The Screen Print Man

A Happy Diwali to all print professionals and PrintWeek India readers!

22 Oct 2014 | By Shripad Bhat

Printers involved in commercial and packaging printing in general, and screen printing in particular, have every reason to celebrate Diwali more than anybody else.

Say Diwali and one is reminded of gifts, crackers, sweets, and greetings. A lot of wishes poured in on Whatsapp but none via post or courier.

Diwali greetings
Screen printing and even offset and digital printing lost a substantial business of the Diwali greetings card printing. I still (or you, too) remember before the advent of sms, email, internet (and now whatsap etc), millions of printed diwali greetings used to get flooded at Mumbai’s GPO alone and there used to separate counters to receive bulk greeting.

As an individual I used to send atleast 25-50 greetings and in my previous company, each manager would send at least 100-500 greetings to customers and vendors; thus from one single company as many as a few thousands greeting cards were sent.

While you read this blog, you must have received several digital diwali greetings on your phone or desktops.

Sweet boxes
Surat-based Gautam Paper Udhyog said they produced about 50,000 sweet boxes per month, with value addition through screen printing; Chennai-based Efex Colour, a specialist in wedding card printing have produced and supplied screen printed sweet box to over 10 customers, quantity ranging from 100 to 1000 boxes. So did Delhi-based Parampara Cards.

During the DMI workshop, Grafica’s MD Bhargav Mistry had demonstrated the screen print enhancements that one could execute on a sweet box. Have a close look at premium sweet boxes when  you walk into any sweet show during Diwali. 

Diwali gifts
This includes everything… the fancy wall clock produced by Rajkot-based Woodcraft with glow-in-dark effect, or fancy clocks from Morbi that many printers might have given away as gift to their corporate clients, the watches, the crockery or glass sets, the cloth and saree boxes ….. the leather articles and some of the designer shoes; all with an impression of screen printing.

Although digital technology has entered textile printing, the garments are still majorly printed using screen printing technology. The pair of cloth that you have bought has hang tags with value addition done on screen printing machine, the saree box or garment box has special effects (UV) done on screen printing machine; each and every piece of garment has tagless label or woven label showing washcare / safety instruction and shouts the brand name at you; all this, again, screen printed.

While the Tirupur, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Delhi regions house most of the DTG screen printers, the same cities also house heat transfer label printers, garment tag and box making companies. For instance, Décor Pac in Gurgaon, who produces garment tags and boxes with value addition for branded apparel companies. Then there is Gautam Paper Udhyog in Surat and the Mumbai-based Pooja Graphics,plus the Kolkata-based Bright Printers and  Bonika Graphics, who make high-end garment tags printed on paper and non paper substrates

Crockery sets
This is one of the most sought after gift items being given away during Diwali. But the crockery or ceramic decoration is made possible thanks to screen printing technology. The ceramic manufactures use screen printing to produce ceramic decals which are then transferred onto the crockery before passing it through the 1000 degree woven.

The Sivakasi printers can tell you how much the cracker industry owes to the printing industry as a whole. The match boxes have a screen printed spark strip on either side which are high raised chemical application. During my conversation with Mr R Chockalingam, chairman, Srinivas Fine Arts, he revealed that there are over 100 fully auto secondhand imported screen printing machines deployed by the match box industry as they find it difficult to print the striker strips by manual screen printing.

I remember there used to be a cracker series match box containing match sticks which would bring colourful flame when lit.

Shopping bags
There are many screen printers in my knowledge who are engaged in jute bag printing in Kolkata like S K Enterprises, Mayur Graphics in Nashik who make sweet boxes and value added paper bags, R V R Bags in Erode; Kamachi Cloth Bags in Kancheepuram, Aarti Printers in Chennai; Krishna Bags in Rajkot; and Planet-Bags in Vapi, among others, who have huge orders for shopping bags during Diwali.

Although non woven bags can also be printed on automatic flexo bag printing machine, there is huge demand for screen printed non woven bags for  various reasons which I shall discuss in my future blogs. 

Rangoli stickers
Why use Rangoli stickers when one can draw it by hand? Stop. Madurai-based Maruthi Screen applies ‘automation’ in screen  printing to produce quality Rangoli stickers. On the Mumbai streets i found many a vendors selling such stickers. Maruthi Screen specialises in Rangoli stickers, floor stickers, hologram stickers. Their special occasion Rangoli stickers mainly supplied to markets in Madurai, Chennai, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

“These readymade sticker designs come as handy,” explains T R Kamalesh Babu of Madurai-based Maruthi Screen. 

It is possible that the premium quality agarbatti (incense sticks) that you bought for Diwali has the touch of screen printing with value addition. If you still have doubt, have a look at it once again. Bengaluru-based Amba Prints produces over 800,000 agarbati packaging per month, purely screen printed; similarly there is Sarvesh Printers in Bengaluru and Naren Packers in Puducherry. 

Do revel in printing while you celebrate Diwali this year!