Purpose-built Print (Screen Printing)
Demand for screen retrofits multiplies as printers look to satisfy process-savvy manufacturers.
by Jessica Millward, Associate Editor
WHILE THERE IS no easy-out clause when adopting a new print method, screen retrofits allow printers to make a significantly smaller leap of faith (and finance). And with manufacturers gaining awareness of its unique benefits, job-specific or brand-specific requests for screen will make the retrofit an even more appealing option.
Path of less resistance
Screen printing, in its nature, is a more niche-oriented process. As Gary Teeter, after market applications engineer for Mark Andy explains, "Printers likely to retrofit…are typically looking to expand production capabilities in order to produce very high-quality specialty labels or products, but want to test the waters before expending too much of their valuable time and money."
The impetus for expansion frequently comes from the printer's customer. As manufacturers learn to identify the type of look and feel they want for their packaging, specific requests for screen are on an upswing.
Ko-Pack Sales Director Gerry Nigg believes the addition of screen is very customer-driven, because, as he notes, "The Procter & Gambles, the Colgates, etc., are very smart, and they have educated themselves [about printing technologies]." He also cites the growing popularity of filmic substrates as a great spur for screen usage.
A screen retrofit allows printers to take smaller, sure-footed steps to screen capability. Tom Kirtz, president of Telstar Engineering, emphasizes the value of being able to simply enhance an existing press with a trained operator and an established investment in tooling.
Propheteer International VP Mike Polkinghorne agrees, suggesting, "Retrofitting a screen to an existing press might be the fastest way to bring a job in-house, and reduces the investment to get into the rotary screen marketplace." To make screen production that much easier, Propheteer's screen unit includes a sizable drip pan for catching spills, as well as a slide-out screen cartridge for off-press clean-up and set-up.