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February 2016

bag screen printing

To screen or not to screen, Print is the question?

To screen or not to screen, Print is the question? Posted on February 22, 2016 at 2:30 PM Throughout the Bags of Ideas website we make references to many types of printing for your promotional bags, but chances are, not everyone knows what the difference is, or what is best for them. Now your questions have been answered – below is the definitive Bags of Ideas guide to printing techniques that we offer, and when they are best. Go on, have a read – we have even thrown in some videos to make things more exciting! Screen Printing Screen-printing is the most common method of branding within the promotional industry. It’s a great method that started out as a manual process, but now, in many factories, its completely automated, which makes it even more efficient, and means we can deliver your orders quickly. The Method As with all printing, we start off with a logo – this is always better if it is a vectored file (means we can adjust the size without pixilation). This is loaded into the relevant software – and is printed onto what are called transparencies. Next the screen is coated in an emulsion on both sides; the logo is applied, and then placed under a halogen light. The heat of the halogen hardens the emulsion, and burns the logo.   The screen is then washed to reveal the logo – this part of the film has become thin enough to allow the ink to pass through. Now you are good to go – the screens are placed in the machine, colours mixed, and the printing can begin. The logo is printed by using a squeegee; this runs along the screen, pushing the ink through then onto the bag underneath. If there were a large number of bags to print, we may opt to create more than one screen, and use more than one printing head in order to speed up the process. Depending on the factory, we could have five or ten printing heads running at any one time. Also, if the logo has more than one colour additional screens are required as they only allow for single colour use. After each colour is printed the bags would then be dried, before being packed. Below, the video goes a little further into the details of the stages. Why Screen Screen-printing should be the first port of call for branding – it’s a tried and tested method, which gives a long lasting, clean and professional result. It lends its self better to spot colour printing, as opposed to logos with gradients – though they can be achieved, there are other methods better suited. Screen-printing is also the most cost effective method of printing, even if a large number of colours are required. Also, in some cases (always worth checking) the printers will keep the screens, so repeat orders will come at a reduced rate, and you can be guaranteed the same logo as before (size and placement). Screen print also allows you to do large prints – the whole side of a bag, without an increase in cost. Generally speaking a screen is around 30x30cm – and any size logo within that area will be the same price. Some other methods of printing use such a vast amount of ink, that a small increase in logo size will push up the price – this is not the case with screen-printing. Screen printing automation has also come a long way, and now with machines like the below, you can brand irregularly shaped products fast: Finally screen printing offers the best colour match when trying to achieve a dedicated pantone, unlike a CMYK print, which maybe be close, but cannot guarantee it. One downside to Screen printing, is that for small runs of items it can be a costly method, due to the set up charges involved. But, this would only be for the first order – as once the screens have been made, they can be re-used for exact repeats. The comparatively large screen charges also means pre-production samples (PPS) will be costly – though most companies will deduct the cost from the bulk if you proceed. As a rule of thumb, factories will maintain the screens for between 6 months and 1 year, after which they may be recycled. It’s always worth finding this out, and also the screen policy – sometimes repeat orders will have half price screens, other times they are free, and in some cases, but less frequently, factories do not save them at all, so the charges will apply every time. Recommended Products For Screen Printing: Transfer Printing Transfer printing is another popular method for promotional bags. As the name would suggest, the logo is essentially a sticker that reacts to heat in order to seal the transfer to a surface. The Method As it stands (as far as I am aware), the method for transfer printing has been the same for a very long time – though there are now some presses are automated. A logo (or design) is required, as with all of the methods I will discuss (you can’t print without a logo). But for this method, the logo is printed early on, and later applied to a bag. Look below; a mid sized industrial printer, which will print the desired amount of logos on to vinyl sheets, and cut around the design, where required (this can be programmed). Most of the time, the logos will be printed as if they have been flipped- so when they are applied to the product they end up the correct way. In order to get that logo or design onto the bag it should be placed in the heat press, and lined up. Markers should be made to ensure all products are printed in the same place. The logo should be lined up, the heat press set to the correct temperature and a sheets of greaseproof paper (or similar)

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PP, what is it good for?

PP, what is it good for?

PP, what is it good for? Absolutely everything Posted on February 10, 2016 at 2:30 PM Two questions that keep coming up are: just what is PP? And what’s the difference between woven and non-woven PP? There’s a third question which necessarily follows: Which is best for me? It’s such a common question, it made me wonder if there wasn’t a straightforward answer already out there, and I couldn’t find one either. So, the aim of this blog is to answer these questions, in simple terms, and help you find the bag you need. Let’s start at the beginning. PP – what is it? PP – or polypropylene – is a thermoplastic. In Layman’s terms, that’s a plastic which comes in many forms from resins to pellets and which, when heated and set, takes on the properties of a solid plastic, hardening as it cools. Best of all, this process can be repeated again and again, making it recyclable and re-usable. Many Uses PP is one of the most versatile plastics known to man, and can be found in everything from carpets and cars, to plates and planes. It can take many forms, from completely solid – like a garden chair, to fibrous, like the back of carpets – or bags. PP has some great properties that make it especially good for promotional products. Firstly, it doesn’t absorb water (unlike nylon or polyester which makes it really good for the likes of school bags, shopping bags, cooler bags or beach bags, where water resistance is an important feature. It’s also a brilliant insulator – which is why you’ll find products like flasks and cool bags made out of PP. Its characteristics allow temperatures to remain constant for longer – keeping cold things cold and hot things hot. PP is also very cost effective. In terms of bags, it comes in two forms, and though there is a price difference between them, both are affordable when compared with other materials including polyester. So and Woven and Non-woven. What’s the difference? The names are self-explanatory. One is made from woven PP fibres, and the other isn’t. More specifically, woven PP is composed of fibers woven together in sheets, aligned at 90 degrees to each other, with the fibers going over and under one another, as shown in the image above. Non-woven is made in special heated presses under pressure, to create a sealed sheet. Both materials are strong but woven PP is the strongest. The videos below show how sheets of non-woven PP and how woven sheets are made. The time involved to make a woven bag makes them more expensive than non-woven, but and both are very cost-effective when compared to rival materials. Shopping Around Non-woven is better at keeping the water out, as it is a solid sheet of material, whereas woven bags can let water through the weave. An alternative here is a laminated woven bag, which will add the level of protection required, while retaining the positive features of woven PP; this is always something to check when ordering a woven bag as to whether it is laminated or not. For promotional materials, both materials lend themselves towards shopping bags – with the woven type being more suited for big loads, such as bottle bags or even sand and building materials. Below are some prime examples of woven and non-woven PP bags. In general, however, non-woven PP tends to have more uses in the promotional market. It can be manufactured much more efficiently, and cost effectively, increasing its appeal as a material. And Now in Colour For example, from stock (i.e. off the shelf) you can find all of the following made from non-woven PP: beach bags, cooler bags, dress/suit bags, messenger bags, aprons, rucksacks & backpacks and even car windscreen shades. Also, the manufacturing methods allow easy dying of the material, therefore not only do you find a large product range, but an extensive colour range too – take a look at this non-woven shopper bag and the standard colours it is available in. With woven bags, off-the-shelf choice is limited – in many cases a woven bag would be custom-made, so it’s worth bearing in mind the extended lead times; from scratch, delivery time could take anything from 6-12 weeks after approval of artwork. To find out more about custom bags, have a look at our Bespoke Bag Page. One feature of both woven and non-woven bags is that the surface has texture. From an aesthetic viewpoint it gives the bags a unique look, which looks especially nice with the bright colours, however, for some there is an issue with print clarity. If your artwork is intricate with a lot of detail, it’s worth checking with en expert to see if the print will work. If it’s too detailed you may want to opt for a bag with a smooth finish, like light cotton, or polyester. But it is still possible to get a great finish with a detailed picture, so don’t write off PP just yet: At Bags of Ideas we believe PP bags are a great option, with an attractive price point, durability and great versatility. Even the printing limitations are actually not that limiting. But don’t take our word for it – try a PP bag yourself!

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