Combined Screen and Digital Printing for Industrial Applications

Combining Screen and Digital Printing Produces Results that gets the best of both worlds

Combining Screen and Digital Printing Produces Results that gets the best of both worlds

Digital printing is becoming increasingly common in industrial applications – on a wide range of materials including glass, metal, wood, plastics and plastic sheet, polymer films, textiles and melamine. Inkjet printing ensures fully reproducible results and makes it possible to frequently switch designs from project to project, without the need for costly and time-consuming machine changeover. This type of printing poses unique challenges due to the huge variety and complexity of the forms, substrates and surface finishes involved.

However, some applications and requirements usually implemented by screen printing are beyond the capabilities of digital printing. These include excellent coverage, controlled coating thicknesses, very high chemical and mechanical resistance, special-purpose inks and special effects (such as pearlescent, metallic, bronze, mirror or luminescent). It may be necessary to combine screen printing with digital printing methods to meet these needs. An application segment of growing importance is input devices, such as membrane switches and capacitive touch panels made from glass or plastic. These have become an essential feature of electronic control and operating equipment – and not just in the automotive sector.

Marabu has developed a combined screen and digital printing solution for the manufacture of input devices. The design can be printed on surfaces such as coated films and glass or plastic panels with suitable Marabu inkjet inks (in CMYK plus light shades) – without the need for time-consuming traditional prepress stages. Depending on coverage and durability requirements, a suitable ink for the blocking layer is applied using screen printing. The following proven Marabu printing inks can be employed: Ultra Glass UVGL on glass and solvent-based Mara® Switch MSW or UV-curable Ultra Switch UVSW on films and plastic panels.

When it comes to multicolour designs, digital printing eliminates the expensive and time-consuming process of screen making. Standard formats are easy to customise – when creating multilingual keyboard layouts, for example. Screen printing’s main advantages are outstanding ink adhesion, coverage, and durability. Moreover, the ink for the white blocking layer can be changed over rapidly to accommodate diverse substrates and printing parameters. Combining the two printing methods enables manufacturers to intelligently exploit their respective technical and cost benefits. It makes production processes faster, easier to customize, and less expensive – without compromising on quality.

If you could like to find out more please contact: Alexandra Riese,