Many reclaiming problems can be avoided by following a few simple rules.
Make sure you are in compliance with all environmental regulations. Environmental regulations differ widely from region to region and violations can carry stiff penalties. Know and obey the rules in your area. Making sure your shop complies when you first set it up can be a lot cheaper than having to retrofit.
Buy the best materials and equipment you can afford. Don’t try to cut corners. Trying to reclaim screens with chemicals never intended for the purpose can ruin mesh. This choice could cost you time and money. Never skimp on essential equipment like a good pressure washer.
Follow instructions. Not even the best reclaiming chemicals and equipment can do a good job when used improperly. This seems so obvious, but many screens are ruined by simple failure to do the obvious.
Under exposure and chemical lock. It is never a good idea to print with under exposed screens, when a screen is under exposed it is left soft. If a soft screen is exposed to ink and chemical it could chemically lock which will make the reclaiming process extremely difficult! Another thing that could chemically lock a screen is if you were to leave the emulsion remover on it and not wash it out enough. This will lock the screen because the emulsion remover dries into the emulsion. It is always best to have properly exposed screens in order for them to last the longest on the press and reclaim the best.
Trouble Shooting Tips:
The longer a stencil remains in a screen, the harder the emulsion is likely to become. Get in the habit of reclaiming your screens as soon as you are finished with them. Emulsions can also become excessively hardened through contact with certain strong solvents. If your exposures are accurate and you’re still running into reclaiming problems try switching to a different wash up or screen opener. Many reclaiming problems result from mistakes made during the stencil making process. Underexposing the emulsion is a common culprit. Underexposed emulsion can be virtually locked to the threads of the mesh and may resist all efforts to reclaim it.The solution is to buy and learn how to use an exposure calculator.
Sometimes stubborn bits of stencil hang on despite your best efforts. Try reapplying the stencil remover or dehazer to the spot. Wait a few minutes and spray with your pressure washer. Adjust the nozzle to deliver a more finely focused spray. Remember that as the water jet becomes narrower its power increases. Don’t aim continuously at one small area. Keep it moving.
With these tips in mind, reclaiming your screens should take less time and your screens should last longer; two factors that can make a big impact on your bottom line!