A variety of different machines can be used for printing fabrics. Flat Screen Printing Machine is a quite common one described below.
Flat-screen printing machines can be manual, semi-automatic or completely automatic. One type of machine, which is still commonly found in printing houses, can be described as follows. The fabric is first glued to a moving endless belt. A stationary screen at the front of the machine is lowered onto the area that has to be printed and the printing paste is wiped with a squeegee. Afterward, the belt, with the fabric glued on it, is advanced to the pattern-repeat point and the screen is lowered again. The printed fabric moves forward step by step and passes through a dryer. The machine prints only one color at a time. When the first color is printed on the whole length of the fabric, the dried fabric is ready for the second cycle and so on until the pattern is completed.
Advantages of Flat Screen Printing Machines
In other fully mechanized machines, all the colors are printed at the same time. A number of stationary screens are placed along the Flat Screen Printer machine. The screens are simultaneously lifted, while the textile, which is glued to a moving endless rubber belt, is advanced to the pattern-repeat point. Then the screens are lowered again and the paste is squeezed through the screens onto the fabric. The printed material moves forward one frame at each application and as it leaves the last frame it is finally dried and it is ready for fixation.
With regarding these machines, the continuous rubber belt, after pulling away from the fabric, is moved downward in continuous mode over a guide roller and washed with water and rotating brushes to remove the printing paste residues and the glue, if necessary. After this, the belt is sent back to the gluing device. In some cases, the glue is applied in liquid form by a squeegee, while in other machines the belts are pre-coated with thermoplastic glues. In this case, the textile is heated and then it is squeezed by a roller or simply pressed against the rubber-coated belt, causing the glue to soften and instantly adhere.