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General Screen Print Questions

Below is a list of general questions and technical questions we receive regularly about screen printing products. If you have other questions about the products you've purchased from us, please feel free to contact us using the Contact Us form or sending an e-mail to store@commercialscreen.com. Please allow up to 48 hours for a response.

Q: What are the differences in durometers of squeegee blade?
A: The durometer is the hardness of the squeegee blade. The three most common hardnesses are 60 durometer (soft), 70 (medium) and 80 (hard). Depending on application and preference, different durometers are used. There are also specialty blades where two durometers are combined; for example 70/90/70 is a blade with a 90 durometer (very hard) in between two pieces of 70 (medium) durometer blade.

Q: Which emulsion should I use?
A: Many printers have a preference as to the emulsion they use. Here are simple tips to help you determine the right emulsion for you.
  • What type of ink are you printing? Your emulsion will need to be water resistant if using water-based inks. If you are using plastisol inks, you will need a plastisol resistant emulsion, and for solvent based inks (Coroplast, Enamel, General Purpose Sign Inks) you will need a Solvent-Based Ink.
  • Pre-Mixed or Diazo Emulsion? Pre-Mixed emulsions are ready to use out of the container from the factory. They have a longer shelf life and a longer coated screen shelf life. Most are faster exposing than Diazo emulsions. Diazo Emulsions come with a sensitizer, a little bottle that you mix into the emulsion to make it ready to use. Once you do this, the recommended shelf life is usually no longer than 4-8 weeks. Diazo Emulsions are much more resistant to water and solvent based inks, where Pre-Mixed emulsions are (depending on which emulsion) not applicable for harsh inks/chemicals.
  • How will I expose this? If you are exposing by daylight, photoflood bulbs, or halogen bulbs, you need to be aware of how much longer some emulsions will take from a weaker light source. If you are using a vacuum table with industrial light sources, your exposure time will be much shorter.

Q: Is it really necessary to degrease screens before coating them with emulsion?
A: The short answer is yes. You should always degrease screens prior to coating or applying capillary film. This will ensure a clean and dust free surface to apply emulsion, as well as reduce the chances of pinholing in your screen. When using capillary film it is necessary to use a degreaser with an abrader (Ulanogel #23 Degreaser Abrader) to ensure a receptive surface for the film.
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