Impro Graphics offers screen printing services for every one of your graphic needs. We take considerable pride in our ability to deliver consistently high-quality products by providing personalized service and complete honesty in predicted turnaround times. For example, Impro provided screen making services with custom pre burned screens to over 3,000 customers last year.
Modern cylinder-based screen presses print by both the screen and the substrate being in motion while applying the impression. The substrate moves away from the mesh as the cylinder rotates. The configuration of the press, the movement of its component parts and the substrate means that the speed of the ink leaving the mesh can be increased, resulting in print speeds up to 3000 sheets per hour. This compares to less than 500 sheets per hour on a flatbed press.
Semi-automatic flatbed presses automate the lowering of the screen and the motion of the squeegee, leaving the operator responsible only for the insertion, registration, and removal of the substrate. The automatic movement of the printing screen and squeegee may be set to make an impression at a fixed rate, or only after the operator hits a foot pedal.
Impro graphics offers digital printing services for every one of your graphic needs. Digital printing refers to methods of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media.
Roll-to-roll digital printers are ideal for commercial printers, in-plants, sign shops and franchises that want to capture higher volumes of indoor and outdoor signage applications. These would include posters, retail graphics, banners and transit signs.
Flatbed digital printers are printers characterized by a flat surface upon which a material is placed to be printed on. Flatbed printers can print on a wide variety of materials such as cloth, plastic, PVC, acrylic, glass, ceramic, metal, and wood.
Impro graphics offers finishing services for every one of your graphic needs. Finishing refers to value-added operations that are performed after the ink has been applied to the substrate.
Laminating is designed to be used in a variety of applications. A quality laminate protects the ink or toner from environmental conditions such as water and dirt. Some products offer additional UV protection to increase print durability and lifespan. Laminates can also be used to change the appearance or finish of the graphic. For instance, laminates might change a print from a matte to a gloss finish or might add texture.
Plotter Cutting or contour cutting is the process of first printing an image, then going back and cutting around the printed area. The cutter uses a small knife to precisely cut the outline into a sheet of vinyl, but not the release liner. The knife moves side to side and turns, while the vinyl is moved beneath the knife. The material is then ‘weeded’ where the excess material is removed from the release liner.
Flatbed Cutting Tables use a large, flat work surface and an X-Y cutting head to cut, crease, emboss, waste stripping, and blank separation of materials such as paper, vinyl, cardboard, textiles, glass, and other materials. The cutting table is used for sample making, signage, packaging or displays production. It’s perfect for short run production, has a very short set-up time and you don’t need to wait for a die.
Clamshell Die Cutters use steel rule dies and are a common process used to cut a range of sheet materials including paper, cardboard, rubber and plastic. In the print industry, die cutting is a process performed by this specialized machine to produce unique cutout shapes. Think of a die cutter as a cookie cutter. The shape of the die is the exact shape that gets cut into the substrate. Creative designs are turned into eye-catching cutout boxes, stickers, and many other items that highlight your product and promote your brand.
Guillotine Cutters and Back Slitters are automatic or manual devices used to cut and trim paper and other substrates. Guillotine cutters essentially are comprised of the following: a flat bed made of metal on which the material to be cut is placed, a long knife which is either mechanically or electronically brought down through the material to be cut, a metal bar or plate that is lowered onto the stack of material to be cut, holding it firmly in place while the knife cuts it, and guides which hold the stack of sheets squarely in place.
Gas conveyor dryers are heated using convection, a method of heat transfer using the manipulation of air molecules. In gas dryers, ink is cured by the heating of the air within the oven. UV graphic conveyor dryers are air-cooled unit for precise and repeatable curing of UV ink on a variety of screen printed substrates. The UV inks stay in a liquid form until they meet an ultraviolet light. Upon contact with a UV light, it will cure immediately.
Impro Graphics offers screen making services for all screen printers without this ability. It is one of our specialties. We made over 3,000 screens for outside users last year.
Film Positives are basically opaque sheets, similar to transparency sheets, that the art images are printed onto using a laser printer. The design needs to be as dark as possible, so that it blocks UV light from the exposure unit to the areas behind the design.
Stretching Mesh comes in different frame sizes. Common sizes are 18″x 20″, 20″x 24″, and 24″x 31″. The mesh is the fabric stretched over the screen’s frame, and is a weave that has tiny holes in it, which allows the emulsion to harden and adhere to it, and also allows ink to pass through the mesh that is open.
Mesh Count is the amount of holes in one linear inch of the screen. Screen meshes range from 86 to 320+. The lower the number, the larger the holes, which matters and determines how much detail the stencil can have, as well as the amount of ink that can flow through the design
De-greasing removes any oils, dust, dirt or other chemicals used in the reclaiming process from the mesh. All of these particles can cause issues in the adhesion of the emulsion and pinholes may develop. To de-grease your screen, it is placed in the washout booth and is sprayed with a small amount of de-greaser onto the mesh. It is scrubbed from top to bottom on both sides of the screen. We then begin rinsing at the top of the screen and work our way down.
Emulsion Coating is done by coating the screen with photo emulsion using a squeegee. A little of the emulsion mixture is poured on the screen, and spread evenly with the squeegee to coat the whole screen in a thin, even layer of photo emulsion. This is done for both sides.
Dark Room is used to dry the coated screen. The screen is put in a pitch black room for a couple of hours, letting the emulsion dry completely. All moisture needs to be removed from the emulsion. A Drying Cabinet is a enclosed unit that actually adds heat to help quicken the drying time.
Pre-registering your screens is a process in which we line up and burn each film in the same location on each screen. We use a preregistration template and light table. Each film includes registration marks at the top and bottom, or all four corners.
Image Burning is done by UV light, not visible light. The light from the exposure unit hardens the emulsion wherever it hits. Screens are burned or “shot” for a certain amount of time depending on the screen and the exposure unit, which hardens the exposed emulsion. The higher the mesh count of the screen, then the higher amount of detail that can be burnt into it.
Washing Out is done after burning the screen. The printer will take the screen and wash it thoroughly, usually with a spray hose, which removes the emulsion that was behind the design only. Extremely fine thin lines may not wash out of the screen well. After properly washing out the screen, the printer is left with a stencil in the screen ready for printing.
Reclaiming your screen printing frames and mesh is to remove any excess ink from your screens. The second step is is to remove emulsion. In order to remove the emulsion and any remaining ink used on your frame, we use a dip tank filled with emulsion remover. After your screen has soaked in the dip tank we place it in the washout booth. Here we begin spraying away the ink/emulsion from your frame. It should spray away relatively easy after soaking in a dip tank.
Impro Graphics offers Pre-press services for all the activities that occur after a we receive an order and the corresponding graphics file from a client or graphic designer, but before any actual printing takes place.
Electronic proofing (or soft proofs) are a PDF of your print project. It does not require special equipment to view it or to share. It’s simply a simulation of your intended print piece on a monitor. While it’s convenient for sharing and reviewing, a soft proof can often be insufficient for ensuring color consistency.
Hard Proofs, unlike electronic (soft proofs), are digitally printed proofs which are actually printed on a digital printer, screen printer, or other output devices. This proof acts as a sample of your final print project without any major finishing effects. You are able to see a physical print version of your project on the substrate it will be printed on. This allows a check for color consistency, and how well your design aligns with die lines, templates and other technical elements.
Color Matching is the process where color swatches or samples are used to compare and match colors so that the product is precisely the right quality that the customer wants and needs. Here at Impro, we typically use the Pantone Color Matching System – a booklet of thousands of color chips that we use to standardize each customer’s color picks and match them with their unique ink mixing formulas. When needed, we will provide actual printed color draw downs of your specially mixed color matched ink on the material it will print on.
Material Sampling is necessary when determining if the material you picked for your project matches your needs and whether it will receive the printing inks for adhesion and durability. Hearing about certain materials is one thing, seeing and touching them another. We try to supply pre-production samples (even printed) of the material that you have chosen for your project. We want to make sure you have the best substrate needed to produce your parts. Choose from hundreds of commercial-grade vinyls, plastics, metals, woods and other materials suitable for both prototyping and production.
Image Layout in printing refer to the way artwork files and/or printing screens are designed, so that the printing press can apply more than one image to the substrate at the same time. Terms like Two-Up, Three-Up, Four-Up, and Multiple-Up pertain to this practice. The term “Up” is used to designate impressions of the same image or combining different images made at the same time. The more images we can get on a sheet of your chosen substrate, the better the cost effectiveness is for you.
Artwork Quality Control is when we revise customer art to meet our production standards. This includes margins, crop marks, trapping of colors, adding bleed, smoothing fonts and image edges and applying needed color corrections. We also proof the client’s updated changes. We also check that the images have the needed format, resolution and fonts.
Die Lines used for router cutting, plotter cutting, or die cutting and we can create them from your artwork or we can modify your own die line to make sure of the perfect fit of your part.
Production Parameters such as screen mesh specs, image resolution, and ink formulation are all determined during the pre-press process and before any production is started. They are always sent to our customers for approval. These influence and define the methods and equipment used to produce any specific job.
Bear in mind that pre-press is not intended to find and correct mistakes in grammar or spelling. We recommend that all general editing and proofreading be performed by the client prior to submitting their art.
Impro Graphics offers product management as an internal structure that supports and manages all the activities related to developing, producing, and fulfilling a customer’s product. This encompasses everything related to that specific product, from concept through delivery. This includes quality control at all stages.
Idea management is our way of collecting ideas to solve new and existing problems with a product. We then develop them into product specs and send them into development. All input is incorporated into a manifest of what is needed for the final product.
Product specification is Impro Graphics production bible. These requirements give our team the information to create the product’s features and functionality.
Production order is the internal document that communicates the steps to produce the final product. Production orders help us know where your product stands today. They also provide a timeline and expected completion date.
Production scheduling is where Impro Graphics plans the detail of your product’s production. It identifies what products should be produced when, and in what order.
Quality Control (QC) is our set of procedures to ensure that your product or printing service adheres to our quality criteria. Our QC process is ongoing. If required, we take corrective measures to produce intended results. We can also detect new instances of any deviation from set parameters.
Delivery is another phase of our product management. In it, the product manager works closely with departments heads to ensure that the product is completed on time. The manager also verifies that it meets both our quality standards and client specifications.
Impro Graphics offers kit packing and distribution solutions. For instance, some clients need to keep their project under one roof. Others want to maintain an expedited shipping schedule. Thus, we can assure our customers that we have covered all details, and product will ship on time.
In-house assembly is our ability to produce or source multiple components for our clients and assemble them in-house. We have a full assembly department to assemble products here, at their point of manufacture. Within our plant, we pride ourselves with the ability that allows us to create and put together multi-component final products.
Kit packing is where we group related items together and package them as one unit. For example, a customer ask us to make several printed loose components. They also might request attachment hardware (bagged), hanging kit, instruction sheet, inner-pack and/or shipper. Finally they want it to be unitized, without any assembly required.
Custom carton design lets us service our customer’s packaging carton needs through one stop shopping. We maintain close two-way relationships with local and national corrugated carton manufacturers
Custom labeling is done completely in house through our normal production capabilities. We design, proof and produce any type of product identifying or shipping label our customer needs.
Hardware procurement lets us again service our customer’s hardware and accessory needs through one stop shopping. This means working closely with dependable suppliers in order to get the necessary parts to complete your project. Impro will get what you need, in terms of quality, quantity, and lead time, at the best possible price.
Inventory storage for your completed finished goods is an option, depending on our floor space and time frame.
Distribution methods via UPS, FedEX, or LTL.
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