G G Cade Technologies has developed a new range of screen fabric stretchers, known as the Kwik Stretch System. These 'innovative stretchers require no fabric clamps, no precision engineered construction and no special skills to achieve perfect screen fabric tension'.
Instead of fabric clamps, the system uses specially designed two-part aluminium profiles, which lock together on all four sides to hold the fabric securely. The frame is surrounded by a special pneumatic tube, which is inflated to add tension to the fabric. The whole process takes only a few minutes to produce perfectly tensioned screen fabric up to 112cm2.
The system was originally designed to serve the high end of the screen printing market such as electronics, solar panels, decal manufacturers and specialised flat glass printers who demand the most control and consistency of screen fabric tension. But, the company says, the system is so inexpensive, it will also meet the needs of the wider screen printing market.
The Kwik Stretch System serves all screen formats, from small format screens for cosmetic and pharmaceutical markets up to large formats for printing sheet glass, decals, ceramic tiles, advertising posters and textiles.
"The idea was to create a high quality, fully portable fabric tensioning system that is easy to use and can be set up on any work bench and used by almost anyone in the printing department," says Lewis Stovin, Managing Director for G G Cade. "Within a few short minutes, screen fabrics can be prepared and stretched to whatever tension is required, every time."
One of the advantages of the system is that the 'fabric tension is very consistent across the whole fabric area and in both directions, right up to the edges of the frame. With a conventional stretcher, no matter how carefully the fabric is positioned and tensioned, there will always be higher tension in the corners and along the sides, compared with the central area of the fabric'. With the Kwik Stretch System, the pneumatic tube applies tension equally across the whole area. This gives 'much better control of fabric tension, more consistent screens, better control of ink deposit and better print consistency'.