Screen printing is a printing technique in which a design is imposed on a screen of polyester or other fine mesh, with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance, and ink is forced into the mesh openings by a fill blade or squeegee and onto the printing surface during the squeegee stroke. It is also known as silkscreen, serigraphy or serigraph printing.
Traditionally, the process was called screen printing or silkscreen printing because silk was used before the invention of synthetic mesh. Currently, synthetic threads are commonly used in the screen printing process, and polyester is the most popular mesh used in the industry. A screen is made of a piece of mesh stretched over a frame. A stencil is formed by blocking off parts of the screen in the negative image of the design to be printed; that is, the open spaces are where the ink will appear on the substrate.
This technique can produce products with more than one colour. In the four-colour process or the CMYK colour model for example, the artwork is created and then separated into four colours (CMYK), which combine to create the full spectrum of colours needed for photographic prints. This means a large number of colours can be simulated using only four screens, reducing costs, time and set-up.
Although it’s the oldest printing process (over 3000 years old) screen printing is still one of the most economical printing processes for large volume printing jobs. Screen printing is widely used today to create many mass or large-batch produced graphics such as posters or display stands. Full-colour prints can be created by printing in CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black).
At Arttec, we have two automated lines of screen printing equipment capable of printing large volume full-colour images up to 4’ x 8’ in size as well as multiple manual tables for “small run” jobs.