Silkscreen Label Printing

Silkscreen

Silkscreen or screen printing is a stencil method of print making in which a design is imposed on a fine mesh screen, with non printed areas coated with an impermeable substance.

Silkscreen printing has existed for over 1500 years and was so named because the mesh used to press the ink through was made of silk. Today we use a stainless steel, nickel-plated material with a light-sensitive photopolymer emulsion.

Screen printing produces some very interesting effects that are not possible using other printing methods. The inks used are very durable, the colours are extremely vivid, particularly for outdoor uses, making this an exciting print technique. The process puts down a heavy layer of ink, ideal for tactile effects such as Braille or when high opacity is require. In fact screen printing is the optimal method for creating labels with particular features.

At AJS, all of our presses have silkscreen capability, including our state-of-the-art Digital finishing kit. The UV Rotary Screen process is fast and efficient and is the perfect solution for labels that require a special look and feel.

Silkscreen process

Screen printing consists of three elements: the screen which is the image carrier, the squeegee and ink. The screens are made from a wire mesh coated in a plastic photo-reactive film. When this is exposed to light, the film is removed photochemically in those areas to be printed, revealing holes for the ink to pass through. The squeegee sits inside this rotary screen and forces the ink out of the holes. Ink will pass through only in areas where no stencil is applied, thus forming an image on the printing substrate. The diameter of the threads and the thread count of the mesh will determine how much ink is deposited onto the label substrates.

Advantages of silkscreen printing

  • A wide range of inks and dyes available
  • Durable and abrasion-resistant inks
  • Solid opaque colours, ideal for spot colours
  • Heavy coat weight of ink perfect for line drawn illustrations and text
  • Resistant to fading due to sunlight exposure

Disadvantages of silkscreen printing

  • Not suitable for CMYK
  • Not suitable for very fine details
  • Not suitable for building up layers of colour

For more information on how Silkscreen printing can give your labels that special feel, please contact our service team.