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Screen printing decals advice needed.

Discussion in 'Screen Printing' started by action, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. action

    action New Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    I'm getting into screen printing of stickers/decals. We have Roland SP540V printer/cutter. Did a lot of decals using Roland. It takes a lot of time to print a medium size batch. Thinking of getting into mass production of those. Nothing complicated 1,2,3 color jobs.
    We have 2 flatstock semi-auto presses. It takes less than 3 seconds to screen print the job (1 color for instance) that takes 10-14min to do on plotter. That is where mass production opportunities.

    My questions:
    1. Air dry or UV ink? ( i know about costs of UV dryer)
    2. What advantages or disadvantages of one or other?
    3. We don't have an air dry rack ( they are not cheap either, and have limited capacity) Is there way of making DIY rack, some cheap alternative or how you handle it?
    4. Any advice on registration issues for multicolor jobs?
    5. Will UV print on most decal materials or does it has substrate limitations?
    6. Do you have any general advice, how to handle this process (except for subcontracting, i'm aware of it)
    Answering your questions upfront- yes we have steady customer demand to justify the jump into it.
    Looking for your advice and insights.
  2. Sign Works

    Sign Works Very Active Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Sacramento, CA
    Stouse, sorry didn't finish post first.
  3. sportycliff

    sportycliff Member

    Feb 8, 2008
    Well if you don't listen to Sign Works sage advice, I'll answer this way. (20 years in the biz)

    #1 UV ink
    #2 Forget Solvent or water based inks for so many reasons it's not worth it to list
    #3 UV ink
    #4 Screen stretch, screen stretch, screen stretch... THAT is the black magic in screen printing
    #5 Uv will print any substrate providing: proper ink, proper cure, proper laydown.
    #6 I think you're underestimating your equipment needs. If you're gonna do decals, you're gonna need a die cutter, whether thermal or steel rule. Remember thermal only works with PVC, will not work with polyesters/mylars, so metalized decals would be out. Steel rule cutters are very expensive, and can be dangerous. They will definitely drive up your workers comp.

    Don't forget a back/front slitter, a guillotine, and I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting.

    #7 STOUSE!

    Unless you're doing same day delivery, you'll NEVER be able to compete with the likes of Gill or Stouse or???
    Make them your partner, not your competition...

    Just my .02...
  4. royster13

    royster13 Very Active Member

    Apr 3, 2009
    Montrose BC
    Stouse will do a good job on these....Also, there are places like TradeNet that do them on an HP Indigo press and can finish them with laminate or UV...With high efficiency equipment and processes and buying substrates by the truckload, their prices are very hard to beat....
  5. FireSprint

    FireSprint Merchant Member

    A flat stock clamshell press won't do decals/bumper stickers very efficiently. We have 3 of them that run all day long. Gill-Line (and Stouse) runs 27 cylinder presses that run all day long at 3000 impressions per hour. They bring their material in by the train car and put the adhesive on in their plant. I was just there two weeks ago on a tour.

    To answer your questions though (They were pretty well answered already).

    1.) Air dry ink sucks. If you leave your screen for too long, it starts to clog on you. UV Inks don't cure until they are exposed to a decent amount of UV light. This means the stuff can stack right off the end of the dryer. It's a whole lot less work and your turn times will be faster. In terms of SQFT coverage, they are similar cost - although a gallon of UV ink will cost you more, it covers more. Kind of like buying better pain when painting your house.

    2.) see #1

    3.) see #1

    4.) Practice for 10 years. Screen tension is huge. We fight this every day - but we're printing on coro which is irregular from the factory.

    5.) That's the wrong question. The question is which UV ink line you should use. Short answer is yes, you can get a UV ink for just about anything.

    6.) Good luck, you have a long way to go to get a quality product. Just speaking from our own experience. There was a time not to long ago though that we/I knew nothing of this business. You have to start somewhere.

    Oh and if you're calculating your cost based on 3 seconds to print, you're in trouble. I would factor closer to 15-20 seconds on a clamshell. Maybe not for the squeegee to move from front to back, but there's plenty more going on.

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