Technical Centre - Screen Print

“My name is Anna Kolesova and I come from the Northern part of Russia. I have always seen myself as part of the international society and wanted to explore the world. For that reason, I moved to Finland for my first bachelor degree program directly after finishing high school. During that time, I had the chance to have exchange semesters in the Netherlands and Czech Republic.

The study course Print Media Technologies gives me the opportunity to combine a creative way of thinking with an engineering approach. Because of the advanced technologies that the HdM offers and the experts who are working there, the students get a lot of opportunities to explore different areas of printing. Straight away in the first semester I became very interested to find out about the many possibilities of screen-printing technologies, that are able to transfer the ink on different kind of substrates. For example textile, plastic, glass, and various three-dimensional objects.

This printing process is also employed for food, medical and luxury packaging and any other commercial print products. Besides, screen printing is used to produce printed electronics such as antennas in cars, sensors, batteries, certain components in smartphones and computers. Various screen-print-ing presses are available in our university to students for their design projects.

Because of my initial interest, I decided to further explore the area of printed electronics, working together with a research team and assisting them on the projects of producing very thin batteries and sensors. I believe that printed electronics will play a big role in our future, and in a couple of years I hope to be able to contribute to the further development of this technology.”

A real mesh of relations!

Screen Printing is one of the oldest printing processes. It was largely introduced to Western Europe from Asia sometime in the late 18th century. It is a printing technique whereby a mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate, except in areas made impermeable to the ink by a blocking stencil.

A blade or squeegee is moved across the screen to fill the open mesh apertures with ink, and a reverse stroke then causes the screen to touch the substrate momentarily along a line of contact. This causes the ink to wet the substrate and be pulled out of the mesh apertures as the screen springs back after the blade has passed.

There are three common types of screen printing presses. The ‘flat-bed’, ‘cylinder’ and ‘rotary’ press. While the public thinks of garments in conjunction with screen printing, the technique is used on tens of thousands of items, including decals, clock and watch faces, balloons, and many other products. The technique has even been adapted for more advanced uses, such as laying down conductors and resistors in multi-layer circuits using thin ceramic layers as the substrate. It also applies to smartphones in which the circuitry is printed in screen to save space, batteries and many more functional features.

Our university features two flatbed screen printing machines, both manual and automatic, as well as a round surface machine. Students often use them for their own projects, mostly shirts and bags. Apart from this, it also features a Lab we use for research on printed electronics.