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SEP-7998 • Spot Process Ink Colors and Mesh Counts


What are the Ink Colors and Mesh Counts for Spot Process (SPVR) and Spot Process Separation Studio

All details are in the software manuals that are deliveredon the CD or in the software folder in your Hard Drive's Program or Applications Folder. For your convenience here is the information regarding the Ink Colors to use on press and the Mesh Counts.

Screen-Printing Ink:

A great aspect to printing separations created using Separation Studio is using HIGH-QUALITY inks on press. From their ease of use to the brightness they deliver, high-quality inks create sharper, cleaner and more vibrant results than cmyk translucent inks. The end result will also deliver a soft hand feel and not a bullet proof feel associated with other forms of printing or through other solutions.

The stock colors associated with this software are PMS matches of the RGB light spectrum colors. You will appreciate having a standard and relatively small set of inks for printing ALL of your Separation Studio files. These colors are spectral and will also be great choices for all your printing needs.  You can select the matches from the charts provided by the industry plastisol manufacturers such as Wilflex, Rutland, IC, Union, Lancer and others. You can also use your ink mixing systems.

White Base (White) (a flash quality white)
Black (opaque or "process black")

Red: PMS 032

Blue: PMS 300

Gold: PMS 123 (or 122 if a bright, more yellow gold is needed)

Purple: Pantone Purple

Green: PMS 354

Turquoise: PMS 312

Cool Gray: PMS Cool Gray 8

White (Top White): NOT a thick white

* Whenever possible you want to use a balanced ink system  same type and manufacturer) except in the case of BLACK ink when printing an image with subtle shadow details such as fleshtones where you don’t want your black to be too powerful. In this case, for example, the use of process black could be helpful.

Pre-Press / Press

Use tight, properly stretched screens. This is one of the most important aspects to the screen-printing process. Tight screens produce brighter prints with less ink. Ink will sit on top of the garment rather than being forced into the fibers producing a duller image. Tight screens use less squeegee pressure 
to sheer ink producing a cleaner print! Tight screens also produce a softer “hand” by using less ink. Screens should be 25 newtons and higher to prevent screen roll. Less screen roll produces more 
consistent registration. Use tight screens!!


For best results use the SAME MESH COUNT on ALL SCREENS. That’s right, the same mesh count. Many screen-printers believe they should use a lower mesh count on the base screen. Why? They believe the white ink needs a lower mesh count because it is so thick. Today’s base white inks are no thicker or thinner than any of the other inks used and since detail on the base screen is very important to the overall result of the print, reducing the mesh count will also reduce detail captured during screen 
exposure. Think about it.

All your films are produced with the same halftone size and angle so changing the mesh count on a single screen will certainly reduce that screens detail as compared to the other screens. Also, your separations have been produced mathematically, the mathematics of how one color interacts with another is exactly what producing secondary and tertiary color is all about. Change the math and you change the result. The base screen sets up all others, so quality is important.


Mesh Counts:

AUTOMATIC Printing Presses:
Suggested Mesh Counts for Automatic Machines (United States)
230 mesh - or - 355 mesh

Suggested Mesh Counts for Automatic Machines (European Metric)
90T mesh - or - 140T mesh

MANUAL Printing Presses:
Manual printers will want to drop the above suggested mesh counts slightly. Too much and the print will loose much of its detail and secondary colors. Due to the amount of variables with this method of printing each shop will have to go on its experience and testing.

Start with 280 mesh (United States)
Start with 110T mesh (European Metric)


Halftone Line Screens:

Separation Studio files can reproduce at any line screen (halftone frequency, lpi, dpi). Choose a line screen frequency based on your comfort level with exposing and printing halftones and your  desired outcome (visual look of a dot pattern/halftone as it is seen from 4 or more feet away). Screen-printers most often choose line screens between 45 and 55 lpi. Remember that your mesh count needs to be 
approximately 5 times (5X) your frequency for a quality end result. Therefore a line screen of 45 dpi (or lpi) should be exposed to a 230 mesh (45 x 5 = 225). If you have only 230 mesh available then you know that the line screen you choose should be approximately 1/5th the mesh (230 divided by 5 = 46). Simple math. Choosing too low or too high of a line screen for a particular mesh will deliver unwanted results on press.

Any document, pdf or link mentioned in this article can be located in the Resources.

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