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August/September 2011

Getting Graphics Installation Right p. 20

Printed Apparel Becomes Fashion p. 24 Screen Printing in India p. 28

HOT TECHNOLOGY. COOL CURE. DISCOVER L.E.D. SUPERWIDE UV PRINTING. GO WITH EFI OR GO NOWHERE FAST Introducing the EFI VUTEk GS3250LX. Reduce cost of ownership and increase productivity with EFI’s LED UV-curing superwide printer.

The new EFI™ VUTEk® GS3250LX helps you drive down operating costs with decreased power consumption and no bulb replacements, thanks to EFI LED “cool cure” technology. Its continuous board feature increases board-to-board speeds for faster and more efficient job production. With no VOCs, less consumables and waste, and the ability to print on recycled and thinner, less expensive materials, the VUTEk GS3250LX helps you go green while increasing your application range for more high-volume, high-margin jobs. And with EFI integrated digital inkjet workflow solutions from job acquisition to production – and industry-leading inks and service – you’re always ready to print to win.

Scan or visit to see the hot benefits of cool LED. Or call 1-800-875-7117 for more information. ©2011 EFI. All rights reserved.


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A U G U S T / S E P T E M B E R 2011 Volume 101 / Number 4

CONTENTS COLUMNS About the Cover Go to page 20 for an article offering guidance in vinyl installation and application. The cover photo is excerpted from “Vehicle Graphics” by Craig Campbell, an employee at Oracal. The book is published by ST Books and available in September. Cover design by Keri Harper.


14 Out of the Jungle and onto the Web

Mark Coudray Find out how to strengthen your online marketing skills and improve your standing in search-engine results.


18 Using Quality Control to Manage Misprints

Rick Davis Learn how to use tried-and-true quality techniques to eliminate waste in your press room.


20 A Guide to Graphics Installation

Paul Roba Read about the right way to produce vinyl graphics, beginning with selecting the right material and ending with a proper installation to avoid rework.

24 Keeping up with Men’s Fashion Apparel

Ed Branigan Fashions change, and if you want to see how underwear became dress wear, trace the history of screen printing on men’s T-shirts in this feature.

28 A Gem in the Rough: Behind the Success of Classic Stripes

Mike Young Did you ever wonder how successful screen printers run their operations in India? This article reveals some of their techniques and methods.



38 39 40


SCREENPRINTING Online Communities

B news-trends/mesh-blog

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 2011, 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:












12:15 PM


INFOTRENDS LAUNCHES STUDY ON CONTINUOUS COLOR INKJET Weymouth, MA-based InfoTrends recently announced the launch of a study entitled “High Speed Continuous Color Inkjet Opportunity: Global Insights from Leading Customers.” It is designed to identify opportunities in the market for continuous color inkjets and will include growth projections through 2015. “The move to high-speed inkjet color is, in part, related to print-technology advances that allow high-speed color printing at decent quality levels to combine with strong cost metrics,” explains Ralf Schlozer, a director at InfoTrends. “We will see that high-speed inkjet is driving and shaping the digital color market. Impressions are expected to increase by more than 40% year-on-year for the next five years.” Through a structured interview guide with a mix of open and closed questions with users of high-speed, continuous-feed, color inkjet equipment (including selected users with CF color toner equipment or custom-integrated color inkjet heads), InfoTrends intends to provide information such as equipment usage, emerging applications, targets for next-generation inkjet devices, requirements for future systems, stumbling blocks, the effect of workflow on printer selection, and more. For more information, visit

SCREENWEB POLL RESULTS How many graphics screen presses do you own?

ONE - 16% FIVE OR MORE - 36%

Steve Duccilli Group Publisher Gregory Sharpless Associate Publisher Gail Flower Editor 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 Lou Arneberg – Midwest Lisa Zurick – East US, East Canada, Europe Ben Stauss – West US, West Canada, Asia Business Development Managers 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

TWO - 16% Jerry Swormstedt Chairman of the Board

FOUR - 15%

THREE - 16%

Tedd Swormstedt President Kari Freudenberger Director of Online Media

A new poll is open on ScreenWeb right now. Check it out and weigh in today!



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

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new products UV Screen Ink

Pressure-Sensitive Overlaminates

Nazdar ( says its new 4200 Series UV Graphic Screen Printing Ink is a breakthrough product that withstands some of the toughest finishing and shipping requirements of the graphics market and resists edge chipping, ink flaking, and substrate shattering. Compatible materials include treated corrugated plastic, styrene, and coated paper/board.

MACtac Graphic Products ( announces the addition of what it calls one of the industry’s widest laminates, PermaGard PG7285XL, to its line of Permacolor pressure-sensitive overlaminates. Permacolor PermaGard PG7285XL is a wide-format matte overlaminate that measures 79 in. x 164 ft (2007 mm x 50 m) that can be used for indoor and outdoor signage, murals, P-O-P displays, and other wide-format graphics. The overlaminate is a repositionable, 2.75-mil, non-reflective, vinyl film that is coated on one side with a clear, acrylic, pressure-sensitive adhesive. It features a white paper liner and is intended for use over UV, solvent, eco-solvent, and latex prints.


UV Inkjet Inks Roland DG Corp. ( formulated its new ECO-UV S to deliver exceptional elasticity and flexibility for graphics produced using Roland’s VersaUV line of inkjet printers. Offered in CMYK+W, ECO-UV S is developed specifically for use with the LEJ-640 printer (64 in., 1626 mm), LEC-540 printer/cutter (54 in., 1372 mm), and the 30-in. (762 mm) LEC-330 and LEC-300A printer/cutters. The company says greater elasticity—up to 220%—allows ECO-UV S prints to mold perfectly to the contours of PET bottles and plastic cups, and ensures flawless results on vacuum-formed plastic that is commonly used for items such as food service trays, auto-parts packaging, and consumer-electronics cases. Users can also create three-dimensional wide-format graphics, including P-O-P displays, signage, and interior décor. The ink is compatible with shrink films and plastics made from PET, OPS, ABS, PMMA, polycarbonate, and more.

Screen-Exposure System Whether you are just getting started in screen printing or your main niche is simple athletic or commercial designs, Workhorse Products (www. says the Lumitron, a UV fluorescent screenWorkhorse Products exposure system, is an ideal way to produce high-quality, professional screens. The unit’s UV fluorescent light source is engineered to maintain consistent definition for designs with fine details. It will accommodate screens up to 23 x 31 in. (584 x 787 mm). Other features include a digital auto shut-off timer with an auto-repeat function and a holddown blanket. Each machine has a powdercoated finish. 


Wide-Format UV Inkjet Printer EFI says it developed the VUTEk EFI GS3250r to bring the cost savings and flexibility of solvent-based inks to a completely new UVcurable platform. The 10.5-ft-wide (3.2-m) supports imaging resolution up to 1000 dpi and maximum print speed of 1195 sq ft/hr (111 sq m/hr). According to EFI, dual-roll capability, multiqueue functionality, and double-sided printing combine to give this machine the productivity of a roll-fed system. The printer uses a six-color (CMYKLcLm) inkset. Inks are supplied in 5-l containers. It supports flexible media up to 126.5 in. (3.2 m) wide and up to 0.125 in. (3.2 mm) thick.

Vinyl for Signage

Imprintables Warehouse

Imprintables Warehouse ( now offers DuraSol 3 Mil, a calendered vinyl for indoor and outdoor signage. According to Imprintables Warehouse, the vinyl will work in any model of cutter and comes in widths of 30, 38, 54, and 62 in. (762, 965, 1372, and 1575 mm). The substrate is designed to last five years. It comes in a gloss or matte finish and is available in a clear permanent adhesive and with a 78-lb liner. Imprintables Warehouse says DuraSol 3 Mil offers excellent durability and good resistance to temperatures, UV rays, salts, and most solvents.

Onset Redefines Wide fORmat PRint Quality. again.

intROducing the

inca Onset s40 The S40 establishes a new standard for high-volume flatbed press quality. New Fujifilm Dimatix Sapphire QS-256 MEMS printhead technology delivers four times more accurate ink drop placement, producing up to 94 full sized (63" x 123") offset-quality beds per hour. The S40 joins our other two revolutionary Onset full bed array presses, both production-proven to increase efficiency to earn you a capital investment ROI in just six months. Which Onset model is right for your business? Take the Onset Challenge today at

new products Software Plug-In Onyx Graphics (www. recently released Sign&Banner, a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator that’s designed to optimize the workflow for sign and banner production. The softOnyx Graphics ware is the newest addition to the ONYX SmartApps RIP-independent product line. According to Onyx, Sign&Banner enables anyone designing or producing signs and banners to reduce their preparation time and mistakes in finishing dramatically. The plug-in supports inclusion of grommet marks, bleeds, and folds in Adobe Illustrator software. It also offers the ability to design to scale, making jobs print-ready at the correct size.

Dye-Sub Fabric

Fisher Textiles

is the newest dyesub fabric from Fisher Textiles (www.fishertextiles. com). The 100% polyester, 3-bar warp-knit fabric, weighs 1.8 oz/sq yd, passes the NFPA 701 small scale 1996 version, and is 122 in. (3099 mm) wide. the company says GF 3155 Diamond Mesh (FR) presents a high-quality print and is excellent for translucent printing that requires the image to be visible from both sides. Suggested applications include apparel, home furnishings, and trade-show graphics. Sample rolls are available for testing. Océ

Template and Masking Paper

Océ (www.oceusa. com) created its Vacubond paper for use with Océ Arizona Series flatbed UV inkjet printers to facilitate the printing of pre-cut pieces and keep vacuum tables clean. Vacubond can be used to print a template to enhance placement accuracy on the vacuum table. An operator aligns the pre-cut items to the template and begins printing. Vacubond then serves as a mask to protect the vacuum table, particularly when overprinting pre-cut items. The paper is 48 in. (1219 mm) wide and recyclable, and one piece can cover a single vacuum-table zone. 


Screen-Drying Cabinet

Vastex Int’l

The new Dri-Vault screen-drying cabinet from Vastex Int’l ( features dual heating elements and digital controls. The unit can reach 130°F (54°C), and Vastex says finned, stainless-steel heaters contribute to uniform heating throughout the cabinet. Filtered fan intake varies automatically via a digital temperature controller. The cabinet accommodates up to ten screens measuring 25 x 36 in. (635 x 914 mm). Shelves are angled to prevent screen mesh fabric from touching the shelf surface. The unit is offered as a 240-v model with a 15-amp Nema 6-15P plug, as well as major international standards. Stainless-steel shelves and locking casters are optional.

Inks for Pad and Screen Printing Sapphire SI pad- and screen-printing ink from Inkcups Now (www. is formulated for adhesion to silicone products such as wristbands, iPod Inkcups Now and iPad covers, oven mitts, swimming caps, flexible computer keyboards, remote controls, and other promotional items made of that material. Inkcups Now says Sapphire SI is highly glossy, has great flexibility and abrasion resistance, and cures in 2-6 min at 400°F (204.4°C) or 10 min at 260°F (126.6°C).

Glow-in-the-Dark Transfers Stahls’ Transfer Express ( says you can maximize the nighttime impact of any design with new Glow-in-the-Dark transfers. According to Stahls’, Glow-inthe-Dark transfers can Stahls’ Transfer Express easily be created from a selection of template layouts, typefaces, and clip art. It’s designed to glow for hours and can be recharged in normal room light. The transfers will apply to cotton, polyester or cotton/poly blend fabrics.

How much can this arrow help you? Discover new solutions, ideas, trends and products

• Breaking News • How-To Articles • Product Reviews • Calendar of Events • Classifieds • Interactive Forums

Plus: Books, Training Resources and a Guide to Printers The Screen Printing Industry’s Complete Online Resource | DECEMBER 2008


new products Polyester mesh Rio 9 oz. Mesh Supreme from Value Vinyls (www. is a white, PVC-coated polyester mesh that is printable with UV, solvent, and latex inks and can be used for indoor and outdoor displays for short- and longterm applications. Value Vinyls says Rio 9 oz. Mesh Supreme’s 25% air flow allows for better ink coverage over the surface and notes that its tight scrim helps the printed image appear in great detail for close and distant viewing. Value Vinyls Rio 9 oz. Mesh Supreme is available in widths of 126 and 196 in. (3200 and 4978 mm), can be used for printing on one or two sides, and is NFPA-701 Fire Retardant Certified.



UV-LED Curing System Integration Technology Ltd ( recently added the Solidcure N to its line of UV LEDZero systems. LEDZero Solidcure N has an array width of 0.63 in. (16 mm) wide and can be supplied as a single, continuous array from 0.39-110 in. (10-2800 mm). Its standard wavelength is 395 nm; other wavelengths are available by special order. Available output intensity includes 1.6, 1.9, 3.1, and 3.9 W/sq in. (4, 5, 8, and 10 W/sq cm). It also features field-replaceable LED modules, liquid-cooled, head-mounted LED drivers, and more.

Digital Cutter Material

Siser North America

Digital print-and-cut media has just taken a giant leap forward, according to Siser North America (www., with ColorPrint Evolution. The company describes the substrate as a colorfast, high-opacity material designed to be used with digital printers and engineered to offer high



1 8 0 0 2 35 8 3 2 0

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When do images come to life?

new products

durability, soft hand, and a matte finish. ColorPrint Evolution can be applied to cotton, polyester, cotton/polyester blends, and high-elongation fabrics. It features a polyester backing and can used with UV, eco-solvent, and solvent-based inks. ColorPrint Evolution’s adhesive is formulated for compatibility with a variety of materials, except nylon, treated, or sublimation-dyed fabrics. Mutoh

ColorChecking System

Mutoh (www. announces the launch of Mutoh ColorVerify, an on-printer color checking system based on the company’s SpectroVue VM-10 spectrophotometer. The SpectroVue can be equipped to the new ValueJet 1324 and 1624 printers, and it comes standard with the ValueJet 1608 Hybrid printer. Mutoh says the system provides a quick and easy way to save time and money by verifying the printer’s color output before running a print job. Mutoh’s ColorVerify service provides a check for color drift, and Mutoh notes that the process takes just a few minutes to complete and can be done without sheeting off. ColorVerify also notifies the operator when the printer reproduces color consistently across the full platen width for multipanel jobs such as billboards, tradeshow murals, and vehicle wraps.

Reactive-Dye Inks Xennia Technology Ltd ( bills its new XenInx Amethyst as a high-quality reactive-dye ink that offers color saturation and washfastness to digital textile printing. XenInx Amethyst is formulated to print onto cotton, silk, viscose, and linen fabrics and is available in CMYK, orange, red, and blue. According to Xennia, Amethyst is an environmen-

tally sustainable ink and is formulated for use with Xennia printing systems, XenJet inkjet modules, and industrial inkjet systems using Kyocera and other aqueous-compatible piezo printheads.

Printable Fabric Precision Fabrics Group ( recently rolled out CrystalPrint, a specially coated polyester or nylon fabric that the company says provides the sharpness, registration, and color intensity that specialty fabric printers have sought since the advent of digital printing. CrystalPrint can be used for applications such as banners, flags, gaming tables, display graphics up to 120 in. (3048 mm) wide, and more.

Dye-Sub Appliqué Monolith is the latest stock design Dalco Athletic in the Dye Sub Fabric collection from Dalco Athletic (www.dalcoathletic. com). The appliqué consists of an arched team name and a sport name. A gradient shadow is added for dimension. Monolith measures approximately 4 x 10 in. (102 x 254 mm). Design creation involves four steps: Choose a team name, pick a foreground color, pick a background color, and choose a sport. Appliqués are made of 100% polyester twill and come with an EasyStitch sew file or backed with a permanent, heat-applied adhesive for sweatshirts, 100% cotton or 50/50 T-shirts, and 100% polyester, but not mesh materials.

Take the Onset Challenge Onset redefines wide format print quality. And does it at incredible speeds. Take the Onset Challenge and experience how increased production efficiency and profits can earn you a capital investment ROI of just 6 months.




Introducing Nazdar Mounting Bracket ImageOne Impact (www.image1impact. com) introduces a mounting bracket for 3- to 6-mil corrugated-plastic substrates. The bracket comes in single packs and bulk packs of 24, is made from recycled plastic, and is recyclable. It can be secured to poles, posts, walls, and more, and its flexible hinge is designed to accommodate a variety of application surfaces. The bracket is compatible with screws, bolts, or straps.

4200 Series UV Graphic Screen Inks 4200 Series represents a breakthrough for competitively priced, high quality inks that can withstand the toughest finishing and adhesion requirements in the graphics market. New Nazdar 4200 Series inks provide:

Send us your product news! Please send your news releases and photos announcing new products, and other noteworthy developments to:

sTrue One-Ink Solution: Adheres to a wide range of substrates without a catalyst sClean & Easy Finishing: Chip free Guillotine Cutting, Scoring, Folding, and Die or Router Cutting sFaster Printing: Available halftone rheology for fast printing of high quality full color halftones august/september 2011



Coudray describes how to strengthen your online marketing and improve your standing in search-engine results.


e registered our first domain name,, in 1997. Back then, Internet marketing was simply putting up a Website and scoring all kinds of business. The attitude was, “If you build it, they will come.” It didn’t work out quite that way for most companies. First-generation Websites weren’t much more than static brochures on the Internet. They were designed in much the same way as traditional media. The results were about the same as well. Starting in late 1997 or so, we began seeing dynamic Websites that changed based on user interaction—,, Travelocity, and so forth. These were big B2C sites with lots of venture-capital money behind their dot-com-bubble growth. These sites had the money to program relational databases to deliver pages based on what the consumer looked at or bought. The classic example is the Amazon page that recommends selections based on what others who made the same purchase also bought. I distinctly remember the fever pitch of the dot-com boom in our industry. The buzz was around the collaborative portal with companies like Noosh and Impresse. They sought to redefine the buying workflow for graphics purchases. Their objective was to create a wide funnel to feed and develop orders across the Internet while dramatically reducing the cost to acquire each sale. They also sought to speed up the overall transaction process. It was a time of lots of experimentation and few successes. By 2000-2001, the Web was beginning to change—the effects are still with us today. We began to see highly targeted niche sites appear that focused on improving the buyer experience. The low-hanging fruit was to buy it cheaper on the Internet. Customers in local markets could now search the Web for comparable product at much lower prices, or so the theory was. The Internet competitors aimed to streamline their business, stripping out unnecessary overhead and passing the savings onto the customers. In the meantime, they could further subsidize their overhead by selling ad space on their highly trafficked Websites. This spawned the rise of the Web-to-print model we see virtually everywhere in our industry today. Companies like Café Press, Zazzle, and Vista Print fall into this category. 14


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

A second effect was also at work. This was the redefining of the role of the producer in the equation. Many, but not all, of the Web-to-print companies were—and are—brokers. They’ve established regional manufacturing arrangements with existing producers. They are effectively taking over the marketing function and simply providing job flow to the printers. Of course, the margins on these jobs is much lower, but the producing companies aren’t doing as much of the work. This has worked relatively well for those companies for the last eight or nine years, but there’s a sea change happening right now. External factors are coming into play that will allow local companies to regain ground lost to these national and international Internet-based companies. It’s no surprise to anyone that traditional media like newspapers, magazines, television, and radio have all lost ground to digital advertising and marketing media. Traditional directory advertising has taken a huge hit as more and more companies drop their advertising in this area as well.

Changing approaches to buying Three major events have taken place over the last two years that will affect your business moving forward. The first is the rise of the smart phone and the introduction of local search marketing. Google recognizes this and now the results of Google Places often will control more than half the search results of page one for a local search. The second factor is the migration online of the traditional print directories. Yellow Pages is now yellowpages. com. There are,,,,,, and so on. In markets where local companies have done a poor job of search-engine optimization (SEO), the entire results of a local search for the first page of Google will be made up of Google Places results and directory results. The third factor—and this is huge—is the consumer trend to search online but buy locally. Here are some of the recent (December 2010) results of several prominent online surveys. According to Yahoo Local, as of the end of last year, 97% of consumers started their searches for local purchases online. For all small businesses, according to Discover, 45% still don’t have a Website. The same survey reveals that these businesses feel it is a myth that it’s necessary to have a site

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because their market is local and they know the people locally. Gartner, Inc. reports that in 2010, 70% of social-media programs failed because businesses had no idea of how to incorporate them into their marketing or how to measure the results. The same report goes on to say that within five years, 70% of collaboration and communication applications will be on smart phones (can you say App Store?) and will be designed specifically to communicate user experience. A clear picture should develop when you consider all three of these major factors. Consumers today want the best deal, but they want to shop locally. Past motivation to buy on the Internet came from local companies doing a poor job of being findable in their own markets. Between Google and the directories, local companies

are being pushed off the first page search results. The single biggest factor in having a local customer make the decision to buy locally appears to be consumer reviews and comments. Sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, RipOffReport, and let consumers review and post their experiences with local companies, good or bad. There’s an entire industry growing up around these review sites, the Online Reputation Management Industry. The growth of these sites comes because 78% of consumers trust consumer reviews over company advertising (16%). Wow! No matter what we say on our Websites, the consumer sees it as hype and unbelievable. Yet, when it comes to credible testimonials and unbiased reviews, most people trust the consumer-based reviews.

You can help yourself a great deal by joining the Better Business Bureau and taking part in their BBB Online Program. This program allows you to put a BBBOnline badge on your site and it links directly back to their site where you are rated on an A+ to F basis. You can also take part in ETrust or McAffee HackerSafe programs to add further credibility. There are three things you can do, relatively painlessly, to improve your local position in the search results dramatically. The first is to claim your business on Google Places. This is free and only takes a few minutes. When someone searches for “custom T-shirt printer Dallas” your results will pop up on a Google Map as a pin with a letter from A-G. Your place in the list depends on how complete your profile is and the relevance of your chosen keywords.

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Second, fill out as many free local directory listings as you can. They aren’t hard to find. Make your profiles standard across all directory listings. Make sure all the information in the listing is accurate, spelled properly, and is consistent from directory to directory. You won’t be the only one in the directory, but you will be the most complete. Make certain you include a valid URL (http://www.yourcompany. com format) link in your directory summary. Third, begin to ask your customers to put up a review of your performance on Yelp, Angie’s List, or whatever local review sites you can find. Get listed on BBBOnline. This can have a huge impact (positive or negative) on your business. A word of caution, if you’re worried about what consumers will say

about you, it would be a good idea to look carefully at how you do business and what causes your customers to be unhappy with you. If you’re late on delivery, or you don’t keep your promises, fix the problems before they start showing up on the review pages. You have no control over who posts reviews and consumers know they can punish you with a negative review if you don’t treat them right. You may find there are already some unkind reviews about you out there. It’s not the end of the world. Consumers aren’t that obsessed with finding all positive reviews. They are more concerned with how you handle the situation when things don’t go right. What do you do to make the situation right? Do you have guarantees? How do you stand behind your work? That’s much more important than an

angry customer ranting about you. There’s another very interesting thing that happens when you ask for reviews. Your good customers will stand up for you when someone goes off the deep end. If the negative review is truly an abnormal situation, your supporters will rally on your behalf. I’ve seen it happen over and over. It isn’t too often that we see market conditions shift away from us, and then return in our favor. That’s exactly what’s happening now. Consumers really do want to put a face with the order. They really do want to do business locally, but they want to do it on their terms and they want to do it with confidence. When you recognize these facts, it’s pretty easy for you to make a few small changes and experience a big advantage back in your direction.

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august/september 2011



If high rates of seconds are increasing your costs and creating unwanted downtime, have a look at the quality control remedies Davis discusses for each stage of the garment-printing process.


isprints—often called seconds—are a fact of life in screen printing. They’re even experienced by large, highly automated garment-printing facilities that use standardized operating procedures. However, while many shops throughout the industry are able to maintain a misprint factor near or below 3% (typically considered the industry norm), standardized operations typically enjoy misprint rates of 1% or less. Regardless of the misprint level you face in your shop, it is still a good idea to conduct system-wide quality-control audits to determine which areas of the operation need improvement, what the specific defects are that lead to misprints, and what required procedures are needed to eliminate those issues in the future. This month, I’ll discuss how routine quality control can improve your shop—from prepress to finishing.

Artwork No matter how proficient your employees are or how solid your workflow is, you’re bound to encounter a job run that challenges your normal printing parameters. When you suspect that the artwork is the culprit, it is best to have the artwork reviewed by the production management for guidance. They may know the best way to engineer the artwork for a productive printing run. Although many graphic artists resist seeking additional input on their handiwork, getting a second opinion is key should there be any doubt about the art. The ways in which art is engineered may expose issues you have in press maintenance. Can the printing equipment hold the artwork’s required registration tolerance? If you properly maintain your equipment, the press should hold registration to ±0.001 in. Facilities that know their limitations may choose to compensate for press deficiencies by modifying the artwork with traps, spreads, and gaps. Although you can engineer the artwork to bypass certain press issues, the true solution in this case is to eliminate the variable through proper press maintenance. Facilities that have art staff who understand how the artwork is separated and then reproduced on the press are able to print the difficult graphics on a regular basis with few problems. If the people in the art department have a solid grasp of the influence of mesh counts, inks, squeegees, and substrates, they’ll be able to prepare and separate graphics specifically for the garment screen-printing process. 18


Rick Davis is the president of Synergy Screen Printing in Orlando, FL. A 27-year veteran of the textile-printing industry, Davis is a member of the Academy of Screen Printing Technology and has a background that spans production management, artwork engineering, application testing, and industry consulting. He is a frequent contributor to trade publications and a speaker at industry trade events.

Screens The key to consistently producing screens that deliver the quality and durability you need is to set the proper screenmaking procedures in stone and ensure that they’re always adhered to. This applies to procedures for tensioning, cleaning, reclaiming, degreasing, coating, drying, exposing, and developing your screens. In the statistical process-control audits I’ve conducted in the past, I found that a large percentage of the seconds that were produced resulted from a defect of one kind or another in the screens. Although a great number of these defects were actually pinholes that could be repaired, the fact remained that seconds were generated and production time was lost. Pinholes are most often generated by one of two causes: poorly degreased and rinsed screens or lint contamination. In the first case, the emulsion’s ability to adhere properly to the mesh is impaired, resulting in breakdowns on the press. In the second scenario, lint settles on the screen, which results in pinholes that are invisible during the screenmaking process but open up under the stress of printing. Again, both situations are controllable. Bubble entrapment generated by improper coating procedures is another contributor to pinhole formation. Most bubbles that are caught within an emulsion coating result from coating the screen too fast, which allows air to be trapped between the emulsion coatings on the coat and print side of the screens. Once a bubble is trapped within the emulsion coating, it is a matter of time before the wear and tear of the squeegee on the screen’s surface will pop the bubble and produce the pinhole. This is simply resolved by slowing the speed at which you pass your coater over the screen during the coating process. Finally, improper screen tension can really boost your seconds rates. Although most large garment screen-printing facilities use retensionable frames, some are too quick to neglect the retensioning process. The result is an expensive retensionable frame that holds a screen tension just higher than that of a wooden frame. Improper screen tension also leads to slower production speeds, excessive ink consumption, and poor registration. Some facilities simply do not realize the value of screen tension and chalk up their high seconds counts as part of the process. The issue is simply resolved by routinely following the appropriate retensioning procedures.

expert apparel

Press setup Controlling variables on press can substantially reduce reject rates in your operation. As odd as this may sound to some, one of the most important press variables to control is squeegee durometer. Using squeegees with a standard durometer will play a big role in ensuring quality prints and timely execution of a production run. Press operators need to have a thorough understanding of the effects that different squeegee durometers can have on the finished print. Facilities that make use of multiple squeegee durometers often mix and match different squeegee types on the same job. Doing so results in slower setup times and actually adds more variables to the process, which all leads to a higher seconds rate. The simple solution is to select the best squeegee durometer, blade profile, edge shape, and so on, for each of your most common applications and stick to these squeegee parameters. When you attempt to use a variety of squeegees in the same job, you lose production time. You should use similarly standardized practices when setting off-contact and when registering screens. Additionally, keeping your equipment clean, lubricated, and well maintained will go a long way to preventing problems that lead to misprints.

appropriate and regular maintenance on the unit takes place. In many cases, this is little more than a routine cleaning of the air filter and air knives on forced-air drying units.

Seconds to spare Too many printers react to trouble by making random adjustments to their

equipment in hopes of producing fewer seconds on a particular job. You can exert a much greater deal of control over the quality of your work by implementing quality-control procedures and eliminating the variables they bring to light. Editor’s note: This column originally appeared in the October, 2004 edition of Screen Printing magazine.

Dryer concerns Although the dryer is seldom considered to be the tool that generates a significant number of seconds, quality problems do occur—sometimes on a much greater scale than you anticipate. When you fail to properly maintain the dryer and carefully adjust its temperature and belt speed for each job, you’ll notice more and more scorched or undercured prints coming into the picture. Conducting a wash test will determine whether the prints are undercured. Garments with this problem can usually be cured again at the proper levels to overcome the problem. But once a garment is scorched, it is toast. A properly maintained dryer will not require much adjustment for standard wet-on-wet printing, as long as the august/september 2011


A GUIDE TO GRAPHICS INSTALLATION You can make it fast or make it right. Continue reading to find out how to optimize your graphics for appeal and application. Paul Roba

“ D

Avery Graphics

o it right the first time.” How many times have you heard this saying? I remember my dad saying this to me on numerous occasions. It was usually followed by instructions to do something over because I had tried to do whatever chore he had assigned quickly so I could get back to the fun stuff. Eventually, I learned that if I took a little extra time and did my best the first time, my dad would be happy and I’d have more time to do what I wanted. In this article, I present the right way to produce vinyl graphics, beginning with selecting the right material and ending with a proper installation. By following these guidelines, your customer will walk away happy with the work you have provided and, hopefully, the customer will return to your shop again with repeat business. SELECTING THE RIGHT MATERIAL When a customer comes into your shop and asks you to produce graphics, do you just choose the first roll of media that you see and start printing? I doubt it. There is a process to go through before printing begins. The first step in producing high-quality graphics is to choose the best material for the job. To choose the best material, ask your customers a series of questions so you can get an idea of their expectations. The questions are designed to facilitate 20


accurate quotations and detailed production specifications and to provide your customers with the most suitable product for their graphic applications. As you go through these questions and their answers, remember to refer to the media manufacturer’s technical data sheets for product specifications and instructions for using the product. I recommend that you create your own specific material-selection checklist. For starters, begin by considering the following questions. What is the expected durability of the graphic and the project? How long does it need to last? Getting an idea of a customer’s expectations for the life of the graphic is helpful in specifying the exact product to meet performance expectations. It’s also an opportunity for you to make certain the customer’s expectations are realistic. Cast films typically have the longest lifespan. Cast films can last ten years or more for cut graphics used in signage. Screen-printed graphics on cast film generally last six up to seven years. Digitally printed graphics typically last up to five years when they are laminated or clear coated. Life of calendered film is usually one to six years with digitally printed calendered films having a maximum durability of five years.

Is an overlaminate needed? Digital printing is a bit different from screen printing or cut-signage technologies in that an overlaminate is generally required to extend the graphic’s life beyond two to three years. The inks typically will last that long outdoors on their own; however, they have poor chemical and abrasion resistance. An overlaminate is required for graphics that need to last longer. Not using a laminate is one of the easiest and most obvious methods for cost cutting. Be careful here. Even if the graphic only needs to last one or two years, a laminate may still be a good idea because of its ability to protect the ink from chemicals or from being scratched. If you are pushed by your customer to go this route, proceed with caution and make certain the customer understands what may happen to the print if it goes unprotected. If you are using UV printing technology, the graphic may not be at as high of a risk. What is the desired gloss level or finish? The finish of the graphic is usually dictated by the gloss of the overlaminate being used. Media manufacturers offer a variety of choices. The finishes range from very glossy to a semi gloss or luster finish to a matte look. The gloss level of the laminate can have a significant impact on your

final graphic. Gloss laminates bring out the vibrancy of the colors in a graphic while matte laminates cause the colors to be muted. Matte laminates also significantly reduce glare. The satin and luster laminates are somewhere in the middle. They provide a nice sheen to a graphic but help reduce glare from overhead lighting. What are the budget guidelines? Budget can play a significant role in choosing the best material. However, keep in mind that quality shouldn’t be sacrificed for price. For example, if a customer’s budget is not enough for a full vehicle wrap using premium cast films, switching to a less expensive calendered film may not be the best solution. It may make more sense to show the customer alternatives such as a partial wrap. This way they can still use a premium product with a longer life and have high-impact graphics. To what surface are the graphics being applied? This question is very important because the adhesion of the vinyl and adhesive being used for a

graphic will vary with each substrate. It is important to check the data sheet or check with the product manufacturer to ensure that what you want to use will adhere as expected. There are some surfaces that manufacturers simply do not recommend for vinyl application. These include tin, copper, unpainted fiberboard, and unpainted wood. Other surfaces may require special preparation, such as galvanized steel, stainless steel, aluminum, polycarbonate, etc. Be sure to check the media manufacturer’s instructions for guidance. What are the texture, shape, and surface chemistry of the substrate? Highly conformable cast films are a natural choice for fleet applications with uneven surfaces such as rivets and corrugations. These films conform easily over the rivets and will stay put for a long period of time. Using a less expensive calendered film can be risky, even for short term, as the film will likely lift around the rivets, leaving it susceptible to cracking or tearing. Cast films are an ideal choice for vehicles too, even if the

Figure 1 Shops with limited space can wind prints loosely on a core to allow solvents to escape while the graphics dry.

vehicle will be rewrapped every year or two. Cast films will conform to the irregular shape of today’s vehicles and stay put for a paint-like finish. You may encounter highly textured surfaces. These surfaces can be a challenge for film adhesion. A few media manufacturers have recently launched films specifically for these types of surfaces. The application can be time consuming, but the end results are excellent. Installation involves using heat and a rivet brush or roller (some even have a special tool) to push the film down into the valleys of the surface. High-performance cast films are typically used for this type of application. What type of paint is used? What is the condition of the paint? Paint finish (gloss, luster, or matte) is an important factor in wall graphics. Most media manufacturers do not recommend applying wall graphics to matte paint because of adhesion problems. The performance of the graphic is only as good as the application surface. If the paint or surface is not in good condi-

Figure 2 A custom dryer box is an effective tool for driving solvents from printed graphics.

august/september 2011


Figure 3 This laminator’s outfeed leads to a large surface where finished graphics are trimmed.

tion, issues will develop later. This applies to any application surface.

removable adhesives are available for other types of applications.

Where will the graphic installation take place? Ideally, graphics would always be installed indoors in a dust-free and temperature-controlled climate at around 70°F. In the real world, though, this is not possible. Sometimes graphics must be installed outdoors in a less than desirable climate. Consult the media manufacturer’s guidelines for installing graphics to determine what the absolute minimum and maximum temperatures are so that you can try to fit into that window. If you are in a hot climate, try doing installations early in the morning before the heat rolls in. For example, a company in Las Vegas has a third shift that does all of the installations at night when the temperatures are bearable. If the temperature is borderline cold, you can try to warm the surface with a heat gun.

Producing the job Before getting started, make certain you are following the manufacturer’s recommendations. For screen printing, you will need to select an ink that is compatible with the media you have chosen. One step that seems to be missed frequently is checking ink adhesion. This is typically a scratch test performed using a crosshatch tool and tape. The ink is abraded and tape is applied then snapped off to evaluate adhesion. Another set of guidelines applies to digital printing. If you are printing digital UV, start with a scratch test to make absolutely sure the ink is sticking to your substrate. If you encounter ink-adhesion issues, you may need to adjust your printer’s settings or use a different substrate. You should know right away whether inks will adhere when printing with solvent—including mild and ecosolvent—or latex formulations. Most vinyl films are inherently printable; however, media manufacturers often optimize their media for digital printing to ensure consistency. Contact your media supplier or printer manufacturer to obtain the proper ICC profiles for the film, ink, and RIP combination you want to use. This step creates the foundation to creating a quality print based

Must the graphic be removable at the end of its life? If you are wrapping a vehicle, semi, or box truck, the answer is almost always yes. Typically, the premium cast films designed for wrapping also use a special adhesive that allows the graphics to remove cleanly, with very little adhesive left behind, after five years. Consult your media manufacturer before wrapping to make sure the product you plan on using has this feature. Permanent and 22


on recommended settings. The ink must have enough time to dry when printing solvents before you apply the overlaminate or do any contour cutting. If the solvents are not allowed to escape the printed graphic and you apply a laminate, the solvent will become trapped. This can cause issues for the installer because the film will be very soft and difficult to handle and apply. Trapped solvent can also cause removal or overall performance issues later. How long should you let the print dry before laminating? Ideally, at least 24 hours. At the very minimum, try to let it sit overnight. I have heard some recommendations of up to 72 hours, which may be necessary for prints that are highly saturated with ink. Drying prints should not be wound tightly on the core because air will not flow through. If your shop does not have enough room to lay the prints out flat, try to wind the image loosely on the core (Figure 1). Some shops have created their own custom dryer boxes with fans for pushing the air across the prints (Figure 2). This will definitely help drive the solvents away from the print. Apply the overlaminate once the print is completely dry. When you laminate, make sure there isn’t too much tension on the overlaminate as that can cause the film to want to pull back after it is installed. This is especially important if you happen to be using a thermal laminator. If heat is present, the film will be very soft and easy to stretch. The easiest way to laminate is in roll format. The laminator can be webbed up with the laminate on top and the printed roll on bottom. The laminated graphics can be fed onto a large table where trimming can then be done (Figure 3). For the most part, vehicle-graphic panels are trimmed by hand. Contour pieces are occasionally cut on a plotter. Make certain you have a sharp knife to do the trimming. I recommend using the same type of knife, with the break-

Figure 4 Supplying a schematic with graphics panels prevents confusion in placement.

away blades, used during installation. This will ensure you always have a sharp edge. When trimming, it is important to check that information stays with each panel. Some companies leave the printed information at the bottom of the panel on the print. This will get trimmed away by the installer. The other option is to transfer this information to the back side of the graphic. This information is important and will be used later by the installer. In addition to the location information being supplied on each panel, it is a good idea to provide the installer with a schematic so he can see what the finished graphics are supposed to look like (Figure 4). The installer will use this schematic to figure out where key parts of the graphic go on the vehicle so that information is not lost in wheel wells, windows, or protruding parts of the vehicle. If the graphics must be transported to a remote location for installation, the schematic should be included on the outer wrap of the graphics package. Some installers will also request that you e-mail them a copy in advance so they are sure to have this schematic available at the time of the installation. When packaging the graphics for transport, wind the prints face out with a minimum inner diameter of 3 in. Winding the prints around an empty core is a good way to ensure they are not wound too tight.

Installing the graphics The last step is the installation. Good preparation and following the manufacturer’s instructions can make or break the job at this point. I have seen many great graphics ruined by a poor installation. Take the time to properly prepare and clean the application surface. Do not use any cleaners with ammonia in them as these will affect the adhesive. You will find that most manufacturers recommend using isopropyl alcohol, which is readily available at local hardware or drug stores. I highly recommend that you do a final wipe with isopropyl alcohol to further ensure that all contaminants are removed before installing the graphic. Before actually starting your install, it is always a good idea to lay out your prints to be sure that all of the panels were shipped and that graphics will to fit properly. It is always possible that somewhere along the way someone measured incorrectly or that the vehicle isn’t the same as originally planned. If anything like this happens, you will know up front and be able to make the necessary adjustments—or get new graphics if necessary—before you apply the first panel. Take your time during the install. You could be the best installer in the world, but if you begin to rush, you can—and likely will—make mistakes. If you are applying graphics with ap-

plication tape, go back and re-squeegee all of those graphics once the tape is removed. Post-heat any areas where you might have stretched the vinyl during installation. Most manufacturers require this step, but few installers actually follow it. I suggest going to your local tool-supply store and investing in a $20 infrared thermometer to ensure you are actually heating the media to the recommended minimum temperature. Also, go over all of the edges of the graphic by squeegeeing and then sealing them with heat. This will aid in edge sealing and preventing unwanted edge lifting. The happy customer If you take your time by doing your homework up front, choosing the best material for the job, and then producing and installing the graphics according to the manufacturer’s directions, you will save yourself lots of time and money in the long run by only doing the job once. Make it right and you will also have a very happy client who will likely turn into a repeat customer.

august/september 2011



KEEPING UP WITH MEN’S FASHION APPAREL This article monitors movements in design styles, garment-printing applications, types of wearables, and more.

Ed Branigan International Coatings



raphic T-shirts have become such a part of everyone’s wardrobe style that it’s hard to imagine that only recently cool Ts have become fashionable. Until the middle of the 1990s T-shirts were casual, often times doubling as their original use, which was underwear. Men, in particular, were—and still are to some extent—comfortable with this format. We wore T-shirts in the evenings at home or on Saturdays when we were working on home stuff or hanging out with our friends. T-shirts were for the times when you didn’t care what you looked like. You didn’t wear a T-shirt to a restaurant, the office, or to other formal occasions because they weren’t dressy enough. Anyone who broke these informal rules would be considered unfashionable. The type and style of graphics used to imprint T-shirts and how they’ve evolved since the early 1970s when T-shirts became items of mass merchandise, tell a similar story. Graphic elements were simple, mostly sports or collegiate in origin and style. The music industry also played a part with the T-shirt as show merchandise blossomed from humble beginnings with vendors following bands like the Grateful Dead from show to show, to a multi-billion-dollar-ayear industry. Nowadays, aspiring and successful bands alike sign separate contracts for the music and the merchandise with the latter oftentimes worth more. Even so, guys who bought shirts at concerts or who liked to wear their favorite team’s logo still weren’t likely to wear them outside of the social contexts mentioned above. T-shirts were still casual garments and were treated as such. Looking at the variety of inks and application methods available in the early years, it’s easy to see that there were slim pickings. In the 1970s, aside from flat plastisol prints, you could have puff inks. The real variety came later when the T-shirt crossed over to fashion. Then it became not only OK, but essential for print and merchandising companies to invest time and money in researching garment print applications (Figure 1). Even so, the targeted market was younger. It was fine for teenagers or college-aged men to wear imprinted T-shirts socially, but once you grew up they became casual wear again. Stylistically, the graphic elements were still simpler. The ability of print companies to produce multicolor prints in the large volumes that we are accustomed to today was still in its infancy.

Print-technology advancements A number of converging factors caused all of this to begin to change in the 1980s—technological advances in automatic presses allowed machines to print faster, and developments in ink manufacturing are some of these changes. The growth of the NFL, the NBA, and other sporting organizations and the mass-merchandising entities that they spawned are another. A third element was the advent of the private-label retail chains and their ability to sell merchandise at a discount. There are always people in any social group who buck the norm. The idea of someone printing their own design on a T-shirt either to make a political or artistic statement is cer-

tainly not new. In fact, at one time the easiest way to decorate a T-shirt most likely was to do it yourself, by hand. There wasn’t much of a stylistic variance as far as design simply because existing technology was limiting. Before Photoshop, color separations were done by hand, and a lot of the printing would have been done by hand also. The automatic machines did not move very fast by today’s standards. Things were pretty conservative—smaller production numbers, more localized markets, and the graphic elements would correspond to that. Mainstream guys wore shirts with sports or beer logos, or simple graphics and slogans, sometimes political, sometimes not. As we mentioned earlier, puff inks were about the only things available that were close to what we would call a special effect today. There are other types of blowing agents available now that weren’t available in the 1970s, but for a standard puff, the print-application parameters haven’t changed. If it’s a puff additive, add 10-20% to the ink, print it through a 110-thread/in. mesh, cure it, and you’re good to go. If it’s a base, tint it with color and use the same mesh. You had either a logo or a character puffed with an outline that was flat. With the trend towards vintage in all things in recent years, we need to only to take a look at the graphic elements of some of these T-shirts on sale in the stores today to remind us that it was pretty basic. We’re emulating what came before, specifically with the graphic elements. Most of the vintage T-shirts that I’ve seen combine cracked or distressed images of old logos, beer labels, or slogans with variations on small business names thrown in. One of the ironies of this trend has been that we’ve had to invent new inks to mimic the effects that 20 years of washing has had on the old ones.

Vintage appeal The original lead-based plastisol gradually cracks over the years. Some of it may peel off little by little. In some cases there’s a residue left behind, a faint image of the original, almost like

Figure 1 The puff print was once relegated to plain graphics and logos. Now it serves as the centerpiece of abstract garment designs. Photo courtesy of Ed Branigan.

Figure 2 Early T-shirt graphics were basic and focused on logos, brands, and simple themes. These garments are now canvases for original, artistic concepts. Photo courtesy of Ed Branigan.

a soft hand. We’re talking hundreds of washes here. Then the lead was banned, followed by some of the more widely used phthalates. It now looks more and more likely that PVC will go the same way. So now we have to engineer an ink that will crack after curing and leave a little residue behind just like it has been washed 100 times. This type of look is achieved in a variety of ways. Discharge inks or plastisol reducers are used for a soft hand and faded color. There are also inks that will crack after curing, both in plastisol and water-base formulations. A

heavier deposit of ink usually is required along with a higher cure temperature and time for the cracking inks to be effective. The irony doesn’t end with the inks. The fabric of newly made T-shirts doesn’t look old or faded, so they need to be altered to fit the vintage look as well. There are several wash options to achieve a vintage or washed-out effect for garments. Vintage, enzyme, and the well-known stone wash are some methods. In other cases, the collars and cuffs are sanded to fray them for more authenticity. august/september 2011


Figure 3 These street-art designs demonstrate that tattoos aren’t just for application to the human body. Designs and photos courtesy of Ryan Hahn.

Music affects fashion Why go to all of these lengths to reproduce the look and feel of a garment that was produced 30-40 years ago? The short answer is because it has become fashionable. A change occurred in attitudes toward the T-shirt and its relation to dress during the growth of mass consumer culture. Think of the Hilfiger brand. In the early 1990s, Hilfiger became almost ubiquitous in the apparel world when African American teenagers everywhere took to wearing the signature logo en masse. They were emulating the famous hip hop artists of the time who publicly wore Hilfiger’s clothes. The broad appeal of hip hop culture ensured that that particular fashion style would cross over into the mainstream. Hilfiger wasn’t the only one, of course. Other private retailers like The Gap, Levi’s, and Calvin Klein all moved in the same direction. Call it a cultural convergence. Fashion, music, sports, and entertainment all became synonymous as far as marketing merchandise was concerned. Sports stars, rock stars, fashion, movie, and TV celebrities— whether qualified or not—all began to have a pervasive influence on what we wore. For teenage boys and young men who came of age during this time and after, the T-shirt was different. It became the signboard that directed people as 26


to what group you belonged to or what your opinions were. This didn’t just apply to the type or cut of garment that you wore, but also to what was printed on it. At first, the graphics were as basic as before: logo driven and uniform. Front, back, and sleeve prints only with very little derivation from this. Corresponding developments in ink and machine technology began to open up manifold print-application possibilities at the same time. As far as machines go, the impetus would naturally be to make them print more colors faster and break down less—and this is, for the most part, the advancement that has occurred. At the same time, a burst of ink technology brought gels, metallics and glitters, adhesives, high-density, and texturing inks. Print and merchandising companies could vie for the huge contracts offered by Hilfiger or Target, etc., by giving added value to the garment through the print application. Thus, special-effects printing was born. Because the initial instigators of R&D in print applications at the time were the private-label retailers and apparel divisions of companies like Nike, the new printing techniques were heavily centered around the logos at first. The same rules applied to print

Figure 4 Design elements that were once considered feminine, such as foils and rhinestones, now make appearances on men’s fashions. Photo courtesy of Miskeen Brand.

placement as before: front, back, and sleeve. The astute marketing of some of the above-mentioned companies of wearing their brand as a lifestyle choice brought the imprinted garment into the fashion world. To a new generation of men, printed shirts gained the same stature as dress shirts. The type and style of the graphic elements began to diversify also. Most guys didn’t wear glitter prints, hardly ever foil, and never sequins or rhinestones—but gels and high density, as well as other textured prints and some metallics, were perfectly acceptable. The uniformity of the logo-driven print applications ran out of steam and a marked shift came right after the turn of the millennium. An emphasis on individuality and less on conformity took root and a look at how T-shirt graphics and styles changed reflects this. The artwork, inspired by the prevailing streetart movements, loosened up and became more original. The graphic elements literally seemed to come apart as more and more of the prints became abstract with multiple colors and disconnected art pieces (Figure 2). Designs of this type require little print engineering as far as set up and registration is concerned, but they allow for more creativity with the print application in the sense that simple three- or four-color designer

Figure 5 What’s acceptable in terms of image place-

Figure 6 Printed designs have jumped from T-shirts to other

ment has changed along with trends in garment graphics. The design shown here is printed off center purposely. Design and photos courtesy of Ryan Hahn.

types of apparel. Shown here is an example of a multicolor print applied to a dress shirt. Photo courtesy of Ed Branigan.

prints mean that printers have more open screen heads to develop special effects using inks.

From tattoos to shirts The iconography of the counterculture went mainstream almost as if it was born to. Body piercing and tattooing have become acceptable rites of passage for men and women. In men’s T-shirt graphics, the embellishment art mimicked tattoo art. The prints themselves, like tattoos, began to migrate all over the body (Figure 3). The front, back, and sleeve placements now began to include wrap, back top or bottom, front side top or bottom, and many others. Men wore their T-shirt prints like tattoos with the print on the shirt landing on the same part of the body as the actual tattoo. A good argument could be made that among some demographics the tattoo print on the T-shirt is worn in place of the tattoo on the body. For men who grew up in the 1990s, a T-shirt imprinted with an original graphic is a fashionable garment that can, for the most part, be worn anywhere (black-tie occasions being a good exception). Even the print applications, like foils and rhinestones, that were once considered too feminine for menswear have made a huge crossover

(Figure 4). Among young men in particular, oversized prints that include foil and another application, like a rhinestone or a stud, have been very prevalent for the last couple of years. Prints that are off-center or off-kilter are the norm (Figure 5), and foils and tattoo art have made an impression even among older men’s T-shirt graphics. It’s not unusual to see a dad in his 40s wearing a T-shirt with a graphic that’s only slightly less stylized than the one his son in his 20s is wearing. Decorative elements and the notions of what types garments are acceptable to decorate have evolved. For the longest time, imprinted apparel meant T-shirts, sweatshirts, and sportswear. This covered a lot of different types of garments, from cotton jersey tees to 100% polyester or blended athletic garments to school uniforms. The graphical elements used on the sports or school garments are straightforward enough to detail school or team names and logos, sponsors, etc. Where T-shirts are concerned, there have always been more options available from a graphic standpoint, but printing outside of these garment guidelines wasn’t done. Who would have considered printing a graphic design on a dress shirt even if was going to be worn casually? Or a blazer for that matter?

That’s exactly what happened. In younger men in particular, the same street and tattoo graphics have moved out from the T-shirt to the dress shirt (Figure 6). Everywhere now the same street-art style is showing up on collared button shirts and with embellishments like flock and foil. This has been the trend for some time now, and who’s to say where it will go as these men get older. The growth of direct-to-garment digital printing is a development worth noting in printed apparel. It’s changing the way that screen printers view printed-apparel applications. The movement of the prints themselves outward from the T-shirt to the shirt to the jacket also changes the way that screen printers view the same print applications. As long as the trend toward wearing designs continues in the vein that it is, it should lead to some very interesting innovations. Ed Branigan is the print products applications manager for California-based International Coatings, engaging in product development, marketing support, and conducting workshops and seminars. He has spent 25 years in the screen and graphics printing industries both in Europe and the U.S. He has served as director of R&D for several large screen printing and merchandising companies on the West Coast.

august/september 2011


A GEM IN THE ROUGH Behind the Success of Classic Stripes Mike Young Imagetek Consulting Int’l

Find out what it takes to become—and remain—among the biggest and best in a crowded and competitive country.


cannot begin to think what the delegation of special visiprinter of its type, and I have no qualms to the contrary from tors must have thought when they arrived at the company’s what I saw. Due to its enormous production capability to compound earlier, especially as the first spectacle encounprovide more than 15 million sets of automotive and graphic tered immediately was a fully restored locomotive (Figure decals of all types annually, typically averaging five colors, 1), perhaps the only one owned by a private citizen—in this it probably is the world’s biggest—period! It is certainly one case, the company’s CEO, Kishore Musale. Now long retired of the most pleasant and organized screen-printing factoand resting on its own tracks, Loco 4369 flaunts its majestic ries I have ever visited. The facility is laid out for an optiglory alongside an equal—Classic Stripes’ large imposing mized workflow in 130,000 sq ft of actual production space factory. If this awe(Figure 2); although inspiring sight that remanagement claims ally blew me away was they are running out of parked right outside, room quickly. what must it be like The plant boasts In addition to the company’s mission and inside the building? some of the most doctrine of core values, Classic Stripes is The entire plant sophisticated, stateis effectively one huge of-the-art collection committed to public service as its central clean room, save for the of high-end printing benevolent role by way of helping the local lobby/reception area, machinery at varying offices, cafeteria, and automation levels, covpopulace and environmental concerns in shipping department. ering several sizes of carrying out numerous charitable activities. The company proudly flatbeds, cylinders, and touts itself as the roll-to-rolls to handle world’s largest screen various substrates 28


with either solvent or UV-based coatings. From my perspective, a similar thoughtfulness had apparently applied to their equally imposing fleet of prepress processing equipment, as well as those to fully support their enormous post-printing operation, and a wide range of finishing and fulfillment services—including a number of necessary quality-assurance requirements. In the case of their polyurethane doming operation, the company has one of the few worldwide hands-free, in-line, conveyorized doming lines, complete with robotic arms and multi-nozzle dispensing systems, to produce more than 200,000 domed labels in a single eight-hour shift. Inspiration to installation At one end of the organization spectrum, their in-house design studio and product-development teams blend technical knowledge and graphic arts with creative talent by using the very latest design and graphics software available to provide award-winning and ground-breaking design and product concepts in three days or less. Cost-effective product innovations led by a well-qualified experienced R&D team, having already notched up an impressive track record by developing more than 100 world-class automotivegraphics solutions, offers value-added products competitively in a highly unwavering and price-conscious marketplace. This is just one critical approach Classic Stripes takes to stay ahead of the curve. However, at the other end of the spectrum, as expected, their signage and fabrication division provides specialized consultancy services, innovative visual solutions, and high-quality printed products for gas stations, showrooms, retail outlets/shopping malls, etc., by using the latest equipment, tools, and techniques at their disposal with trained fabricators. As far as installation and application goes, they coordinate and plan installations and set up application centers with professionally trained applicators for vehicle and fleet wrapping.

Figure 1 This restored locomotive is the private property of Classis Stripes CEO Kishore Musale. It prepares visitors for an equally impressive showing inside of the facility.

Passion for quality Due to the nature of my work, I frequently take a hard stand on quality issues; but to my surprise, I found they were even tougher than I am—to the extent of rejecting a vignette that had one very small missing dot—something I missed when inspecting the print with a loupe. Quality has always been a major obsession with them; from the standpoint of not just reaching excellence, but constantly in the pursuit of achieving in-house standards on a daily basis, particularly with so many different types of printing lines, levels of automation, print sizes, and multiple shift operations to contend with that stretches into 24/6 every week of the year. Monitoring incoming raw materials continuously and quality assurance of outgoing shipment is no easy task for the faint-hearted at Classic Stripes. A large number of stringent standards are adopted rigidly, including ASTM and those from Europe and Japan specifically for the job at hand. If that was not enough to satisfy demanding OEMs’ specifying engineers, they actually set their own bar higher than other high-performance screen-printing companies’ SOPs (standard operating

procedures) simply by initiating their own internal quality-assurance plan. The plan defines strict operating procedures throughout the process, and Classic Stripes is believed to be the only screen-printing company that has four different types of advanced accelerated weather testing systems— perhaps more than what most ink-coating or substrate manufacturers have at their own disposal. It is not out of the ordinary for the company to reject incoming raw materials, even from top international brand names, when the products fail to meet advertised standards. The QA department works to guarantee long-lasting, high-quality, screen-printed products—particularly those that must conform to some of the world’s strictest automotive specifications. The team checks numerous physical and mechanical properties, in addition to durability when exposed to chemicals and atmospheric changes, which are simulated (accelerated), as required, either for days, weeks, or a number of years. The QA department’s process-oriented work style has enabled Classic Stripes to achieve an extremely high degree of efficiency in every stage of the process, thereby august/september 2011


Figure 2 The plant’s 130,000sq-ft production area is laid out for efficiency and quality, but management says floor space is becoming a premium.

maintaining an overall rejection rate that is lower than the industry average. Perhaps one of the reasons why Classic Stripes can afford to stand by its quality and product warranties with full conviction is none other than focusing on leadership in product development and processing style. By virtue of their mindset, they seem to be committed to supreme quality and innovation, including unparalleled ability to deliver products just in time as required more frequently by their OEM customers. Such a factor, which prevents costly internal warehousing of finished prints on any customers’ shelves, is fast becoming a common element of doing business with principal OEMs to meet their production on a daily or weekly basis. From a visual aesthetic appeal, these efforts have paid off handsomely as a constant recipient of many prestigiously global 30


awards for print excellence, including those bestowed by their esteemed customers. As a large, multi-faceted printing and fulfillment organization, the company has established its own Kaizen system, a meticulously involved program that facilitates workforce participation to improve performance. This ensures continuous improvement is an ongoing process, an interaction in the program that occurs regularly. Furthermore, it also addresses specific areas such as print-quality enhancements, health and safety, as well as seeking greater perfection in productivity, cost, delivery, and morale throughout the workplace. Corporate responsibility In addition to the company’s mission and doctrine of core values, Classic Stripes is committed to public service

as its central benevolent role by way of helping the local populace and environmental concerns in carrying out numerous charitable activities. This includes forming a trust that serves to improve the welfare of the underprivileged. Among other involvements, the trust provides educational help to some 25,000 students across 350 schools throughout the region and even to the extent of reaching out with computers, science laboratories, and modern sports grounds. Most importantly, they do not forget physically and mentally challenged students. The company also takes its corporate responsibilities further with healthcare activities within the community by providing hearing aids, glasses, medications, and regular medical check-ups. Additionally, some 300 women have been given practical training on how to make candles, papads (crispy flatbread appetizers), detergent powder, liquid soap, agarbattis (incense/floral scents), sticks of chalk, and other useful household items. In the quest to pursue their core values to benefit the environment and beyond, Classic Stripes plants trees on a large scale and assists several institutions with various cultural activities over a wider geographical area. At the end of a rutted road With a growing list of prestigious customers to support, such as Toyota, Hero Honda, Volkswagen, Bajaj, Suzuki, General Motors, Yamaha, Hyundai Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Volvo, John Deere, Tata Motors, and Caterpillar—to name but a few—it is no wonder Classic Stripes must continue to function at the optimum level in all their endeavors to maintain marketplace supremacy. If there is one lesson undoubtedly learned from my visit to this company, it is: Look hard enough at the end of a rutted road and you might find a gem somewhere in the rough!

The Top 25 Companies to Work For After conducting several management and technical seminars during the Screen Print India Expo, which was held in Mumbai (formally Bombay) last December, I visited a nearby printing company upon which more than 40 VIPs from around the world descended. It was an organized plant tour to arguably the largest and most impressive OEM graphic/ decal screen-printing company in the world—Classic Stripes Pvt. Ltd (Figure 1). The tour took place at their Pelhar facility, in the suburbs of Mumbai―the largest of four world-class manufacturing operations they operate in India. Screen-printing companies—or those that use the process, either to manufacture or fabricate a finished product—come in all varying shapes, sizes, specialties, marketplaces, and business models. However, how many screen-printing companies can claim to be the world’s biggest of its type and earn the revered distinction of a listing in the Top 25 Best Places to Work in India―and having the honor of being the second most desirable company to work for in 2007. Without a doubt, this is an incredible feat for any company, one that they are extremely proud of, especially when surveyed from more than a million officially registered enterprises throughout the country. Any reservations concerning the worthiness of such an official accolade can be put to rest; as surveys are conducted under the auspice of Great Places to Work Institute (USA), in partnership with Business World magazine.

Such an exceptional achievement is seen as even more remarkable when considering the Top 25 distinction has been bestowed upon Classic Stripes for the past six consecutive years. In reality, this company is something else in the superlative world of screen printing, as your writer discovered during his lengthy visit long after the special international visitors had departed for home. Suffice to say; at the end of a rutted road directly north and away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai’s sprawling metro area was a real gem to be found. This gemstone was none other than Classic Stripes, an ISO 90001:2000 (Systems), ISO 14001:2004 (Environmental), and OHSAS 18001:1999 (Occupational, Health & Safety) certified OEM screen printer. With a strong presence in a diversified portfolio, they are a premium provider of automotive decals (motorbikes, cars, and SUVs), dashboard instrumentation, fleet graphics, POP/POS signage, large-format four-color process, electroluminescents, and domed labels. Established in 1987 and employing more than 950 people today with an average age of 28―a third of which are females, they have secured more than 70% share of the domestic market in their automotive-decal specialty. To entrench their position further as a successful global player they now boast a presence in the UK, USA (Milwaukee, WI), and the Middle East to solidify present markets and embrace other industrial markets showing signs of exceptional growth.

Figure 1 A visit to Classic Stripes was an eyeopening experience. The company is the biggest of its kind and is highly rated by its employees.

august/september 2011


shop talk SCREEN PRINTERS FIGHT BACK Andy MacDougall


e’re from the government, and we’re here to help.” Yeah. Help yourself to our money! As municipal, state/provincial, and national government costs go up, so does their need to take more and more of our money through taxes and fees. In Canada and the U.S., the politicians slash income and corporate taxes, but this just means other layers of government must be creative to find more cash. I have this sick vision of government tax collectors and inspectors from different states getting together with their peers in Las Vegas (taxpayer funded, of course) and having roundtable discussions where they share ideas about shaking down whole industries. My interest in these tactics was re-awakened by a letter to the editor of Screen Printing magazine regarding a little war going on in California between T-shirt printers and the Department of Labor (DoL). Apparently, flying squads of DoL bureaucrats have been systematically hitting up screenprinting shops and assessing fines and collecting fees as they enforce rules pertaining to a quaint little piece of sweatshop labor war history called a Garment Manufacturing License (GML), which a few states keep on the books, even though the textile industry is more or less gone from North America. Targeting of screen printers has been going on for a number of years. Searching the Web for “garment manufacturer’s license California” turns up some tales of shakedowns that would make the Mafia blush. Most shops raided have never heard of the GML. Once informed of the rules, the most common reaction is, “We don’t manufacture clothing!” Not according to California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet, who said, “Silk screening and embroidery companies need to know that they are included in the garment industry as manufacturers and must comply with garment-industry labor and registration requirements.” Once visited, shops can be fined $100 per employee, they must write the GML exam, and they are then charged $750 to register and up to $2,500 per year to maintain the license. If the shop tries to fight the license requirement, the state can immediately shut the business down—and tack on additional fines or fees. Appeals are heard by an adjudicator from the DoL. When a screen printer has the guts to take the situation to court, the printer has won. But the state refuses to recognize the ruling. State Assembly reps have tried to get the GML rules amended and clarified. Even the SGIA tried to intervene. To date, nothing has worked. So, why should we care? I fought audits of my company by B.C. provincial tax auditors in 1989 and 1998. In both 32


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

cases, it was a field auditor looking specifically at screen printers and supposed back taxes owed on stencil material. I had to go through multiple appeal levels where the so-called experts backed the auditor. I finally won with a direct appeal to the finance minister. His letter agreeing that yes, stencils in screen printing were like plates in offset, and therefore exempt under the Printers and Publishers section of the tax act, was then distributed within the industry in B.C. by suppliers like Willox Graphics in Vancouver and pulled out whenever a field audit occurred. It was never sent out as a directive by the government. Ten years later, auditors started targeting screen and pad printers again and told owners with copies of the 1989 letter from the finance minister the ruling no longer applied. Some calls on behalf of immigrant friends who had been audited led to the head of litigation. The province’s top lawyer in the tax department explained patiently how they had determined that screen printers and pad printers were no longer allowed to use their tax exemption on any materials—not just stencils—because they were no longer included under the printers and publishers section of the tax act. I referred to my previous letter from the finance minister. We were printers then. What has changed? “Because our experts have decided that screen printers are not real printers,” she said. I asked her what a real printer was. “Well, someone who prints on paper.” I then asked nicely if she could write that down. Once we had her letter on government stationery, it only required quoting a dictionary and the tax act itself to show nobody except she and the auditors made a distinction between printers, and defining a printer by material. They backed down and admitted in a follow up letter that yes, after review, screen printers were printers, too, and entitled to their exemptions. The irony is they just did away with the old exemption-based sales-tax system here. So it’s all history now. Unfortunately for California’s screen printers and embroiderers, this year they once again failed to get their amendment to the GML addressed. It didn’t even make it past committee, sunk by DoL heavyweights who will not recognize the rulings from lower courts where some brave (and probably broke) screen printer stood up. Illegitimi non carborundum.




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N e w At t e N d e e P r o g r A m s

m A r K Yo U r C A L e N d A r

> SGS Match: Private fact-finding meetings with sponsoring companies. > LinkedIn Discussions: Invitation-only discussions via LinkedIn during 2011. > Webinars: Free to attendees and all their employees. > SGS Social Events: Meet with peer executives at major industry events.

January 23-25, 2012 | Phoenix | Arizona Grand Resort Join us in Phoenix for the sixth annual Signage and Graphics Summit. It’s the only business-management conference for leaders of high-volume sign, screenand digital-printing operations. Subscribe to the SGS eUpdate at:

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industry update

Agfa Graphics, Ridgefield Park, NJ, appointed Lesley Hepditch account manager in Canada. Ellsworth Adhesives, Germantown, WI, recruited Sergio Patricio as engineering sales representative for Ellsworth Latin America Adesivos LTDA. GMG Worldwide, Tuebingen, Germany, named Ian Scott managing director. Michelman, Inc., Singapore, China, has added Martin Scott as territory manager, Asia Pacific. Neschen Americas, Elkridge, MD appointed Darren Speizer as director of sales for the East Coast territory. Screen Printing magazine, Cincinnati, OH, has added Ryan Moor, president and CEO of Ryonet to the magazine’s Advisory Board.

Laundered Shop Towels Expose Printers to Heavy Metals Gradient, a Cambridge, MA-based environmental- and risk-science consulting firm published a study that finds elevated levels of heavy metals in tested and laundered shop towels. The study, “Evaluation of Potential Exposure to Metals in Laundered Shop Towels,” builds up an earlier analysis published in 2003 and concludes that, even after commercial laundering, the towels studied retain elevated levels of metals. This could result in printers being exposed to levels that exceed agency guidelines, which are based on various health problems, such as cancer. Commissioned by Kimberly-Clark Professional, Gradient researchers analyzed data from laundered shop towels submitted by 26 North American companies across various manufacturing industries including a large number of printers. The towels were submitted to an independent lab for testing. Gradient found significantly higher levels of contamination than in the similarly designed study from 2003. The findings include the following: A worker using a typical number of laundered shop towels a day (12) may be exposed to levels of antimony, beryllium, cadmium, cobalt, copper, lead, and molybdenum that are higher than healthbased guidelines set by regulatory agencies. They also found that the concentrations of six metals—aluminum, barium, calcium, copper, magnesium, and sodium—were found to be significantly higher than towels tested in the original 2003 Gradient study. A wider variety of heavy metals were commonly found on the shop towels tested. Of the 29 metals studied, 26 were found on more than 90% of the towels tested. To get a copy of the latest report, visit

Fujifilm Invites Printers: Take the Onset Challenge Fujifilm North America Corp., Graphic Systems Div., Valhalla, NY, announced the Onset Challenge—a five-step process the company says demonstrates how the Onset family of wide-format printers can help increase profitability. Taking the Onset Challenge begins with a visit to The Website provides visitors with an opportunity to answer questions 34


about their business needs and then returns the appropriate Onset options. The site also provides a return-on-investment (ROI) calculator to demonstrate how quickly the press can pay for itself.

FASTSIGNS Sponsors the Bite Tour FASTSIGNS Int’l, Inc. has teamed up with NFuse Marketing to sponsor the 2011 season of the Bite Tour. The Bite Tour food festivals occur around the nation during the summer of 2011, including events such as Ribfest in Chicago, Taste of Dallas, and the Wisconsin State Fair. At each of the festivals, the Bite Tour has interactive experience tents where visitors can spin prize wheels, compete in the Man vs. Food hot-wing challenge, and take part in interactive gaming experiences. “This is The Bite Tour’s first official season, making this sponsorship much more exciting for us,” says Drue Towsend, senior VP of marketing. “We know that the Bite Tour will reach a lot of people, and we want to have a different type of stage to show and tell what FASTSIGNS centers can do. By helping the Bite Tour with their visual communications needs, we can help ensure that the tour’s efforts get noticed.” As part of the sponsorship, FASTSIGNS provided the Bite Tour with vehicle and trailer wraps, banners, and other event signs, as well as fans to keep visitors cool. The trailer wrap has the Bite Tour logo along with the names of the tour’s sponsors including the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food Nation and USA Today.

Hilord and 3P Partner Hilord and 3P have decided to partner where 3P will have distribution rights to Hilord’s textile inks for selected printers. The inks include disperse dye and sublimation for direct and transfer printing in many different mediums, water-based, solvent-based and oil-based inks, as well as Hilord’s BIO-SUB inks made with solvents from renewable resources. “This is a great collaboration of our companies,” says Don Balbinder, president and CEO of Hilord. “We are delighted to extend our close cooperation by launching Hilord ink-sale activities,” says Thomas Potz, chairman of 3P Inkjet Textiles AG. “Their great new ink solution offers our solvent-printing customers a world of new applications. Just by replacing solvent ink with Hilord’s BIO-SUB ink, the traditional solvent printer turns into a dye-sublimation textile printer.”

Visual Magnetics Chooses Trico Mendon, MA-based Visual Magnetics, LP selected Trico Specialty Films, LLC of North Kingstown, RI, as a major supplier for components used in the manufacture of its Visual Magnetics Graphics System. This new domestic venture is projected to bring as much as $7 million of business to the area in the near future. According to Visual Magnetics, the new business brought in by Visual Magnetics also provides Trico Specialty Films with the potential to double its employment.

ColDesi Expands Support Hours ColDesi, Inc. now offers extended support hours, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and emergency support on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST for its customers of SWF embroidery machines, DTG digital garment printers, and CAMS rhinestone-setting machines. ColDesi says its technicians are available to help with any questions or concerns regarding equipment purchased through ColDesi.

Ellsworth Distributes Devcon Products Ellsworth Adhesives, a global distributor of adhesives and equipment, now offers Devcon Flame Retardant products, including Devcon 5 Minute I-FR and Devcon 10 Minute Epoxy I-FR. Devcon Flame Retardant products are designed for applications requiring a self-extinguishing structural system. “The Devcon brand is recognized globally for its proven performance and reliability. We look forward to offering Devcon Flame Retardant products, allowing us to better serve new and existing customers in variety of industries,” says Mike McCourt, global president of Ellsworth Adhesives-Specialty Chemical Distribution. “We are excited to add Devcon 5 Minute I-FR and Devcon 10 Minute I-FR to our product line. Devcon Flame Retar-

dant products offer a fast-curing, self-extinguishing structural solution that complements our existing product line,” explains Roger Lee, president of Ellsworth Adhesives-ESR Group.

Two Philadelphia Printing Firms Merge Two family-owned Philadelphia printing firms have merged: Smith-Edwards-Dunlap Co. (SED), located in Port Richmond, and West Philadelphia’s Graphic Arts Inc (GA). Each company will trade under its present name, while operations will be combined at the 12,000-sq-ft Smith-Edwards-Dunlap Co. facility. In a challenging environment for the printing industry brought on by the economic downturn, trends toward alternative communication vehicles, and the general commoditization of print, SED and GA are bucking the trend in an area where many firms either liquidate or get absorbed by large national consolidators of printing companies. In the new merger, SED, a sheet fed, web, and digital printing firm, offers bindery capability, mailing and packaging operations, typesetting, and proofreading. GA is a National Women’s Business Enterprise and FSC-certified firm with expertise in pharmaceutical printing and inventory and fulfillment capacity and delivery.

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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








Advanced Screen Technologies, Inc.

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.

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.

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: info. Website: www. saatiamer Business Class: A. Marketing area served: Regional. Product Codes: 2,4,5,6,14.

› INDIANA Atlas Screenprinting Equipment & Parts, Inc. 31 N. Davis St., Dublin, IN 47335. (765) 478-9481. (800) 533-4173. Fax: (765) 478-9462. E-mail: atlasckg@skyenet. net. Website: area served: National. Product Codes: 2,4,5.


Los Angeles

Reece Supply Co. of Louisiana, Inc.

NuSign Supply, 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.

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.


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.

› 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.


Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co. 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.

› MISSOURI Kansas City

Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co. 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. 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.


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.


Distributor Dealer Branch of National Manufacturer

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. 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.

› NEW JERSEY Crown Roll Leaf Inc. 91 Illinois Ave. 07503. (201) 742-4000. (800) 631-3831. Fax: (201) 742-0219. Contact: James R. Waitts. Marketing area served: National. Product Codes: 12.



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.

Cosmex Graphics Inc.


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:1,2,4,5,6,7,10 ,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.


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.

› WISCONSIN Milwaukee

Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co.

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.


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.

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.

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

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

Roller Frames - Used 100s in stock, many very large. Ask for quote & list before buying new. Save $100s A.W.T. World Trade at 773-777-7100 or

M&R* Parts Complete range of M&R parts. Vacuum beds, pallets, squeegee/floodbars, electrical and mechanical parts. 773-725-4900 or

Aluminum Frames Overstocked! Extruded and selftensioning; 1000s to choose from huge discounts! All clean of inks. 773-777-7100 or

VACUUM BEDS Manufacturing vacuum beds to order. All screen print machines. Better Quality- Lower Prices Guaranteed. 773-725-4900 or

Mesh Wanted Cash For Your Surplus Or Unneeded Mesh! Any mesh, Any color, Any quantity, Any brand, Any width 773/777-7100 or

THIEME squeegees/floodbars now available at GPI. Immediate Delivery. Manufactured in the USA. Call Graphic Parts (773)725-4900 - Ask for service.

WANTED Speedboards model SSC150 Will pay $150 each working, $75 not working. Mike Green (773)725-4900 x117

ALUMINUM SQUEEGEE HOLDERS & FLOOBARS All brands of screen print equipment. OEM prices direct from manufacturer! 773-725-4900 or

M&R Eclipse 30x40" with take-off. Fully rebuilt w/ warranty. $16,900 + crating A.W.T. : (773)777-7100 or

GENERAL Squeegees/ floodbars now available at GPI. Immediate Delivery. Manufactured in the USA. Call Graphic Parts (773)725-4900 - Ask for service.

SVECIA Parts Manufacturing a complete range of SVECIA machine parts. Vacuum Tables, squeegees/floodbars. Call us for a quote 773-725-4900



(*Not affiliated with M&R)

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

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

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EDITORIAL INSIGHTS WHAT COULD HAPPEN TO SCREEN PRINTING Screen Printing magazine will have lots to talk about for a very long time.


t has been two years now since I’ve served as editor on Screen Printing magazine, and over this space of time my assessment as to where the industry is going has changed quite a bit for the better. In the beginning I heard lots of doom and gloom about how screen printing would take a backseat to inkjet printing. Screen printing would remain in the hands of thick-film printers who did artistic fabrics, stylized T-shirts, sports printwear, and banners or outdoor signs, many experts asserted. Inkjet would reign supreme. I’m here to tell you that after two years, in my estimation, screen printing will do a lot better than that. In the June/July 2011 issue of Screen Printing, I talked to Johnny Shell, VP of technical services at SGIA, before interviewing nine major direct-to-garment printers to ask them about the industry in general. Here’s what Johnny said. “DTG was a tough nut to crack in the early days, but technology and equipment developments make it a viable option today when used properly and as recommended by the manufacturer. Many shops have integrated it with their capabilities to capture low-volume work that, heretofore, was very difficult for a garment screen print shop to accommodate. However, more traditional screen print shops are taking a second look at DTG, given the material and equipment advancements that have been achieved. It’s much easier to print dark garments now because the white ink is better and automatic pretreat units are deducing errors that were common when using manual application methods like a power sprayer. And there are many, many users who keep their machines running, perform the routine maintenance, and live very happy and are successful.”

In Mike Beckman’s article in June/July SP, you can see the trends and innovations taking place. Inks, fabrics, and printing processes are changing in response to consumer trends. PVC-free inks and increased use of polyester fabrics are affecting garment screen printing. The demand for something different and unique has resulted in heat transfer on specialty ink, heat sealing with transfer paper, discharge printing, water-based effects, and simulated embroidery. Speaking from my own experience, I bought a wonderful African print on a cotton sweater wrap last month, and it said, “specialty art screen printed” and cost me much more than I could afford. Art is in. Ryan Moor from Ryonet Corp. wrote an article in the April/May issue about printing an entire ad campaign for Nike, “Prepare for Combat.” He talked about taking on large jobs featuring high-profile athletes and making a profit by stepping outside the world of T-shirts into a national ad campaign that encompassed graphics screen printing, digital photography, digital printing and evidentially garment screen printing. Ryan has had lots of success in innovating. We’ve decided to add Ryan Moor to the Advisory Board for Screen Printing magazine, so you will hear from him more often. Screen Printing magazine will have lots to talk about for a very long time. The technology may change. There will be more industrial applications. Art and screen printing may push new fashion trends, as in Ed Branigan’s article in this issue. But we’re here to stay and we’ve got lots to say. We will talk about inkjet printing too, of course. It has been a rewarding two years so far and I expect it will continue to be so.




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Screen Printing - August / September 2011  

In this issue: Getting Graphics Installation Right; Printed Apparel Becomes Fashion; Screen Printing in India

Screen Printing - August / September 2011  

In this issue: Getting Graphics Installation Right; Printed Apparel Becomes Fashion; Screen Printing in India