Success With Rotary Screen Printing
Want the look? Want the feel? Converters tell packagePRINTING why rotary screen printing is the process of choice for producing stand-out labels and containers, despite its extra costs.
IN THE LAST few years, rotary screen printing has pretty much become a prerequisite for label converters looking to keep up with competitors and their own customers' requests. Its ability to produce a look, as well as a feel, not achievable with other printing processes has made rotary screen printing "almost a necessary evil," said Dan Plash, sales manager, Telstar Engineering.
"It's getting to the point that label printers are almost being forced into adding screen units to their presses because their customers are demanding it by name," he said. "The label buyers know exactly how they want the label to look and they know the difference between a really good flexo white and rotary screen white for the 'no-label' look."
That kind of stand-out result has promoted rotary screen printing to its current popularity, despite disadvantages like cost. In addition to the added expenses of screens and cylinders, screen printing uses three to five times more ink than flexo—all factors that need to be considered in the overall cost of the process.
"Screen printing is expensive," Plash said. "The initial cost of the equipment should not be the only consideration. The consumable costs, such as screen material, screen ink, and tooling, are items that can really cut into profit margins if not properly planned for. Also, depending on the application and ink deposit, your run speeds could very easily decrease."
That said, the process is not without advantages, Plash added. "Retrofitting a screen unit to an existing press can be achieved in as little as four hours," he said. "Most commonly, screen units are servo driven and run in follower mode to the press. This means we don't need to add drive shaft extensions and phase-shifting gear boxes. Simply bolt-on and plug-in. Another advantage is portability; screen units can be moved from one location to another, even if you don't have a newer interchange press or overhead rail system."