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Behind the Screens with Palmprint
In Behind The Screens we talk to some of the companies and printers that use MagnaColours water-based inks. finding out more about what they print and the reasons why they use MagnaPrint.
We went to Leicester to speak to Tony Palmer about how the industry has changed over the last three decades.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your company and what you do
I am Tony Palmer, my company is Palmprint Consultants Ltd. I started printing in 1987 after my mum filled in an application form at the local print shop. I had no idea what screen printing was and I thought I would have to cut out really large potatoes and dip them in paint! After thirty years in the industry, I now try to make life easier for other print shops around the world.
What equipment do you use?
I have used every piece of equipment under the sun, ranging from an old Sias Multipla D that needed setting up with a hammer, a T bar and a rushed prayer, all the way to a self-registering MHM SP500
Why do use water-based inks?
I use water-based inks because life was far too easy using plastisol… who likes to just walk out of the door at 5? I want to stay and have the satisfaction of blasting the days troubles away with a high-powered jet wash gun!! It’s my therapy.
How long have you been printing water-based inks & how have they changed your business?
I started my career with water-based inks, we would use water-based on light shirts and plastisol on dark shirts. It was standard practice to print a white piece of fabric with a background flood to match the garment colour, this type of ink is now enjoying a resurgence as customers understand the impact that the inks they choose can have on the environment
Do you have a favourite ink or special effect in the MagnaPrint Range?
I love the Aquaflex White V2. For me, it’s a perfect replacement for plastisol white, it gives a great opaque print with a soft feel, this is what most printers have been waiting for, it’s application is a little different than traditional plastisol, but to have a bright white with no PVC, no nasty chemicals used during wash down and to get a retail quality print is truly worth going through the learning curve.
What is your favourite print you’ve made with MagnaPrint?
I have made lots of prints with Magna inks but the most spectacular to a printer are usually the most plain to an onlooker. For example a bright crisp white print on a polyester mix garment can bring much more joy than a multicolour pseudo-process job with multiple special effects, but then again printers are a very strange group of people. Which you would know if ever you saw one in the clothing department of a retail store, we are the ones touching every printed shirt on display and secretly looking for leaks and mis-registration.
How has the printing industry changed since you started?
Everyone got a lot younger!
The biggest changes are yet to come, Digital is coming, its still going through the teething stage but soon the speed and cost bridges will be crossed and then we will see some astounding prints achieved using not just white base and digital, but special effects and embellishments we now think of as unachievable. Print on Demand is steadfastly embedded in our industry and the ability to choose a design online and receive a printed garment in a few days still fills me with awe.
How do you keep it interesting?
Keeping this vocation interesting is not all that difficult, although the process is very similar, we create a design, we separate the colours and then push ink through the screens and at the end of the job we do the same thing again with different patterned screens for the next job, the thrill is still in the process and seeing that same design that came to life on a computer monitor appear on a real life printed garment still keeps my attention even after more than thirty years.
What is one printing tip or trick that you wished you knew when you started out?
The one thing I still try and pass on is the importance of a thick stencil to achieve bright opaque prints, no matter how skilled the press operator, if the stencil is of poor quality the print will be too.