Screen printing on metal

serigrafía en metal

Most heavy machinery that requires some form of signage uses screen printing, primarily because these signs are rough and have to withstand grease, solvents, and dust, but screen printing on metal can also create stylish signs and labels.

Using screen printing technology, it is possible to print on almost any surface. The textile industry is one of the markets where this printing technology has received attention, allowing high productivity and optimal results. However, this method really shines in the realm of rigid substrates, printing with high quality on cylindrical and oval containers and completely smooth surfaces like metal.

Characteristics Metal Stain

screen printing inks on metal

A metal ink is typically a solvent-based screen and pad printing ink that can be used not only on metal (including painted metal), but also on wood, paper, and many plastics (especially pretreated polyester films, pretreated polyolefins and polycarbonates).

An ink for screen printing and pad printing on untreated polyester surfaces, making it ideal for membrane switches, front panels and decoration of any type of equipment and instrumentation.

Metal inks are highly resistant

A good metal screen printing ink has excellent resistance to yellowing from dyes, household cleaners, oils, lubricants, gasoline and alcohol solutions. This ink is ideal for screen printing and pad printing where the elements are exposed to sun and water.


  1. Good adhesion on concrete, asphalt, steel and wood.
  2. Good resistance to abrasion.
  3. Fast dry.
  4. Good resistance to water.

Screen-printed embossed metal

There is also a process designed to create metal embossing for awards, plaques, key chains, badges or logos. Metal etching inks are printed on a sheet of metal and then the non-printed parts are etched in a bath to make the printed parts embossed.

The inks used are highly viscous and resistant to corrosive liquids, but are also easily removed from the printing plate with a suitable solvent. In the electronics industry, this ink is called Etch Resist. Heavy oil based inks from various brands can also be used.

Process for silkscreen printing on metal

To print a copper, bronze, or aluminum image on the negative, allow the print to dry, then protect the back and edges with the same ink or plastic wrapping tape, then immerse in a water bath with a corrosive liquid such as ferric chloride or nitric acid, as soon as the liquid is stirred in the plastic bucket it will only corrode the exposed metal area and the area covered by the ink will not corrode.

The metal plate is then washed, dried, and the ink is removed with a solvent.
In the case of making a printed circuit, the negative image is printed on a circuit board, which is a copper sheet bonded to a plastic sheet, and then a high chloride bath is used to etch just the plastic sheet.

Corrosive liquids should be handled with gloves and stored in tightly closed plastic containers.

In this video, for example, we share with you a simple serigraphy on metal keyrings, under traditional methodology.

Screen printing on stainless steel

Stainless steel screen printing is used to print everything from operating instructions on machine control panels to identification and serial number labels.

Stainless steel is a strong, durable material with high heat resistance and can be used in a variety of operating conditions.

For printing on steel it is important to consider all inks depending on the printing material and its application. This approach helps ensure durable prints that can withstand the expected operating environment, especially with these types of formats that are likely to be heavy handling.

It is often used to apply graphics or background colors. Colors can be custom mixed for opaque, transparent or metallic effects. Screen printing on stainless steel is also used to add shine or selective texture to nameplates.

Screen printing on aluminum

Aluminum screen printing is an excellent choice for identification labels for machinery, general equipment, consumer products and more.

This lightweight yet strong material resists corrosion under most operating conditions and is widely used to mark parts in aerospace and other industries.

Aluminum Screen Printing Application:

  1. machine board
  2. advertising displays
  3. Control Panel
  4. job bank
  5. Medical Equipment Sheets
  6. Stainless steel equipment cover
  7. aluminum machine parts

Final Recommendations on the Use of Screen Printing Ink on Metal in the Workplace

silkscreen on metal

In addition to the brightness and fast drying, its main characteristic is its excellent adhesion and resistance to solvents, fats, cosmetics, detergents and kitchenware, so it can be used for articles that require strict handling, and care must be taken if we apply it. on oiled surfaces, once cured it is resistant to grease, and once dry it falls off.

The two ingredients must be mixed according to the instructions and wait a few minutes before printing.

The shelf life after priming is 6 hours, so only the ink of the day should be brewed, and do not let the ink dry on the mesh or squeegee or squeegee. Unprepared inks will last 2 years, while catalysts will only last 6 months.

A common mistake when working with epoxy ink is that if the work area is left unattended it will dry on the screen, making the mesh irreversible. Since this material is not a recycled solvent-based ink, it will always harden and clog the fabric.

Therefore, it is advisable to maintain a constant rhythm during the printing process and avoid distractions, such as answering the phone or being away for a few minutes. It is also recommended to completely remove excess ink from the stencil immediately after printing to prevent mesh clogging.

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