During day to day production, our screens are pretty durable tools.
No kid gloves required. Common sense care, protecting the mesh from
sharp edges and the like, is all that is necessary to keep our screens
in the production process. Where we do need to take added care is during
that window of time from degreasing and up until we expose the screens.
When screens are wet, from either degreasing or after coating with emulsion,
they tend to attract dust, lint and other contaminants from the air.
When these contaminants attach to a screen, you are inviting pinholes
Going through the process, we care little about
these common print shop contaminants before degreasing. But once a
screen begins the process of being prepared for the press, diligence is
required. After degreasing, it is important to dry the screen again as
quickly as possible, preferably in a clean, dust-free room with a
dehumidifier to speed the process. A wet screen will attract (and hold)
more dust and contaminants than a dry one.
After degreasing, do not place you hands on the mesh area. Your hands have natural oils. Emulsion is based with water. Oil and water don’t mix. The oil from your hands can cause pinholes that open up during a print run. Once the screen has been degreased – hands off the mesh. (Read the article Screen Degreasing: Pinholes are the Enemy!)
important to make this screen preparation window as brief as practical.
Coat screens as soon as possible after degreasing and drying. Dust and
lint that collects on a degreased screen that waits in storage will
result in pinholes later down the production road.
with emulsion, again dry your screens again as quickly as possible. Just
as with wet degreased screens, wet emulsion on screens will attract
dust and lint from the air. Once the emulsion is dry on the screen, your
cautious care can be reduced. At this point, your only real concern is
light exposure. An emulsion coated screen needs to be protected from
light to keep it from being prematurely exposed.
The end of the
period of extra screen care is after you have exposed your screens and
you have dried them completely. At this point, you are back in a
position where you can treat your screen more casually. Dust, oil from
your hands, and fabric lint in the air will not affect your completely
prepped screens. You can simply wipe any obvious contaminants away from
the mesh before production.