Grafica News - July 2014

Seminar on 'Large format digital printing and high impact advanced screen printing, at GIPT, Mumbai

“There is an exponential growth in screen printing due to advancement and wide range of applications,” said Amit Shah, MD, Spectrum Scan Pvt Ltd, Mumbai, while unraveling the myth and reality of digital vs screen printing conflict of interest. He was making a convincing presentation at GIPT, Mumbai on 27th June 2014. The seminar was organized by BMPA.

In his educational presentation, Amit Shah delved upon the evolution and usage of large format digital printing and high impact advanced screen printing, a balancing act indeed! The seminar was attended by faculties and students of Government Institute of Printing Technology besides members of Bombay Master Printers' Association (BMPA).

Excerpts:

Apart from TV/Radio/ print media, Indoor/outdoor advertising caters to three major emerging sectors for their branding and publicity needs, namely, Telecommunication, Automobile, and Retail. I would say these three sectors changed the whole scenario of printing.

Let me take you to the development in screen printing:

From manual table to development of advanced screen printing machine:

The revolution started 1990s onwards with the development of semi automatic machines. Halftone printing/CMYK printing was started just like offset printing. At that time, the technology used to be strong hold of Japan, US, Europe with large format automatic machines being developed with size upto 6 ft x 16 ft wide - 4/6/8 colour.

Use of new-age non paper substrates:

The advancement in screen printing technology really opened up new opportunities due to the possibility of using numerous nonpaper substrates, namely, Foam board, Flute board, Vinyl, Flex, Acrylic, PET,PP, PVC, metals, HIPP, Polycarbonate, MDF, et al. One would well recall that Sunboard and fluteboard were never used for printing earlier, but only used for partitions and packing. However, these rigid substrates find applications for directly printing indoor/outdoor advertising display boards.

Who's the winner: Digital or Screen? Both!

Digital is useful for short print run and it has numerous special applications as well. Also, for large to very large format outdoor applications such as hoardings, certainly digital is the only option as in screen there is size limitation.

Though an ancient method of printing, with advanced technology, through screen printing process we can obtain 7 times ink durability than digital print, with outdoor life of 5-10 or more.

Advanced screen printing has the advantages of:

  1. Cost effective solution for mass publicity and branding.
  2. Economy of scale / volume production possible with consistent quality.
  3. Durable/vibrancy of colours
  4. Wide range of Substrate option

So, as students of print technology you should never get carried away by what the market says about a particular printing process. As per my experience, every printing process has its own role to play and advantages.

We need to have integration of various printing technologies. At Spectrum Scan, we have screen, offset, and digital presses. It's better to have combination of both digital and screen. Ultimately the goal is the meet customers' diverse needs.

SCREEN PRINTING

Myth

  • Screen printing is primitive & outdated technology
  • It’s cottage industry and there is no automation
  • It can’t produce high resolution halftone images.
  • It cant’ give consistent print quality.

Reality

  • Screen Printing is the first & the oldest printing process; it’s very much used in all modern innovations such as smart phones, tablets, PCB, solar panels.
  • It’s highly automised & is very much industrialised.
  • Screen printing is capable to print 1200 DPI actual high resolution halftone images
  • This is the only process in the world which allows to print on various flexible and rigid substrates with consistent quality, e.g. decals, membrane switches, auto dials / speedometers, etc using acrylic, PC, PET, etc

DIGITAL PRINTING

Myth

  • It’s most versatile technology in the world and will replace any printing process
  • It’s only process which delivers high quality
  • It’s most reliable for consistent quality
  • It’s most economical in production

Reality

  • Yes… It’s versatile but can’t replace screen printing, gravure and offset printing for various applications.
  • All above processes are also capable of producing high quality.
  • It’s not as reliable as above technology for volume jobs.
  • For short quantity it’s economical but it’s expensive for large quantity.

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