Silkscreen Printing

For over 300 units

MJK Disc Productions prints high quality artwork for CD- and DVD productions of over 300 units using the silk screen process.

Silk Screen printing

You may be familiar with other applications for screen printing (also referred to as silk-screen), such as balloons, pens and textiles.

If we were to send a CD down an offset web press, the rollers would soon turn our fragile CD into a nice collection of plastic bits. A nicer, gentler approach is needed. Enter the silk-screen machine. The CD slides effortlessly along a conveyer system and stops under a yellow sheet of synthetic material (fabric mesh) for each color needed. A squeegee then drags ink across the disc’s surface.

In the past real silk was used as the mesh but advances in synthetic materials have increased reliability and reduced cost. The old name stuck around and we still call it silk-screening.

The positive films are laid directly on top of the mesh. Ultraviolet light is shone onto the assembly. Where there is an image on the positive film, no light gets through to the emulsion on the screening assembly beneath, leaving it unexposed. Where the film is clear, the light passes through and hits the emulsion, causing it to harden. When the development process is complete, the unexposed, soft areas of emulsion are washed away, leaving only the porous fabric mesh.

Idiosyncrasies of screen printing

The idiosyncrasies of screen printing and the surface of the CD that can affect your designs include:

  • The standard line screen for images on disc is 100lpi resulting in a possible loss of image detail (compared with 150 lpi booklets).
  • It is almost impossible to match the colors on your booklet with the CD silk-screen. Use complimentary colors and designs.
  • Spot color rather than CMYK printing will give you crisper results. Registering a CMYK CD label is more challenging because it is round.
  • The thick applications of ink required for screen printing can make fine lines and detail disappear (including very small type and serifs under 6 points).
  • Because the disc surface is metallic silver, not paper white, you may need to add an additional white flood under the color to allow more accurate tone and detail.
  • Designs with gradual fades from one color to another may reproduce poorly due to dot gain and tonal jump that make colors darker and produce pronounced dots in the image. Anything below 15% of a color tone usually disappears and anything 85% or greater just closes up and becomes 100% tone.
  • Because the disc’s innards switch from aluminum, to a mirror band, to clear plastic, ink color appears differently on the clear inner hub, the mirror band, and the main silver surface of the disc. To eliminate this problem, a white flood is added which equalizes the surface beneath the silk screened inks.

Top quality services

MJK Disc wants to help you in understanding and managing the reproduction, printing and packaging of your CD or DVD releases. We are dedicated to providing you state of the art solutions and top quality services.

Comments are closed.