Screenprinting Dominates in Durability
Screenprinting is ideally suited for bold coverage and brilliant images, and it adds a pleasant, tactile dimension to prime labels on consumer products.
As a result, Bob Yates, a California-based sales manager for the Swiss label press manufacturer Gallus, observed that screened labels are frequently found on health and beauty products, household detergents and wine and spirits bottles. "Using a clear substrate on a clear bottle is a great way to really make images pop," he said.
But as Evans pointed out, "The distributor's best opportunities for marketing screenprinting are definitely in durable industrial labels and promotional products."
For instance, Screentech serves profitable niche markets within garbage and trash collection facilities, portable toilet manufacturers, recyclers and rental companies, where company names or logos, in addition to contact information, warnings and maintenance instructions, need to be displayed. It is screenprinting's superior outdoor performance that enables these products to endure over time, despite sunlight, moisture and rough handling.
With less costly set-up involved, screenprinting is usually indicated when dealing with lower quantities—Roeda has had orders for as few as 12 pieces. "But even for quantities of more than 1,000 where offset or flexo might be more practical, it must be screenprinted if the label is going to be exposed to the elements," said Roeda.
Screenprinting also offers tremendous flexibility in producing large and odd-sized labels and decals. Unlike flexo and offset printing, there are few size restrictions to contend with, and accommodating unusual shapes with screenprinting is more cost effective.
"Digital printing is starting to capture a greater segment of the large format, ad specialty and point-of-purchase markets," Roeda observed, "but it lacks the coarseness and density of UV screenprinting, which adds that slightly raised quality consumers find appealing—and, of course, the durability."
With smaller dots than screenprinting, flexo printing does display a greater degree of definition required for high-end graphics. However, Roeda observed that screened label designs are often quite dramatic. Still, he cautioned distributors to check with their suppliers when artwork is highly detailed.