At all times screen printers want to use great screen printing inks. A great ink can make garments come alive. Low-cure plastisol inks are a great option for screen printers who want to print on cotton, 50/50, or 100% polyester t-shirts and hoodies. While all screen print inks have different qualities, the main quality for low-cure inks is that they cure around 275° - 280°F. Normally plastisol inks cure at 320°F.
If a screen printer already has plastisol inks and they would rather have low cure inks there is a way to fix that. Additives can be added that will make normal plastisol work like low cure ink.
Curing Garments at a Lower Temperature
Low cure plastisol ink cures at a lower temperature. This means that the conveyor dryer can be set to a lower temperature. The lower temperature is good for screen printers.
Sensitive garments will be protected from high temperatures. If a fabric has a tendency to scorch or shrink, using a lower temperature will help. Polyester, dri-fit, and non-cotton materials do not dry well unless the temperature is high. These garments have a tendency to become damaged at higher temperatures. This is the screen printer's dilemma. A low temperature will prevent dye migration. For example, polyester above 300° will turn the colors on the shirt into a gas and the vapors will rise to the top. If a yellow shirt had blue plastisol on it the ink would turn green. This would not be good. When this happens it will skew the look of the colors. If the dryer is lower than 300° and using low-cure ink the polyester shirt will be protected. The ink will still cure.
Another benefit of the lower temperature is low energy usage. This can save a screen printer money and be good for the environment.
How to Screen Print with Low-Cure Plastisol Ink
Traditional plastisol ink and low-cure ink screen printing are virtually the same. It’s possible to print with both forms of ink on the same shirt. The dryer temperature may have to be higher with traditional plastisol. Otherwise everything is the same. Mesh count, process, squeegee pressure are all the same.
The difference comes down to temperature adjustments. Check the temperature with a donut probe to see if low-cure plastisol is cured.
The Final Word on Low-Cure Plastisol
Having options in screen printing is always a great thing. Low-cure plastisol can allow a screen printer the opportunity to print on different substrates without the potential of scorching the material. In this respect, low-cure plastisol can be a screen printers best friend.