Definition of Flat Screen Printing | Advantages of Flat Screen Textile Printing | Screen Printing Technology | Heat Transfer Printing | Advantages of Transfer Printing | Disadvantages of Transfer Printing

Flat Screen Printing:
Flat-screen and rotary-screen printing are both characterized by the fact that the printing paste is transferred to the fabric through openings in specially designed screens. The openings on each screen correspond to a pattern and when the printing paste is forced through by means of a squeegee, the desired pattern is reproduced on the fabric. A separate screen is made for each color in the pattern.
Flat Screen Printing
Flat Screen Printing
A variety of different machines can be used for printing fabrics. The most commonly used are described below.

Flat Screen Printing Machine
Flat-screen printing machines can be manual, semi-automatic or completely automatic. One type of machine, which is still commonly found in printing houses, can be described as follows. The fabric is first glued to a moving endless belt. A stationary screen at the front of the machine, is lowered onto the area that has to be printed and the printing paste is wiped with a squeegee. Afterwards the belt, with the fabric glued on it, is advanced to the pattern-repeat point and the screen is lowered again. The printed fabric moves forward step by step and passes through a dryer. The machine prints only one color at a time. When the first color is printed on the whole length of the fabric, the dried fabric is ready for the second cycle and so on until the pattern is completed.

Advantages of Flat Screen Textile Printing

In other fully mechanized machines all the colors are printed at the same time. A number of stationary screens (from 8 to 12, but some machines are equipped with up to 24 different screens) are placed along the printing machine. The screens are simultaneously lifted, while the textile, which is glued to a moving endless rubber belt, is advanced to the pattern-repeat point. Then the screens are lowered again and the paste is squeezed through the screens onto the fabric. The printed material moves forward one frame at each application and as it leaves the last frame it is finally dried and it is ready for fixation

In both machines the continuous rubber belt, after pulling away the fabric, is moved downward in continuous mode over a guide roller and washed with water and rotating brushes to remove the printing paste residues and the glue, if necessary. After this, the belt is sent back to the gluing device. In some cases the glue is applied in liquid form by a squeegee, while in other machines the belts are pre-coated with thermoplastic glues. In this case the textile is heated and then it is squeezed by a roller or simply pressed against the rubber-coated belt, causing the glue to soften and instantly adhere.

After printing, the screens and the application system are washed out. It is common practice to squeeze the color from the screens back into the printing paste mixing containers before washing them.

Heat Transfer Printing
Approximately 7% of printed goods are printed using Heat Transfer Printing

Advantages of Transfer Printing
  • High quality prints
  • Fewer seconds
  • Economical for short runs
  • Practically pollution free
Disadvantages of Transfer Printing
  • Slow
  • Primarily only for polyester 
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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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