Metal Silk Screening

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Metal Silk Screening

Over years of working with Medical, Defense, Industrial, and other markets, PEKO has learned that silk screening on metal is difficult to come by service. As such, we’ve created our own metal fabrication silk screen division. Our team has mastered the process and can provide the highest quality prints to meet customer specifications. 

Taking this process in-house eliminates risk from using outside vendors, improves delivery times, and lowers the cost to the end-user. The department is located directly next to our wet paint and powder coat operations within the sheet metal fabrication division here at PEKO. Customers see a huge benefit in this vertical integration for their mechanical fabricated assemblies.

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The process of silk screening on metal

Silk screen printing on metal is a delicate and nuanced process.  It may look easy but creating a process and having the discipline to follow it is of utmost importance.  Steps 1 to 7 describe the process of creating the screen, and steps 8 thru 11 describe the process of applying the ink.

  1. Customer supplies artwork files
  2. PEKO prints the artwork onto the transfer film (Econofilm by Ryonet) with DMAX UV light blocking dye
  3. A screen is chosen by size and a liquid emulsion is placed on the screen in an environment (similar to a dark room)
  4. The screen is then baked in an oven to solidify the emulsion on the screen
  5. The printed artwork transfer film is placed onto the silkscreen, then both are placed into the X-Vactor LED Vacuum Exposure Unit with Digital Timer
  6. The exposure unit is turned on, using a vacuum seal and UV light to imprint the artwork negative into the screen
  7. The screen is ready for printing
  8. The silk screen is placed over the workpiece, with a small gap between the material and the screen to ensure good springback
  9. Ink is placed onto the screen and a squeegee is wiped across the silkscreen
  10. Ink is pushed through the negative image onto the material
  11. The screen is removed, leaving the completed workpiece to dry

Types of Metals

PEKO prints on the most popular metals that we fabricate in-house.  Metal silk screen printing is very versatile but in our case we typically run:

  • Aluminum
  • Painted substrates
  • Powder Coated metal
  • Coated Steel
  • Stainless Steel

Types of Inks

  • Epoxy (most common) – outdoor exposure and adhesion
  • Urethane
  • Lacquer

Advantages

  • Precise location 
  • Transferability
  • Cosmetic appearance (logos)
  • Accurate geometry
  • Durability/Longevity

Alternatives

Ink stamps, adhesive labels, and stencils are all alternatives to silk screening on metals, but they aren’t always as durable and accurate as metal silk screening, so we advise you to choose wisely.

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Case Studies