"The physical parameters of woven screen printing fabric have been the subject of many technical articles over the years, and a topic of discussion of manufacturers and screen printers alike. Mesh count, thread diameter, fabric thickness and mesh opening size are used by printers as a basis for decisions on the selection and purchases of screen printing mesh. These physical dimensions have become the very same information manufacturers use to characterize their product, and because of this, these numerical specifications have become common, understood terminology throughout the industry.
But these mesh parameters are much more than just descriptive adjectives, as they signify the physical attributes of the screen, a tool that is essential to the process of screen printing.
The screen is, in fact, such a vital part of the process that its dimensions affect virtually every area of screen making and printing operations. The calculation of an ink deposit estimate and fine line halftone dot to mesh ratio totally relies on this information. Mesh opening size determines the pigment particle size that can be printed, and the smallest dot or line that can be supported.
The thread size and mesh count relationship is responsible for the strength characteristics of a
particular fabric which influences tension levels and stability. In addition, the resulting stencil thickness of both direct emulsion and capillary film is dependent on the mesh opening size and fabric thickness.
The Screen Printing Technical Foundation, recognizing the significance of mesh attributes, has completed a study to determine the physical change mesh undergoes when tensioning free mesh to working tension levels. Four major dimensions were monitored in this investigation, including mesh opening area, thread diameter, mesh count and fabric thickness. Measurements taken before, during, and after tensioning on many meshes have provided information on the reaction and interaction these four parameters demonstrate during stretching.
With this type of insight into polyester fabric, the decisions concerning mesh selection for any particular printing application.
The physical changes in polyester mesh during tensioning is a research and technical article contributed by Dawn M. Hohl, Dennis D. Hunt, pulished in Screen Printing Technical Foundation, for the full article, please click here to download or view online.