio, Inc. 4960 Eisenhauer Rd. Ste 110 (78218). (210) 662-6898. Fax: (210) 662-6945. (800) 776-0224. Contact: Ricky Brown. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Pro-duct Codes: 1,2,4,5,6,7,10,11, 12,13,14.

1160 So. Pioneer Rd., Ste. 2, 84104. (801) 974-9449. (800) 497-6690. Fax: (801) 974-9442. Fax: (800) 497-6691. E-mail: midwest@midwestsign. com. Contact: Sean Hession. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,11,12,13.


› WISCONSIN Milwaukee


Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co.

Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co. 401 Evans Black Dr., 98188-2912. (206) 433-8080. (800) 426-4938. Fax: (206) 433-8021. Fax: (800) 426-4950. E-mail: Contacts: Jeff Macey, Todd Colvin. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,11,12,13.

16405 W. Lincoln Avenue, New Berlin, WI 53132. (262) 641-8550. (800) 2427430. Fax: (262) 641-8555. Fax: (800) 242-7439. E-mail: Contacts: Tom Robinson, Craig Gray, Marty Campell, Fred Horn. Business Class: A. Product Codes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,11,12,13.

› ONTARIO Cosmex Graphics Inc. 390 Deslauriers St., St. Laurent, Quebec, H4N 1V2, (514) 745-3446. Fax: (514) 7453449. Contact: Enzo Di Gneo. Business Class: A,B. Marketing area served: National. Product Codes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,12,14.

Ecoscreen, Inc. 300 Commerce St., Vars, Ontario, K0A3H0. (613) 443-1999. (888) 265-3556. Fax: s(613) 443-1909. E-mail: Website: Contact: Mike Brugger. Business Class: C. Marketing area served: National. Product Codes: 5,6.

SaatiPrint 1680 Courtney Park Dr. E., Units 1 & 2, Mississauga, Ontario L5T 1R4, (905) 564-5388. (800) 567-0086. Fax: (905) 5645391. Contact: Alfred Guinness. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 2,4,5,6,14. Markham

Sias Canada Ltd. 3400-14th Ave., Units 37 & 38, L3R OH7, (905) 305-1500. Fax: (905) 305-1501. Contact: Karl Bakker. Business Class: A. Marketing area served: National. Product Codes: 2,4.

Used Equipment Mart & Opportunity Exchange Used, Trade-in & Demo equipment, Help Wanted, and Business for sale.

We are buyers of your preowned flat bed graphic presses, cylinder presses, 4-post presses, longstroke presses, uv dryers, cutters, die-cutters, sheeters, slitters & all equipment & items related to the screen printing industry. Top dollar Paid. 305-551-0311 800-383-2649 Aluminum Frames Overstocked! Extruded and self-tensioning; 1000's to choose from - huge discounts! All clean of inks. 773/777-7100 or Mesh Wanted Cash For Your Surplus or Unneeded Mesh! Any mesh, Any color, Any quantity, Any brand, Any width. 773/777-7100 or



Rates and Information E: P: (800) 925-1110 ext. 393 F: (513) 744-6993

Equipment Sales Position Chicago-based A.W.T.- fastest-growing screen printing equipment/supply mfg. company. We are original owners of Advance/American. *Equipment knowledge required. You MUST be a closer! Good benefits Fax resume: 773-777-0909 or e-mail:

UV Dryer Replacement Capacitors More than 75 different capacitor sizes available- most in stock for immediate delivery. 773-725-4900 or (*Not affiliated with M&R)

8 Used D-1500 3D Printers. Some tooling included. As is, $1,000 each + $195 crating. Photos available. A.W.T. World Trade 773/777-7100 or

Rubber Blankets For All Exposing Units Manufacturing all sizes and types for any brand - nonporous, UV-inhibited. 773-725-4900 or

Aluminum Vacuum Beds Manufactured for all screen printing equipment. U.S. or imported. Better quality and lower prices than the OEM. 773-725-4900 or M&R* Parts Complete range of M&R parts. Vacuum beds, pallets, squeegee/floodbars, electrical and mechanical parts. 773-725-4900 or (*Not affiliated with M&R)

OEM Replacement Parts Specializing in replacement parts for American, M&R*, SIAS and M&M equipment. 773-725-4900 or (*Not affiliated with M&R)

CALL TODAY TO RESERVE YOUR AD SPACE! Special pricing available for consecutive and multiple ads.

Victoria @ 800-925-1110 x393

SCREENPRINTING February/March 2012

A DV E RT I S I N G I N D E X Advertiser




Anajet Inc.


Mimaki USA


Brother International


Northwest Screen Systems


Douthitt Corporation


Palram Americas


Dynamesh Inc.


RH Solutions




Roland DGA Corp.


Franmar Chemical Inc.

11, 36

Ryonet Corp.


Gannett Graphics Inc.


Sign-Tronic AG


George Knight & Co.


ST Book Store


Lawson Screen & Digital Products


Stahls’ Inc.



36, IBC

Top Value Fabrics Inc.

31, 36

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EDITORIAL INSIGHTS HOW MUCH TIGHTER CAN YOU MAKE THAT BELT? Your best ideas will result in future cost savings, though they might not be immediately evident.


recently read an article by Bob Coleman in The Coleman Report that claimed that more small businesses fail due to lack of cash flow than for lack of profit. When business owners concentrate on increasing sales to achieve profitability and growth, but forget about regular cash flow, they may get into trouble. Converting sales into cash takes more time, especially in these times when customers stretch out payments as long as possible to avoid their own cash-flow problems. This results in problems when cash may sit in inventories and late payments rather than paying employees, infrastructure, and upgrades. Thus the need for a little debt, to make certain that there’s enough liquidity on hand to take care of irregularities. The United States, the largest national GDP in the world, has the same sort of problems. Recently, President Obama asked Congress to give him the power to streamline and merge agencies that overlap. That sounds sensible, right? According to the president, there are six departments and agencies focused on trade. “In this case, six is not better than one,” Obama said back in January. “We could consolidate them all into one department with one Website, one phone number, one mission—helping American businesses succeed.” And, in the process, a leaner federal government could certainly save a few dollars to help with the bottom line. Have you practiced any belt-tightening recently? If you have survived this recessionary period starting in 2008, then you must be an expert at it by now. I asked some of the companies I know about what they did, what secrets they cared to share, so that I could piece together a future article on cost-control methods. Michael McCall, president of Heinrich Ceramic Decal Inc., Worcester, MA, had some really good ideas. His company screen prints waterslide and heat-release transfers for glass and ceramics. These are some of things his company did in the past year to control the cost of operating his printing company:

• Reduce the number of similar raw materials that are kept in stock • Cross train production staff to be able to handle spikes in volume from large-quantity orders that have short lead times, a practice that keeps the staff lean and reduces overtime costs • Use production-scheduling software to model workflows and respond to daily priority adjustments • Convert a large number of screens from capillary film to direct emulsion using a precision coating machine He didn’t buy any new or used equipment in 2011. And some attempts at cost savings just didn’t work, which also supplies some helpful information for the future. For instance, when he attempted to replace some of the screen mesh and emulsions and substitute with a less expensive alternative, it didn’t work out so well. Why? Because the work he does has tight tolerances for edge definition and exact inkfilm thicknesses. Sometimes, ideas just don’t work out. On the other hand, McCall’s best ideas will result in future cost savings, though they might not be immediately evident. For example, Heinrich Ceramic Decal focused sales efforts on specific markets that require their type of specialty expertise and avoided commodity markets. They continued to invest in technology to manage information from sales and project inception through the production process on the shop floor. Also, they continued with ongoing efforts to conserve energy. Might I suggest that you look at your own organization to see how well the cash flow and debt situation are handled? Do you have redundancies? Is there too much stock on hand? Have you stretched the limits of your staff enough to keep them interested, challenged, but not over stressed? Are you going in the right direction as far as belt tightening so that you can grow the company and still cut down on overhead?

Editor 40


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Screen Printing - February/March 2012  
Screen Printing - February/March 2012  

In this issue: Displays Go Deep with Lenticular Printing; Special-Effect Finishing; Plastic Substrates