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Screen Dec 09 P10-11:Page 6 17/12/2009 13:49 Page 11
Decorating glass SCREEN
machine displays can be transferred five per cent profit margin, one reject will prosperity is very much in our own hands. It is
seamlessly to other applications where close require the production of twenty good prints not just a matter of measuring ink mixes, but
visual inspection is the norm. None more so to recover the loss of that single reject. This monitoring and improving every part of a
than vending machines, where creating an applies in any business, as the cost of rejects business. It's not going to be easy, but the
appetising image on the side of the dispensing comes directly off the profit. industry as a whole will come out of it fitter
machine is an essential stimulus to a sale. How 2010 will treat the industry is an and better placed to take advantage of the
Reproducing brand colours accurately is also unknown, but one thing is certain: survival and upturn. llll
key, both to attract customers and to keep the
marketing department of the manufacturer
Cleanliness and best practice are essential
ingredients for success. One example comes
from a company trying to implement standard
operating procedures. The company was
aiming for zero defects and the application
was such that the substrate had to have no
dust particles or contamination on the surface.
Working in a clean room using tacky rollers
to remove any loose dust, the operator was
observed using his hat to wipe the surface of
the substrate before operating the machine.
When questioned, he responded: “Well the hat
is clean!
This illustrates the point that no matter how
comprehensive the standard operating
procedures may be, operators must
understand the reasoning behind them,
otherwise contraventions such as this will
occur regularly. Once people understand why a
particular process is employed it is amazing
how they can maintain and even improve the
process rather than degrade it as was the case
in this instance.
What is evident now in companies that are
new to the screen printing process is a total
change in culture. Gone is the idea of screen
printing as a black art, replaced instead by an
understanding that it is an engineering
process. This has come about because the
process is being adopted by high tech
manufacturing companies which are governed
by statistical process control, where every
parameter is measured and recorded.
It is no longer acceptable to check mesh
tension by the sound of a sharp tap to the
mesh, or mixing inks where the unit of
measurement is a glug, a dollop, a dribble or a
drop. Replacing this calumny of process control
is the quest for accuracy. Viscosity measured
within specific tolerances, electronic weigh
scales and controlled operating temperatures
are just some of the potential variables which
are now accurately controlled. Quite simply, if
you can’t measure it, you can’t control it.
Not so long ago some practioners would
print six colours or more when printing four
colour graphics. Cyan, magenta, process
yellow and process black were printed, then a
'wash' of cyan, or a second layer of magenta
to correct the imbalance of colour. It is scary
how much ink was wasted and how much
work had to be reprinted.
One of the advantages of the current
financial stranglehold on business is that we
have to work smarter to extract more profit
from reduced turnover. The aim has to be zero
defects. In a typical print business working at a Compelling graphics attract gamers
Visit us at December 2009 l SCREEN PROCESS AND DIGITAL IMAGING 11
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