Why do screen printing inks crack?

Curing ink is like cooking a steak. If you want a rare steak, you have a hot pan and quickly turn the steak over before removing the steak from the heat. A well-done steak requires a lower temperature for a longer time for the heat to cook through the steak.

As printers, we want all inks fully cooked. Achieve a fully-cooked ink with a conveyor dryer that has a long hood rather than a wide hood. The longer hood allows the shirt to cure for a more extended period. Typically, that time should be at least one minute.

If the ink picks off with your fingernail, then you have a rare steak. Thicker ink deposits (steaks) require more than one minute for the PVC ink to melt into the garment. If the ink doesn’t cook long enough, it cracks.

Roger Jennings

Roger Jennings is president of the R Jennings Manufacturing Co., an equipment manufacturer and printing supplies distributor in Glens Falls, N.Y. Those seeking additional information on the subject matter below should feel free to contact him at [email protected]

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