The Screen Printing Technical Foundation has been
comparing methods of applying tension to screenprinting screens. The goal
is to find a method which can produce screens which hold high tension for
long periods of time. Three methods were tested, Pre-loading, Vibration,
and Pulsed Tensioning.
In pre-loading, a weight is applied to the screen during
tensioning and prior to setting the screen in a frame. The hope is that
the resultant stretching will occur at this point rather than during
printing. No real advantage was found when this method was applied and
some disadvantage was noted. This is not recommended.
Vibration tensioning assumes that by vibrating a screen
during tensioning, molecules in the strands will be aligned in a stronger
fashion. Applying vibration for five minutes was shown to be slightly
better than normal staged or rapid tensioning, but a ten minute
application showed even better results.
Pulsed tensioning applies a greater tension than the
target for a short time, followed by a lesser tension. As the process is
repeated, the molecules in the strands are hypothesized to orient
themselves in successively stronger patterns. This method showed the
longest tension maintenance period, especially if the pulses were held for
Author: Dennis Hunt, SPTF
Source: SGIA Journal, Q1 2000, p. 34-36.