Dating back to the Chinese Song Dynasty of 970-1279 AD when the process first appeared using silk, screen printing is the technique of forcing ink through a silkscreen to create artworks or patterns onto flat materials.

These days, the technology has advanced but the fundamentals remain largely the same. Due to its ability to produce bold, vivid colours, it is a popular method of manufacturing high quality industrial screen-printed products reverse or front printed, it accounts for roughly 95% of the products we produce here at Bex Design & Print using this very method.

Photo of a screen printer in action

The process

To manufacture screen print products, we start off with a silkscreen with thousands, if not millions, of fine holes in it. Then, we create a good quality stencil of the images that we require. Once we have that stencil in place, we push ink through the stencil holes and on to a substrate using automated machines or via our print technicians- that can be a polycarbonate, vinyl, or any other flat sheeted industrial film. 

To make a product more durable, particularly if there’s a chance it could be rubbed or scratched, it would be under surface printed onto the reverse side of the substrate. Under surface printing ensures that the artwork is seen through the front face of the material, meaning it can’t be scratched off. The print is protected making it robust and ideal for industrial applications.

While screen printing is often thought of as a manual process, innovation and the advancement of technology means that a lot of it is now fully automated, with our fully automatic print lines capable of screen printing 500 sheets of substrate per hour.

Despite this, it is still exactly the same principle with ink being pushed through a mesh onto the substrate below.

Photo of some screen printed components

Benefits of screen printing

One of the main benefits of screen printing is the vibrancy of the colours that it allows you to print and very high-quality work. If you’re looking to print Pantone colours or RAL Colours, screen printing is more accurate than digital printing and it allows you to access really vibrant colours. We can even colour match in our ink lab to a customer plastic moulding.

When it comes to printing large volumes of products, it is also a quick and efficient method. Depending on the size of the run, you can potentially save hours, and money, by screen printing rather than digital printing. 

Screen printing helps to ensure accuracy and a clean finish, and it can be used to print directly onto a range of substrates at a range of thicknesses. From printed circuits to metal work and adhesives, screen printing can be used for almost any flat surface. Contact us to find out more.

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