If you are reclaiming manually, there are a few recommended pieces of screen-printing equipment. The first one is a dip tank. It’s ideal for reclaiming the ink and emulsion at the same time. Using a dip tank is easy. You put your dirty screen into the dip tank with a solution, let it soak for a couple of minutes, remove the screen, and power wash it clean. It is best to remove as much plastisol ink and tape as possible before placing the frame into the dip tank.
Whether you use a dip tank or not, you will want a washout booth. A free-standing unit can be put anywhere and helps contain any water and mess. Having a back-lit washout booth is a nice feature as it helps to illuminate your screen and show small spots you might have missed.
On a related note, when developing a screen after exposure, the backlights help with developing and washing out fine lines and halftones.
No matter whether you reclaim manually or automatically, every shop should filter its water before putting it down the drain for two main reasons. First, this is the environmentally responsible thing to do. Second, you want to remove any tape or larger particles or ink and emulsion from going down the drain. Filtering these solids out of your water helps prevent any expensive plumbing repairs. A filtration unit is probably the least expensive insurance policy you can get for your shop.
With the proper equipment and the right procedure, cleaning screens is a simple and manageable task. Staying on top of the situation and not letting dirty screens pile up is key to an easy and relativity clean reclaim process.
—Lawson Screen & Digital Products