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screen printing mesh tension

Term of the Week: Screen Tension

Screen tension plays a major role in the quality and ease of print in production. The tighter the screen, the better the final print.

Tighter screens provide better peel, less off-contact, and less resistance to ink flowing through the mesh. The goal is to have the screen maintain a minimum of 25N/cm2.

Screens with low tension can remain on-contact after the print stroke is completed, creating an uneven deposit and often rough surface when the screen lifts from the substrate. Print quality reduces, and so does your shop's efficiency. 

To accurately determine the tension of a screen, you need a tension meter in your shop's toolbox. Things to remember when using a tension meter:

  • Ensure your screen is set on a flat, even surface
  • Measure tension in several areas of the screen to ensure consistency 
  • Measure tension in two opposite directions (top and bottom, and side to side)

Source: Ray Smith

For more on mesh and tension, check out In Search of the Right Mesh