You may have noticed numbers on the containers of Sgreen® chemicals. You may have even wondered to yourself, “What do these numbers mean?” The numbers have a purpose: they serve as a guide to the order you should use them when reclaiming screens. In this blog, we’ll look at each step and chemical, why you should use them at that time, and offer other best practices for reclaiming.
STEP #1: SUPREME WASH, AQUA WASH, OR INK DEGRADER
The first step in reclaiming is to remove all excess ink off the screens. Supreme Wash, Aqua Wash, and Ink Degrader can all be used to remove ink off a screen. Which do you use? For water-based ink, use Aqua Wash. For plastisol ink, you have two options — Supreme Wash or Ink Degrader. Supreme Wash is meant to be used as an on-press cleaner (like if you need to do a color change). If you’re moving straight to reclaim, use the Ink Degrader.
Whichever chemical you choose to use, spray it onto the screen and wipe it with a rag. The longer you leave screens inked up, the harder cleaning them out will be. Once the screens are clear of ink, tape, or other residues, it’s time to get to reclaiming.
STEP #2: EMULSION STRIPPER
Now that the screen is ink-free, it’s time to move on to the second step, removing emulsion. Spray Emulsion Stripper onto the screen and scrub both sides of the screen with a dedicated scrub brush (all scrub brushes for the reclaim process should be separate so you’re not mixing chemicals).
Wait about 30 seconds for the Emulsion Stripper to do its job, then pressure wash. The emulsion should come out pretty easily. Repeat the process if there’s still emulsion on the screen. The overexposed emulsion will require more work to wash out.
STEP #3: HAZE REMOVER OR SGREEN® STUFF
The third step can be optional. Sometimes, you may find a ghost image on the screen after stripping the emulsion. Ghost images are either an image stain or emulsion haze. An image stain occurs when leftover pigment from the ink stains the mesh itself. Emulsion haze happens when underexposed emulsion doesn’t react to the emulsion remover. Don’t worry if you notice a ghost image, most printers experience both types of these issues at some point.
Whichever problem you’re facing, solve it with Sgreen Stuff or Haze Remover. As the name implies, Haze Remover is a spray that removes emulsion haze or ghost images. Sgreen Stuff is a gel that acts as a haze remover and degreaser (more on degreasing next). Both get the job done, so it’s up to you which one you’d prefer to use.
To use, apply a generous amount of product to the area affected and scrub with a dedicated scrub brush. Let the chemical sit for about three minutes, then pressure wash from the bottom of the screen to the top. This way, debris is blasted right off the screen instead of being pushed down the screen.
Use a hose to rinse the screen. The water should cascade down the screen in a sheet. Now, it’s time to degrease the screen and dry it.
STEP #4: DEGREASER
The last, but not least step in the process is degreasing. The purpose of degreasing screens is to remove any debris like dust, oils, fingerprints, etc. to help prevent pinholes or fisheyes. As mentioned earlier, Sgreen Stuff is both a dehazer and degreaser.
If you skipped step three, use Sgreen Degreaser to get the job done. Spray a generous amount onto the screen, scrub, and let sit for three minutes. Flood rinse with a hose and make sure the water cascades down the screen in a sheet. If the water doesn’t cascade down the screen, repeat this process.
That’s all there is to it. Follow the steps on the bottles and you’ll have clean screens ready for the next job in no time.