There are many factors that determine how long your screen will last, and this is a dilemma that all screen printers face. Like any piece of equipment, how and where you store them matters significantly. If screens are taken care of properly, they can last you the life of your business. Many shops must reuse their screens because new screens can get very costly.
Here are a few ways you can be proactive in increasing your screens longevity.
1. Clean them carefully and thoroughly after each job.
2. Reclaim them as soon as the current screen is no longer needed. Hardened emulsion can become locked to a screen therefore making it extremely difficult if not impossible to reclaim.
3. Make sure you're storing your screens in a screen rack or drying cabinet; this will cut down on dust and grime.
4. Check regularly to ensure the edges of your scoop coaters and flood bars are smooth and free of nicks or burrs. Rough spots or nicks in scoop coaters can not only leave lines in your emulsion, but could damage screen mesh. Those screen defects might not even be visible immediately, but could pose major problems when applying pressure to a screen in the middle of a press run.
5. If you get a rip or tear in the mesh. The longevity of the screen will decrease significantly. A quick fix for this would be to use durable screen tape.
Durability is one of the biggest factors to consider when choosing screens for your shop. A costlier option, retensionable screens can be tightened as necessary and for each job are virtually new. However, the longevity of a screen often depends on the user.
One of the most effective ways you can increase the life of your screens is simply by taking care of them. They are quite possibly the most important part of your business. Spend the extra money upfront to invest in more durable screens and develop a system for storing them when not in use. Be proactive in the cleaning of your screens. We hope this short article can help you formulate a strategy for taking better care of and increasing your screens longevity. Check out our selection of screens and frames here