Screen printing: ancient art or modern technology?
According to IDTechEx, in 2024 the total market for printed electronics will grow from $23.97 to $70.39 billion. This is a huge explosion of growth in a relatively unexplored area.
Screen printing technology is rapidly expanding as both a marketing tool for small businesses and a way to produce ground-breaking new advancements.
Curious about the future of screen printing? Keep reading!
The Art of Screen Printing
Modern screen printing remains a similar process to what’s been done for hundreds of years. You need:
- A stencil
- A squeegee
- Substrate (material)
Each color used in the process requires its own new screen. Ink is then pushed through the screen onto the fabric using the squeegee.
Screen printing is best when used for a design with limited colors. However, screen printed garments are durable and high quality.
This process can be achieved with a flat bed machine, using a squeegee by hand, or with a cylindrical press that rotates for more efficient printing.
An alternative technology, direct-to-garment printing is sometimes compared to a regular ink printer you might have at home, as it works by spraying ink directly onto the fabric. This method allows for on-demand digital printing, but the quality can be lesser than traditional screen printing.
Screen printing is the best option when it comes to distinct runs of custom products for your small business.
Exciting New Screen Printing Advancements
With new technology comes advanced screen printing techniques such as an electronic display directly screen printed onto everyday fabric, for medical uses.
This technology would allow patients to be monitored using a soft fabric that is wearable and non-intrusive. Screen printing could be a major player in the next movement of printed electronics.
Computer to screen printing, or CTS, is relatively new to the screen printing industry. This innovative screen printing process eliminates the need to handle the films, cutting down on cost and worker time.
Computer to screen printing also allows the design to be adjusted using the computer, and the placement of the screens is always correct.
The newest version of this system, CTS digital light imaging, also removes the need for toner, using a digital mirror device instead to expose the image with UV light.
These new advancements in screen printing technology will allow products to be printed faster and with unique innovation. Is the future of marketing electronic printing on packaging and products?
Applications of Screen Printing Technology
Here are just a few of the applications of advanced screen printing techniques, according to FESPA:
- Biomedical sensors
- Solar cells
- Circuit boards
- Smart fabrics
- Printed textiles
Obviously, screen printing is also still used for t-shirts, posters, hats…almost any customized product you can imagine.
Screen Printing: Versatile and Relevant
Screen printing technology may be advancing into new industries, but it will continue to be the best tool for you to grow your business with custom products.
From unique packaging with luminescent surfaces, to custom designed t-shirts, the future of screen printing will always support your marketing efforts.
Contact us for a custom quote for your business!