Emulsion Result Scorecard
Great emulsion helps, but how do you maximize your stencil results?
For more than 140 years, MacDermid has been coaching screen printers on how to get the most out of their emulsion and capillary film stencils by minimizing pinholes, improving durability, and making truly fantastic stencils.
Because of this, MacDermid Connect has created an Emulsion Result Scorecard for screen printers that sets them up for success with the right processes and procedures.When’s the last time you asked yourself:
How is my screen room organized?
What's the humidity in my drying room?
Have my exposure variables changed?
Stencil making is about using quality emulsion in the right way.
Read on for more about the scorecard, and how to use it effectively.
Emulsions come with a “Protect from Freeze” warning because freezing temperatures will change the chemistry of the emulsion, affecting viscosity and ultimately effectiveness. On the other end of the scale, excessive heat in an emulsion prior to exposure will set off the diazo, partially exposing the emulsion before it even leaves the pot.
Screen printers may experience inconsistent stencil results due to humidity. Lower humidity amplifies static, which acts like a magnet drawing dust and other small particles to the wet emulsion during the drying time. Any spec of dust has the potential to become a future pinhole or fish eye, so it is best to have some humidity while coating and drying screens.
High humidity during coating and drying will cause the emulsion to dry much more slowly, or not at all. Humidity percentages above 45% will severely hinder the emulsion’s ability to dry prior to exposure.
As mentioned earlier, dust and other airborne particles can wreak havoc on wet screens. Screen printers must ensure that airborne dust and debris are minimized when emulsion is drying to reduce contamination.
Separate Drying Areas
Drying a wet emulsion right next to a washout unit can cause unintentional consequences such as drips and higher humidity that affect exposure. Moving the drying rack into a sealed drying room with fans moving warm air will make drying more consistent and fast.
Proper exposure is key to stencil durability and effectiveness on press. An exposure calculator allows screen printers to calibrate and tweak their exposure setup to optimize results. Although Alkemi PLUS emulsions have a wide exposure latitude (forgiveness for over/under exposure), using the exposure calculator every few months can highlight potential problems down the road.
Use the Emulsion Result Scorecard to review your processes, and the impact they have on your emulsion’s performance. Answer each red question on a scale of 1-5 based on the values provided, and the worksheet will automatically tally your score.
Regardless of your scorecard results, our team is standing by to answer any questions you have, and provide guidance to make sure you get the most from your emulsion when making new stencils.
Did we miss anything? Please add your tips and tricks in the comments below.