The Pre-Press Process

Learn all about pre-press requirements before pulling that squeegee. 

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In screen printing, there’s quite a bit to do before your products get to the press. We call this pre-press, and by definition, it is described as everything that happens before production and is critically important. 

The pre-press process involves preparing the artwork, screens, ink, and product you will use before the printing. Pre-press necessities include but are not limited to starting in the art department, a computer with design software, and an output device to create film. Moving on to screen making, you will, of course, need screens, a coating trough, exposure unit with vacuum frame, developing sink, pressure washer, drying racks, and a reclaim sink. 

Finally, the last pre-press department is ink. You’ll need a scale and a color-matching system. These are all minimal requirements. Today’s pre-press departments look much different from years past. Newer pre-press departments often feature automatic coating, automatic computer-to-screen output with onboard exposure, automatic developing with pre-registration fixturing for ease of set up, and even automatic reclaim. Automation of this area will minimize labor. 

Lon Winters

Lon Winters

At 21 years old, Lon Winters was the production manager for Ocean Pacific and started his 30+ year career reclaiming screens. His companies have won 50+ garment decorating awards and honors, and he's served 15+ years as an honorary Golden Image Judge, published hundreds of articles and columns, led various industry seminars and workshops, and consulted on projects large and small. He's the president and founder of Colorado-based Graphic Elephants, an international consulting firm and apparel decoration studio specializing in screen printing technical advances, plant design, layout, troubleshooting, productivity, quality analysis and complete apparel decorating solutions. He was inducted into the Academy of Screen Printing Technology in 2013 and is recognized for his contribution to the graphic printing industry.

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