What is screen printing ?
Screen printing is a very similar technique to pad printing. With screen printing you can print directly on to an object using a screen. The screen serves as a stencil indicating the surfaces to be printed on. This method consists of filling the stencil with ink in the desired shape, then trimming the edges to hone the shape sought.
The drawbacks of screen printing? Printing is not fast because the machine’s action is quite slow and the stencil needs to be changed for each file, demanding special handling and a lot of adjustment of settings and fits. In addition, this technique releases noxious gases from the ink so precautions must be taken, such as wearing a protective mask. This is not the case with digital printing. Lastly, with screen printing it is not always possible to print small details.
Nevertheless, screen printing enables printing on large substrates and the ink does not have any problem sticking because the ink layer is thick.
What is digital printing ?
Unlike screen printing, digital printing allows for the reproduction of digital documents from computer data sent directly from your computer. This data is sent immediately in a continuous flow to the printer so that the print job can be processed. It is a fast technique that is used in offices, companies and at home. Since the 1990s it has become the most common printing method because of its great speed and flexibility of use. At Alpilles Automation, we perform digital printing with our Alex range of machines.
In what areas is it used?
Screen printing can be used in a variety of fields. For example, this technique is used very frequently to customise advertising items made from various materials when the size exceeds the limit tolerated by pad printing. Industrial screen printing is also used for printing on industrial equipment substrates but with little detail and at a relatively slow rate.
Screen printing or digital printing: which to choose ?
Screen printing is preferred for certain print jobs. It enables a large deposit of ink, guaranteeing intense, durable colours and good opacity on printed substrates. However, this printing requires a lot of ink and does not allow for much detail nor high speed. This makes it different to digital printing, which offers a high quality result in record time.