Screenprinting - The Future

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More than 300 visitors from all over the world have visited 'Screenprinting The Future'.

The event has been attracting rave reviews from guests who have been gathering information, and advice from industry experts, watching state-of-the-art printing and drying demonstrations and networking with screenprinting colleagues.

Event organisers, Natgraph and Sakurai have hosted visitors from Africa, India, Japan, Russia, Western Europe, and all over the UK at Natgraph's Nottingham HQ, and the feedback could not have been better...

Artem Nadirashvili from MIDI Print (Russia):

"There was a lot of interesting and useful information and we had a chance to meet a lot of interesting people"

Amit Shah from Spectrum Scan Pvt (Mumbai):

"Great event, great effort, great speakers"

Government Communications Bureau (UK):

"The event was impressive and informative, the factory especially. It was great to see the success of the Screenprinting industry"

Istvan Horvath from AGC Glass Europe (Hungary):

"The event has been fantastic, all the 3 days and the highlight has to be the specification of the dryers"

Karsten Soerensen from Marabu (UK:)

"As exhibitors we have been extremely impressed by the attendance and the number of decision-makers who want to talk to us - a fantastic advert for screenprinting"

Jacek Stencel from Pasja (Poland):

"Very professional, fantastic information to help me plan for the future and forecast much more accurately"

MacDermid Autotype (UK):

"We would like to thank you and your team for a rewarding event"

Natgraph and Sakurai: 'Screenprinting - The Future' by Chris Smith, Head of Membership Services, FESPA

I spent a very interesting couple of days at Natgraph in Nottingham in October where the company, together with Sakurai had organised a three day event entitled ‘Screenprinting - The Future'. With a clutch of leading suppliers to the industry, Marabu, MacDermid Autotype, Kiwo, Sefar, Grunig, CST and ScreenX! participating in the event as well. Those of us fortunate enough to be part of this event were about to explore new initiatives in screen-printing and to assess where screen was today and where it was going. Primarily, the objective was to explain how printers can make the process more efficient and more viable (therefore more profitable) by using latest technologies from top manufacturers. Natgraph had managed to convert part of the factory into a fully equipped lecture theatre which was ideal for the event; but Alan Shaw told me that, to add to the confusion on the previous day (Monday) two lines left the Natgraph factory for the US, one for the SGIA show and one for a customer. This involved loading three 40' containers and three airfreight boxes. How they managed I do not know.

I was amazed to discover that people from all over the world had to come to Nottingham for this event which was testament to the fact that printers and users of the screen-printing process do want to learn about the latest developments in screen and see where the future lies. Two visitors (one from India and one from South Africa) had come specifically to attend this event, together with delagates from Germany, Poland, France, Russia and Hungary plus a large group from Scandinavia. In total more than 250 people were involved at some stage or other over the three days and the view of all those that I spoke to were very, very postive. There was an infectious buzz about the whole event, which gathered momentum as each day (and night) unfolded.
Brilliant and Informative Presentations

Chaired by Peter Kiddell, Director of Prism (the UK FESPA Association), we were not only treated to some brilliant and informative presentations, but also attended printing, drying and finishing demonstrations as well as undertaking a tour of the factory. I was last here in 1999 and it soon became clear that significant major changes had been made since my last visit. The factory is now much bigger (by the addition of two adjoining units) and now totals 4,000 sq. m.

So let us start with Natgraph, the world's leading dryer maufacturer who, in partnership with Sakurai, is installing fully automatic screen lines each month in countries all over the world. Alan Shaw, Commercial Director, welcomed us all and hoped we would all gain worthwhile knowledge and information as well as enjoying our time at the event.

Alan said that, in 31 years, Natgraph have installed more than 13,000 pieces of equipment, in 91 plus countries, all of them manufactured in the company's modern factory in Nottingham, UK. I am sad to say that manufacturing in the UK has diminished to such an extent that there is very little left, but at Natgraph it manufacturs 95% of its whole range of products at its factory, so this truly is a British manufacturing company. Alan introduced a short video ( which tells part of the Natgraph story, so please do look at this so you can see just how fine their products are.

Short-Run Productivity

During his introduction, Alan mentioned a recent visit to Italy where he had been so impressed observing a female Sakurai cylinder press operator printing runs of just 25 off (for membrane switch and flexible circuits) with four plus colours and her change-over of ink and screens took just ten minutes for each. She was able to change complete jobs, including substrate size and ink types in just 25 minutes. Her work rate and make ready time, as well as print quality was incredible, so short runs are possible even on a cylinder press and can therefore be very profitablle.

Alan then introduced Shoichi Komi from Sakurai, Director of International Trade, who told the story of Sakurai's growth since 1946 and its involvement in manufacturing screen presses since 1968. Komi also described how cylinder screen-printing had distinct advantages over more traditional flatbeds due to less interference to the mesh, and showed some impressive statistics as to how this was achieved. We would later see two of the machines in action.

I firmly believe that those fortunate enough to be attending this event derived considerable benefit from the technical presentations made by the companies involved. As one would expect, the representatives from the manufacturers were so knowledgeable and spoke with much passion about their products that there is no way I can begin to show in this short report the detailed information, facts and figures they so ably demonstrated during their presentations. But I don't need to as Natgraph have made all of the presentations available on their website.

It was a great event to remind everyone of the capability of the screen process and update us with the most recent technologies which could save printers money as well as assisting them in meeting their environmental obligations - in effect making them more efficient and productive. I am not a screen-printer so much of the technical information went way above my head, but the general buzz from the printers around the table-top stands during breaks and demonstrations was highly charged and quite infectious. I truly believed that all those attending learnt a lot, as well as having a great opportunity to network with international colleagues which was so worthwhile and vauable.

Everyone I spoke to made many valuable new contacts during their first time at the event and this in itself had been extremely worthwhile. But when one added to it the tremendous information supplied by the co-exhibitors in the event, it really was an informative and rewarding gathering.

Full factory Tour

In addition to the speaker programme we were treated to industrial screen-printing demonstrations, print finishing demonstrations and a factory tour where all visitors were able to see Natgraph's complete manufacturing processes. Something fairly new in the factory was a large, automatic laser cutter which cuts up to 12mm thick steel for the fabrication of Natgraph's dryers. With the recent acquisition of this laser, Natgraph have increased their efficiency dramatically.

Natgraph and Sakurai have to be highly commended for the initiative in organising this brilliant event. A lot of time, effort, energy and money went into this and delegates were as surprised as me to find that as well as lunch on all three days, the hospitality extended to fabulous evening meals for those staying overnight.

One final word of thanks goes to the whole Natgraph team who were subjected to this strange invasion by so many international visitors yet continued to work on regardless. The whole operation was overseen by Michelle Kennedy, Sales and Marketing Manager at Natgraph and she did a really remarkable job as everything seemed to go smoothly. Thanks from everyone Michelle for all your hard work.

It was great to be a part of this event and if anyone requires further information about any of the suppliers, you will find them all on the web or shortly you will be able to access the presentations and a video of the event iself via the Natgraph website.
To me, this coming together of so many people from all over the world, all of whom were hungry for extra knowledge or understanding of screen-printing, proved that Natgraph and Sakurai got it right with ‘Screenprinting - The Future'.

Well Done!

Screenprinting - The Future Event Presentations

(downloadable PDFs)

Day 1

Sakurai 'Future Screenprinting Applications' by Shoichi Komi

MacDermid Autotype 'Developments in Substrates for MTS & FIM Applications' by Mark Peapell

Sefer 'PCF and High Performance Mesh' by Peter Stabernack

Natgraph 'LED or Electronic UV, Which is the Future of UV Curing for Screen?' by Alan Shaw

Marabu 'UV Inks for Membrane Switches' by Claudia Bauer

Day 2

Sakurai 'Future Screenprinting Applications' by Shoichi Komi

Grunig 'Automation in Screen Production' by Urs Hostettler

Kiwo 'Future Stencil Technology from Micro fine to Ultra course' by Michael Gross

Screen X 'A Move to Digital Screenprinting' by Markus Lausecker

CST GmbH 'Computer to Screen, Stencil Processing of the Future' by Michael Mogge

Day 3

Sakurai 'Future Screenprinting Applications' by Shoichi Komi

Marabu 'Special Effects Inks for Value Added Printing' by Claudia Bauer

Natgraph 'LED or Electronic UV, Which is the Future of UV Curing for Screen?' by Alan Shaw

MacDermid Autotype 'Developments in Screen Cleaning Chemistry' by Simon Jones


pdf Screenprinting - The Future

Screenprinting - The Future, a three day event held at Natgraphs Nottingham HQ on October 4th-6th 2011 in partnership with Sakurai, showcasing the latest developments in screenprinting.