The Ultimate Guide to Screen Printing Using Pallet Tape
Pallet tape is crucial for any company looking to upgrade their screen printing operations. Whether you want to make it easier for your staff to clean a pallet after it's been used or increase your printing productivity, pallet tape is the solution you've been looking for.
In this guide, we'll discuss what pallet tape is, how it can help, and why it's better than other protective adhesives on the market today.Shop Pallet Tape
What Is Pallet Tape Used For?
Pallet tape is a type of tape specially designed to provide protection for your pallets as they go through the screen printing process. More specifically, pallet tape stops adhesives, sprays, inks, and other contaminants from getting on your pallet. The tape often comes in a variety of sizes and lengths to meet the various demands of printing companies.
Is Pallet Tape the Same Thing as Platen Tape?
Pallet tape and platen tape both refer to the same product. The terms can be used interchangeably without the meaning being affected. The product can also be called platen mask or pallet mask. "Platens" simply refer to the pallets used in the printing industry to press materials, such as t-shirts or paper, against graphics or lettering.
What Makes for High-Quality Pallet Tape?
You'll know you have good platen tape on your hands if you find the tape you're using can be applied with ease, sticking to the surface without coming loose over time, while also letting users remove it without it harming the surface or causing a mess. Low-grade tapes consistently have issues with the removal process, making messes that waste time and can even be costly to fix.
How Does Pallet Tape Help Screen Printers?
There are several benefits of pallet tape that make it a go-to option for many screen printers when they want to protect their platens, including:
1. Saves Time
When you place pallet tape on a platen, you'll save yourself a great deal of time with the cleanup stage after your printing job is finished. Instead of having to clean the platen off using a variety of specialty cleaners, the tape will prevent it from ever getting dirty in the first place. You simply have to peel the tape off once you're done using it, saving you lots of time.
Along with the tape's easy removal, its application is stress-free and much faster than other pallet protection products. In order to save time installing the tape, many companies will place several layers of pallet tape onto the platen, so that once you're done with one of the layers of tape, you have another piece waiting for you to use.
2. Improves Production Volume
Since companies regularly save time after switching to pallet tape, production tends to increase as a result. If you don't currently use pallet tape, consider how much time you or your employees spend cleaning up your pallets. Even if the cleanup process only takes a few minutes, that time is going to add up quickly, with your productivity faltering as a result.
Instead of spending your time producing products for a client, you're stuck trying to get the pallet clean enough and ready to be used again. By making pallet tape a regular part of your company's printing efforts, you'll be setting your company up for increased production and more income as a result.
3. Protects Screen Printing Equipment and Extends the Lifespan of Pallets
Along with the benefits that pallet tape brings to productivity, users can also extend their pallets' lifespans for quite some time. The more you use your platens without any protective covering it, the more you raise the chances of it becoming unusable. Some cleaning supplies can be corrosive to the platen. Over time these corrosive chemicals can wear on the platen, forcing you to purchase a replacement one.
Additionally, if staff begin to neglect cleaning the pallet promptly after use, leftover debris from the previous printing job can end up harming the pallet, forcing you to spend money on a repair or replacement. By consistently using pallet tape to protect your platens, you'll get a longer lifespan out of pallets, saving you money in the long run.
4. Assists With Cleanup After Printing
Employees who have to clean up after printing jobs are completed know the headache that comes with having to clean the platen, so it's ready to be used again. Cleaning takes up time and, if done sloppily, can result in damage to the platen over time.
Instead of having to use any specialized cleaners, all you have to do to clean up after using pallet tape is peel the tape off of the surface. Those who regularly clean the printer will appreciate the streamlined cleaning process and will have more time for more productive tasks as a result.
Why Use Pallet Tape vs. Alternative Adhesives
There is some debate about whether other protective adhesive products are better than platen tape. These alternative protective pallet adhesives are often liquid or spray-based. Though these products do have benefits, pallet tape provides superior ease of use and protection.
A common issue with sprays is that once you apply it onto a surface, it also gets into the air. Without even realizing it, you'll be covering various parts of your equipment with the adhesive. Additionally, you have to be careful with sprays to ensure they sufficiently coat the entire surface of the platen, or you may damage the surface during the printing process.
For liquid adhesives, you don't run into the issue of accidentally coating other pieces of the equipment with adhesive, but there is more work required of you. To use a liquid adhesive, you'll often have to squeeze it onto the pallet, spread it over the surface, and, once you're done printing, clean it off manually with water or a specialty cleaner. This whole process can waste time that you could be better spending elsewhere.
Pallet tapes offer the best of both worlds, as the adhesive will never get in the air or make you have to worry that the pallet has been sufficiently coated. Additionally, tape-based pallet adhesives are easier to install and remove, freeing up time for your company to engage in more productive activities.
How to Use Pallet Tape for Screen Printing
Now that you know what pallet tape is and what it is used for, here is a step-by-step guide to applying, using, and removing platen paper. Once you master these six simple steps, you’ll be using your screen printing press to the best of its ability in no time.
Step 1: Buy the Right Platen Tape
Before you ever begin putting pallet tape to the press, you should be sure that you buy the correct product. Be sure to check the size of your plate to make sure it matches the product you are looking at. Also, if you have used platen paper before, make sure that you have enough to go around so that you don’t run out in the middle of your project.
The important factors to consider when you purchase pallet tape is the tackiness, the dimensions, and the quality. If the tape is too sticky, it will not remove easily from the press. If it is not sticky enough, it could come loose and not be flush, altering your prints. If the paper is too narrow for your screen printing press, it will not cover the entire platen. This would leave a portion of your press exposed, staining it or making it harder to clean. Finally, the quality of the platen paper matters; poor quality tape can rip or let color seep through, so it is important to invest in proven tape that will get the job done.Shop Platen Tape
Step 2: Measure and Cut the Tape
Now that you have your pallet tape, you need to measure it out to fit your press. Roll out your tape until it is longer than the press, then lightly place it on the platen plate. It should be on enough to keep it in place, but loose enough to be easily removed. In this position, use an exacto blade or another paper cutting knife to make a clean cut between the roll and the press, leaving a little bit of extra tape hanging off of each side.
Step 3: Position and Trim the Pallet Tape
Now that the piece of pallet tape is cut, the next step is refining the position and size of the paper. Smooth the paper down on the press so that it is flush with the platen so there are no bubbles or wrinkles.
Once it is as flat as you can make it, run your blade around the edge of the plate, cutting the platen tape to the exact size of the press. Smooth the edges of the paper around the edge of the plate, pressing it down to wrap around the side of the plate. Now you should have a perfectly flat piece of paper cut exactly to size.
Step 4: Use the Press
Since the paper is in place and won’t move, you don’t have to worry about it during the printing process! If you need any sort of guidance lines, you can draw those directly onto the paper, but other than that, there is nothing to worry about if you invested in quality pallet tape.
Properly placed platen mask will protect the plate while the press does its work. Once you are done printing, you can simply take off the dirty platen tape for a new sheet.
Step 5: Remove the Pallet Tape
Taking off the platen tape is easy, just peel it off. The tape should remove cleanly and easily, leaving you with an unsoiled surface to put the next sheet of tape onto. Pallet tape makes clean-up that could be messy an extremely easy process.
Take your time and remove the tape slowly so that the ink does not get on anything. To further eliminate the risk of ink getting on something in your studio, clump up the used sheet of platen tape into a ball with the ink on the inside.
Knowing when to change out your paper is also important. You’ll want your pallet tape to last as long as possible so you get the best bang for your buck, but the longer it stays on the press, the harder it might be to remove it. Only through trial and error will you truly understand how your press works with the tape and how often you should change it.
Step 6: Repeat
After you have mastered the process of changing out your sheets of pallet tape, you can switch them out whenever you need to. Simply follow the steps to keep your press refreshed!
Choose TapeManBlue for Your Pallet Tape Needs
If you want to protect screen printing equipment with pallet tape, you'll find only the most high-quality and affordable pallet tapes at TapeManBlue. As a company, we're dedicated to selling 100 percent American-made products that extend your pallet life and make cleaning up after printing an easy process.
As a leading supplier of tapes for the screen printing industry, we're confident you'll find pallet tape that suits your needs. View our selection of platen tapes that all come with free shipping today. If you have any questions about our products, contact our team to speak to a friendly representative.Shop Platen Tape