Monofilament fabrics are largely a development since WW II, when synthetic fibers made from nylon, and later polyester, became available in the market. Prior to the 1940´s there were attempts to supply rayon and other organic fibers as highly twisted multi-filaments, but success was limited in creating truly precision woven fabrics, as we know them today. These early fabrics were targeted principally for filtration and screen printing (silk screening). Once synthetic monofilament yarns were perfected, rapid conversion followed, including the replacement of wire cloth in a number of applications.
Monofilament fabrics have important attributes. They can be woven very precisely with narrow pore size distributions. As a result, they are commonly rated and referred to as surface retentive absolute rated filter media. In plain weave constructions, monofilament fabrics have straight through pores (holes), thus providing minimal flow restriction and surface loading of particulate. Twills and Dutch weaves provide excellent cake release surfaces are needed. Although these weaves provide only a modest torturous path, their use does not significantly restrict flow.
Polyester was introduced to the screen printing market over 40 years ago and quickly replaced traditional silk as the fabric of choice among screen printers all over the world. It is a material that is uniquely suitable for screen printing because of its tensile strength, elastic memory and resistance to chemicals, abrasion heat and moisture.
Most of today's screen printers use monofilament polyester. It is woven from yarn that is extruded from heated polyester into a single strand. The extruded thread is the spun to a precise diameter. Conventional monofilament polyester screen fabric will elongate under tension: the higher the tension level, the more the thread can stretch. At excessive tension levels, the thread reaches its "plastic deformation" point, and the screen will no longer hold tension.
Screen printing has been used for centuries and although there have been many improvements with the technology, the process still consists of forcing ink through a stencil covered fabric or wire mesh which has been mounted in a sturdy frame. The ink goes through only the open areas of the stencil and is deposited onto a printing surface positioned below the frame. Screen printing is very versatile and it is often the only printing process capable of handling certain applications.
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