ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF FLATBED SCREEN PRINTING

Abstract

Screen printing is the most popular printing method and is widely used for T-shirt printing. Flatbed screen printing and rotary screen printing are two main types. Today we mainly talk about the flat screen printing process and flat bed screen printing press. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of the flat screen printing process and rotary screen printing?  If you want to know more about the advantages and disadvantages of rotary screen printing, please pay attention to our website.

Flatbed Screen Printing Advantages

01. Cost-effective

There are 13 advantages and disadvantages of flatbed screen printing. Lower flat bed screen printing press price is an advantage of automatic flat bed screen printing. Flatbed screen printing is most suitable to decorate woven and knitted fabrics. What is more, flatbed screen printing is an economical method of printing designs of 4-24 colors on fabrics like terry towels, single jersey, silk sateen, and terry towels. At the beginning of the 1900s, flatbed screen printing became a cost-effective and improved method of printing decorative fabrics. Now, low flat bed screen printing press price is still a significant advantage of flatbed screen printing over rotary careen printing.

The flat bed screen printing press price is  3k-4k TK in BDT. While the cost of rotary screen printing is higher, with 5k-6k TK in BDT depending on the diameter of the screen. Because flatbed screen printing is a method requiring the fabrication of a screen for all colors utilized in an artwork, it is better reserved for orders of large volume. The more garments in order, the lower the automatic flat bed screen printing machine price is.

02. Versatile

There are 13 advantages and disadvantages of flat bed screen printing press. Versatility is an advantage of flat bed screen printing press. Convenient to print on special garments, flatbed screen printing is the most versatile printing method. Flatbed screen printing can be done on nearly all kinds of flat surfaces including fabric, plastic, wood, metal, etc. Flatbed screen printing can develop all kinds of design measurements for all screen sizes used in the printing technology.

A flat bed screen printing press can perfectly print CMYK’s design which is impossible with rotary screen printing. Also, it will surely pass the Nickel test without metal (nickel) presented in fabric, while rotary screen printing will fail the test.

03. Durable & Long-lasting

Durability and long-last are advantages of flatbed screen printing. For the thickness and composition of ink utilized in flatbed screen printing, the product designed by the method is able to withstand much more stress than others without losing the print quality. Flatbed screen printing won’t break the screen during machine running.

Flat bed screen printing press rubber Squeegee of the frame to automatically print fabric, while rotary screen printing requires blade squeegee or stainless steel rollers of different sizes to prepare color. Also, flatbed screen printing will show join mark or repeat mark unattainable for rotary screen printing if the print is total body coverage design in printing.

04. Various Inks & More Colors

Flatbed screen printing is available for any desired ink deposit and any ink system, which are advantages of flatbed screen printing.  Allowing for greater ink thickness than others, flatbed screen printing can accommodate various fabrics and designs when finishing the pieces.

Flatbed screen printing is able to print over 12 colors. Rotary screen printing can print 20 colors, but it is usually done in less than 12 colors because of the complexity of the machine setting.

05. Better Results

Presenting better results is an advantage of flatbed screen printing. Flatbed Screen printing allows textile printers to create advanced designs of improved registration, different colors, and increased sizes. Flatbed screen printing is the automatized manual silkscreen printing with a specific screen designed for every design motif and color. Flatbed screen prints a finite area instead of a continuous pattern. An automatic flat bed screen printing machine is an ideal choice for printing fine lines and whole surfaces. It enables the printer to highlight the tiniest detail or a color and volume intensity unavailable with other printing methods.

It has the advantage of allowing several squeegee strokes on every screen, in order to apply a print paste of large amounts. Flatbed screen printing is of better sharpness and smoothness in design than rotary screen printing. Flatbed screen printing allows critical designs like 1-pixel line, spray, 1-pixel dot to open on the screen perfectly in a laser exposing machine, which is impossible for rotary screen printing. Thus flatbed screen printing enables the development screen design to fully match the buyer design.

06. Various Design Measurement

Various design measurement is an advantage of flatbed screen printing. The most significant innovation of flatbed screen printing is its integration with semi-rotary offset printing machines. Thus flat screen printing process can develop all kinds of design measurements for screens of different sizes used. While the circumference or diameter for rotary screen printing is usually 641-1018mm because developers create design repeat by calculating screen diameter during the design process of rotary screen.

07. Less Waste

There are 13 advantages and disadvantages of flatbed screen printing. Less waste is an advantage of flatbed screen printing. There is lower color wastage in flatbed screen printing for color given manually on flatbed screen. While there is higher color wastage in rotary screen printing because color automatically passes to the rotary screen from the drum assisted by the flat bed printing press.

08. Easy to Operate

Easy operating is an advantage of flatbed screen printing. Pinhole is less possible to come out in flat bed screen printing press than it does in rotary one, for it prints fabric slowly by ups and downs of the screen. While pinholes occasionally come out on the rotary screen for fast screen rotation and machine running. Therefore, it’s necessary to retouch to remove the pinhole and remove the screen from the machine. The machine then restarts for further production.

Screen preparation of flatbed screen printing process is easier and every screen usually takes 30 minutes to expose. While the time for rotary screen printing is more than 30 minutes with a complicated screen preparation process.

Flatbed Screen Printing Disadvantages

In this part, we will compare the flat screen printing process with the advantages and disadvantages of rotary screen printing.

01. Lower Productivity

There are 13 advantages and disadvantages of flat bed screen printing press. Lower productivity is a disadvantage of the flat screen printing process. The production rate of flat screen printing is lower. But Rotary screen printing is faster with a production rate 3 times higher than that of flat screen printing

Flatbed Screen Printing

There are two steps in the flat screen printing process. Firstly, the flood bar passes over the screen filling the mesh opening with ink. Then the squeegee passes bringing the substrate and stencil into contact to transfer ink. The printing and flooding process on the rotary system are both parts of the same continuous motion, and the separate stroke of these functions is unnecessary. The approach not only reduces printing time but also removes the flood bar from the flatbed screen printing process as a variable.

What’s more, in order to ensure registration accuracy of multicolor print and keep good edge definition, every sheet printed on the flatbed should be held stationary within the print cycle. In the flatbed screen printing process of adding print stroke and separate floor to the equation, substrate size has an impact on flatbed’s productivity. That’s for the bigger the substrate is, the longer the time every print cycle needs and the longer distance squeegee assembly travels. A flat bed screen printing press with common manufacturer specifications can certainly support the printing speed up to 10-15 m/min if its quoted production rate is converted into linear speed.

Rotary Screen Printing

The flat screen printing process is different from rotary screen printing. Rotary screen printer applies images to the entire substrate width when the materials continuously move through the printing mechanism. Not the size of substrate but the speed of substrate movement is the only factor influencing production rate, and it is mainly limited by rheology and type of ink used. For the way rotary press operates, its production rate is reported by linear measurements and usually falls into the range of 30-100 m/min, depending on the specific application and model.

02. More Difficult Material Handling

Flatbed Screen Printing

More difficult material handling is a disadvantage of flatbed screen printing. After printing, the substrate continues through a dry unit. Then it can be led to the rewinding unit or onto the finishing or printing operation configured inline with the flatbed printing press. For independent flatbed and multicolor in-line systems, it requires more time-consuming and cumbersome handling methods to transfer the printed sheet to other finishing areas.

Rotary Screen Printing

Because rotary screen printer operates with web-fed material, it doesn’t need to send substrates into the printer piece by piece, while is common with automatic flat bed screen printing machines. Handlers thread the required material simply from the reel at one end into a rotary screen printing machine which goes on pulling more material through according to requirement.

03. Off-contact and Image Integrity 

Flatbed Screen Printing

There are 13 advantages and disadvantages of flatbed screen printing. Off-contact and image integrity are disadvantages of flatbed screen printing. The screen in flatbed screen printing is usually made by polyester mesh stretched onto a frame. To obtain good printed edge detail and definition, the user leaves a small gap between the substrate and stencil. Within the printing cycle, the squeegee narrows the gap, depressing the screen to bring the substrate and screen into contact. The fabric’s tension makes it snap off the substrate behind the moving squeegee, enabling the ink transferred to retain t the stencil’s detail. Without off-contact, its screen will stick to the substrate, and the image will be blurred or smeared.

The problem lies in that the flatbed screen printing process for transferring the ink stretches the image and the screen, resulting in distortion of the image printed. The closer the squeegee is to the screen edge, the greater the distortion will be. It means that image distortion is inevitable with flatbed screen printing.

Rotary Screen Printing

By contrast, a rotary screen printing machine bypasses the issue of image distortion. That’s for only when the surface of the cylindrical screen moves between the impression roller and the screen, will it contact with the web. Users of rotary screen printing machines refer to maintaining the contact line as kiss printing. There is nearly no off-contact in rotary screen printing, for the screen’s rotating away from the printing surface is of the same function as creating snap-off.

04. Combination Printing

Flatbed Screen Printing

There are 13 advantages and disadvantages of flatbed screen printing. Combination printing is a disadvantage of flatbed screen printing. The flatbed screen printing process is versatile and available for lots of applications, some of which are impossible on rotary machines, like rigid stock printing. But one thing rotary screen printing can do and flatbed screen printing rarely can is inline combination printing.

Rotary Screen Printing

The advantages and disadvantages of rotary screen printing are also obvious. Rotary screen printing is modular in design and is able to be integrated within the production line utilizing other web-printing processes including flex, letterpress, and offset. Roll-to-roll combination printing is applied to lots of applications, like the cosmetic labels, beverage industries, personal care, promotional graphic, flexible packaging, and graphic overlay.

Users of combination printing can utilize different ink-deposit and different imaging methods with detail-resolution characteristics varying considerably. If users of a combination system intend to deposit UV ink at the thickness of 30 microns, the rotary screen module will offer the best solution. The printing machine allows deposits of 20- 300 microns, decided by the ink. However, it’s better to choose offset or flexo printing modules in a combination system when the job requires high-resolution halftone or very fine detail. The combination units bring complementary technologies together for providing the most production flexibility.

With strong ink-deposit capability, rotary screen printing provides the most brilliantly colored and opaque print with the technology employed in combination printing. Thus, it’s often used for high-visible image elements or undercoats in applications printed with offset images or flexographic.

Also, the rotary screen is most suitable for specialty ink and coarse halftone. Another advantage for rotary screen printing is manufacturing tactile images, like Braille text. Rotary-screened coatings and varnishes are usually used for offering extra resistance to environmental and chemical exposure.

05. Weaker in 3 Technologies

 printing vertical stripereverse or disperse printingtime for color separation
Flatbed Screen Printingcan’tcan’tlonger
Rotary Screen Printingcancanshorter

Conclusion

Common in printing plants, there are automatic flat bed screen printing machines. Flat bed screen printing press could also be semi-automatic or manual. Firstly, users of flat bed screen printing press glue the fabric to a moving continuous belt. Lower the fixed screen in the front of the machine onto the area to be printed and wipe the printing paste with a squeegee. Then advance the belt on which the fabric is glued to the pattern-repeat point and re-lower the screen. The printed fabric makes its step-by-step progression and passes by a dryer. Flat bed screen printing press only prints one color. When the total length of fabric is printed by the first color, the dried fabric gets ready for a second cycle and so on till the pattern is finished. The advantages and disadvantages of flatbed screen printing process are listed above.

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