Screen Printing Equipment and Why It Matters

We used to be a garage shop. It was an exciting time for us. We were just getting our feet wet in an industry where we though we could make a dent. We thought we could turn out great prints, have no rent, no overhead; what could be better?! It lasted for about 6 months during which we thought every shirt we printed was the best shirt ever. Best of all we sold them at a bargain price. We were going to be the kings of our trade in no time! Turns out everything we printed wasn’t great. Far from it actually. We were missing the two key components needed for producing truly great custom screen printed apparel. Knowledge and equipment. For better or worse the best screen printing happens on expensive industrial grade presses by crews who have had time to dial in every step of the process.

It wasn’t until we were about 6 months into our venture that we understood the difference between manual screen printing presses vs automatic presses. Our little operation sold a couple big jobs about 4 months after we started, too big to complete on a manual press. We took a risk and a couple months later we were in our first professional space with an automatic screen printing press being delivered. With in a couple weeks of the press install we had to produce a couple 5000+ piece orders. We started the run nervously with the deadline in mind as well. As we printed we were blown away by the speed and consistency of the press. A job that would have taken a month on a manual press took us two days. Not only that but the spoilage rate fell to under 1%. It was an instantaneous jump in our progression as a shop.

Fast forward 5 years and we have state of the art equipment for each department. Starting with our pre-press department we utilize a CTS or Computer To Screen imaging machine. This machine allows us to produce crisp and detailed stencils quickly. We can output up to 300 screens per day with out sacrificing the integrity or quality of the screens.  On press a registration system allow us to knock out fast set ups with perfect alignment between screens. Our automatic screen printing presses can print up to 12 colors on a shirt and we can produce up to 8,000 prints per day. Each  custom printed tshirt then runs through a large gas conveyor dryer. This machine cures the ink before we box them up and send them to you.

All this awesome equipment and the knowledgable staff that operate it are why you pay a few more cents a shirt to work with an established shop who is really knows their trade. Next time you get a quote that seems to good to be true it’s worth researching the shop before handing over your hard earned money. Is it a trustworthy shop with knowledge, experience, and the equipment required to nail your order? Or is it some dude using your job to learn the craft as he goes? Buy nice or buy twice!