Silk printing CTS (Computer To Screen)


Many textile screen printers today are well aware of the advantages of adding a computer to screen imaging system into their pre-press workflow. CTS imaging eliminates film, reduces labor and overhead costs, and does so in a fraction of the time it takes to accomplish the same effort traditionally. A direct to screen printer can also provide an immediate quality improvement if it replaces an inkjet or toner-based film workflow.

There are many reasons why the CTS imaging method is the best way to process screens for most medium-sized to large screen printing shops. Some of these reasons include:

Improved Detail: When an image is output directly onto the emulsion (on the screen), better detail can be achieved since there is no clear carrier film to diffuse light during screen exposure process. That means fine lines and halftones in the 2% tonal range can be exposed with less chance of overexposing these design elements.

Improved Registration: The CTS screen imaging method also eliminates the need to use a T-square to perform the time-consuming process of measuring where to position an image on the screen. In addition, if a pin registration system is used, a CTS system will eliminate to need to tape the film positive to clear carrier sheets. With the CTS system, multiple color separations are imaged onto separate screens in relationship to each other within .001 tolerances, saving valuable set-up time when registering the screens on the press.  

No Film Needed: You’ll never need to purchase clear film again, a cost savings that will help pay for the CTS system over time. At about $1 per sheet for film, the savings quickly add up. Eliminating the use of polyester film also makes the print shop “greener” because no one has to discard thousands of polyester film sheets.

Digital Art File Storage: CTS systems eliminate the need to store hundreds (or thousands) of film positives for customers. Simply store the art files on the computer and easily retrieve them when the customer reorders. Also, there’s no more cleaning films and repairing bent, scratched or damaged films that cause pinholes and exposure issues.

Labor Savings: Lastly, one of the biggest benefits to using a CTS system is the labor dollars saved from not paying someone to output and handle the films, remove tape and file them after the job has been printed.

The main types of ink used with today’s CTS ink systems include wax, water-based inkjet toner and specially formulated
ultraviolet (UV) block inks.