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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just like the title says....we are looking to upgrade to a better/ more efficent exposure unit and I was looking for opinions/suggestions....

Here are some pictures of what we are currently using and our current burn time are about 4-6mins depending on how good the unit is working that day....







Thanks in advance.

Nick
 

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I have the same unit, bought a new bulb last year and I expose screens somewhere in between 1.5-2 minutes. The unit might not be bad, you might need new bulb or different emulsion. I'm using Imagemate PC 701 SBQ emulsion and do not have any issues with exposing, washing out or when printing.
There are better units, of course, but there should be nothing wrong with this one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have the same unit, bought a new bulb last year and I expose screens somewhere in between 1.5-2 minutes. The unit might not be bad, you might need new bulb or different emulsion. I'm using Imagemate PC 701 SBQ emulsion and do not have any issues with exposing, washing out or when printing.
There are better units, of course, but there should be nothing wrong with this one.
We just replaced the bulb because we thought it was bad and we have been able to cut the burn times down some but that is the 3rd bulb we have replaced in the past 8 months. Also the "timer" on this unit SUCKS! Sometimes it will use the preset numbers and work properly and others it converts to seconds and then there are times when it's on Nano Seconds.....and it does this when it is on so we have to constantly watch it. I agree the unit works i just think it needs a lot of TLC/maintance and it might just be more cost effetive to upgrade, besides there are times where buring multipul screens at once would be nice.

oh and our emulison is Mac Dermid 8000....

Nick
 

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The real question is, what is it that you don't like about what you have? Are you not able to properly expose the type of stencil you want to print with, or not getting the quality of stencil you need?

The MSP 3140 is sweet, but you need to be OK with spending a pretty good chunk of change if you're looking at these new.

If you're looking in that budget range, another option might be getting an upgraded light source and still using the vacuum frame you have (assuming that part of it works for you, that is) --you can get an integrator, 5K Olec power supply, and lamphead new for about a grand more than the 3140, and have 5K instead of 1.2K of metal halide power...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The unit doesn't just seem efficent enough for our process. Spending 4-6 mins per screen when your buring 10-30 screens a day gets a little time consuming.

The boss/owner is full aware that a new exposure unit is going to run somewhere in the $3500 price range. I just want to get some opinions on what is good and what is bad out there. My personal screen printing experance is only based on the year that i have worked for this company and I have stream lined a lot of thier process but the exposure unit and registration seem to be our big hold ups as far as production goes.

I guess my biggest gripe about this unit is consistency......it has none...some screen are over exposed, some under......it all depends on how it feels and how it wants to work....

Nick
 

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I've only used ONE metal halide unit, and it musta been whimpy or a tired bulb cause it took 15 minutes to expose.
Regardless, I don't have tremendous experience with them.

I've seen a lot of people claiming perfect results in a wide range of times - lowest in the area of around 1 to 1.5 minutes - with BOTH metal halide and fluorescent units - and all doing just fine with intricate halftone stuff. I understand that a single point light source is the best format available, but from what I am seeing, it is not entirely necessary???

That said..... You might consider a fluorescent unit. You will be in for A LOT less money.

I've only used two fluorescent units, and my current unit with vacuum lid and unfiltered blacklights, exposes in 9 minutes for a perfect Stouffer step 7.

I suspect my bulbs are tired, since I am using a pure photopolymer emulsion, which should be fast with lower light sources.

Point being, maybe you should look into a fluor unit if you need more/cheaper options????
 

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I'd reiterate the second link I posted is to Douthitt, who deals with Olec, and Violux--if you're serious about getting a production unit, IMHO they are the main alternative to NuArc for a high quality unit. Again, not cheap, but quality gear and very knowledgeable. They have a couple of floorstanding vertical units similar to the MSP or Tri-Light but with an Olec light source. Check out the "DMA" or "DME" models.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok I will look further into the second link you posted about the Olec and Violux. And we are a production shop/actual business, not a grage shop looking to expand, the company has been in business for over 20years we are jsut trying to improve our process to be more efficent and accurate.

Does anyone have any info or experiance on Vastex? I was looking at those as well...??

Also what are the major diffrences in Metal Halide vs fluorescent? Other than price....

Nick
 

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I'm no expert, but here's what I've learned so far:

From what I have read, the Metal Halide is a better all around source - in that you can burn a sharper image to due a single point light source and less undercutting- and most units are at least a 1000W bulb (Fast exposures)... and metal halide being a more ideal spectrum of light source

I went to copy a link to steer u to some info on Ulano's site, but it's giving me a server error saying access is forbidden and I don't have permission to access the site ??? ;) Maybe I'm banned since I've spent so much time reading there :)

Give it some time and try their site - great info on light sources and everything
http://www.ulano.com/FAQ/FAQexposure.htm

I use Fluorescent ... really for no other reason than the unit I bought second hand was in my budget - is commercially built, and has a vacuum lid.

I don't do halftone stuff... well.... just getting into it.... and I know lots of people here are using them doing halftones with great success..... so I don't know that a MH unit is exactly a requirement.

In general, I see people stating shorter exposure times on MH units, but at the same time, I am seeing people stating 1 to 1.5 minutes on fluorescents as well.

Fluoro unit bulbs are relatively inexpensive - Unfiltered Black Light Bulbs. If considering these, keep in mind that most are phasing out T12, so I would stay away from that in a huge production environment, as, the bulbs are going to get more expensive, and possibly phased out. I'd look for T8 or other. I think T8 is the most common modern standard.

Also - I wouldn't get a fluoro unit with a big gap between the bulbs.... I've seen some units out there with 4 to 6 inches between. definitely not good. Mine are about 2" and I wouldn't want any more gap than that.

My current unit is Unfiltered Black Lights, Vacuum Lid, and I expose Stouffer Step 7's in 9 minutes with Murakami BLU pure photopolymer and 3 coat screens. But, as I stated earlier..... I'm pretty sure I need new bulbs. They even look tired - on my list

I'm sure someone with far more knowledge will chime in, but thought I'd offer my experience/understanding, as whimpy as it may be ;) hahahaa.
 

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Good call--they also have a 3K and 7.5K model, if you want to get crazy-efficient.

Fluorescent units are OK for efficiency, but they are multi point light sources--meaning light is not anywhere near collimated, or straight--it comes at the screen from many angles, undercutting your positive.

Here's a great article that says it better than I could--Dave's got very effective diagrams.
http://www.t-shirtforums.com/t-shirt-articles/t108270.html

And although you can read comments on how long people are burning for--remember there's a huge variety of emulsion, and a huge variety of exposure lights, and a huge variety of underexposure that can still make a printable screen. :)
 

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The Richmond Solarbeam is probably one of the best but it is pricey.

The AmerGraph 150 and the Nuarc 3140 are both very good exposure units. Priced about $1,000 apart from each other. I like the lid locking system on the AmerGraph better than the Nuarc but the Nuarc pulls a vacuum faster than the AmerGraph. Either of these would be a marked improvement over what you are using now and both will make fantastic screens.
 

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And although you can read comments on how long people are burning for--remember there's a huge variety of emulsion, and a huge variety of exposure lights, and a huge variety of underexposure that can still make a printable screen. :)
Upgrading equipment for the sake of consistency, quality and efficiency is all good, but this last statement cannot be over emphasized and is often not given the consideration it's due.
If you're a production oriented shop doing a lot of different type of printing and you're constantly looking to optimize all your processes, you probably should be looking to using more than one type of emulsion. As Foo said there are many and each has particular characteristics that may make one better over another depending on the job requirements.
 

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Nuarc
Amergraph (we have one)
Douthitt(sic)
Seem to be the ones we see around the most.
4500 and up is more like it moola wise.
7-8k for a hiwatt multiscreen job.
If you burn that many screens you need to go for a multi screnn hi watt version.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
WOW! Thanks for all the great responses! Yes understand that there are 10million variables in a screen print shop so it is really hard to get an exact suggestion with out someone runing/having the exact same set-up/process. I'm not sure we need to step up to a multi-screen unit (would be really nice) but would only be nessary during peak times. We do do a varitey of print jobs and are starting to expand into diffrent processes, so we are trying to upgrade our equipment as needed and the current exposure unit keeps blowing fuse...we've replaced the bulb twice this year....the timer acts up all the time....so we feel it's time to upgrade.

Thru this post and my personal research I think we need to stay away from the floresent units and stick to the metal hyliade (single point light source) for quality and speed. I'll have to add the Amergraph to my list to research!

Thanks again for all the great responses!

Nick
 
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