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Coatings 2014, 4(2), 356-379; doi:10.3390/coatings4020356
Article

A Study of the Abrasion of Squeegees Used in Screen Printing and Its Effect on Performance with Application in Printed Electronics

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Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating, College of Engineering, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 February 2014 / Revised: 3 June 2014 / Accepted: 4 June 2014 / Published: 12 June 2014
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Abstract

This article presents a novel method for accelerated wear of squeegees used in screen printing and describes the development of mechanical tests which allow more in-depth measurement of squeegee properties. In this study, squeegees were abraded on the screen press so that they could be used for subsequent print tests to evaluate the effect of wear on the printed product. Squeegee wear was found to vary between different squeegee types and caused increases in ink transfer and wider printed features. In production this will lead to greater ink consumption, cost per unit and a likelihood of product failure. This also has consequences for the production of functional layers, etc., used in the construction of printed electronics. While more wear generally gave greater increases in ink deposition, the effect of wear differed, depending on the squeegee. There was a correlation between the angle of the squeegee wear and ink film thickness from a worn squeegee. An ability to resist flexing gave a high wear angle and presented a sharper edge at the squeegee/screen interface thus mitigating the effect of wear. There was also a good correlation between resistance to flexing and ink film thickness for unworn squeegees, which was more effective than a comparison based on Shore A hardness. Squeegee indentation at different force levels gave more information than a standard Shore A hardness test and the apparatus used was able to reliably measure reductions in surface hardness due to solvent absorption. Increases in ink deposition gave lower resistance in printed silver lines; however, the correlation between the amount of ink deposited and the resistance, remained the same for all levels of wear, suggesting that the wear regime designed for this study did not induce detrimental print defects such as line breakages.
Keywords: screen printing; squeegees; printed electronics; accelerated aging screen printing; squeegees; printed electronics; accelerated aging
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Phillips, C.O.; Beynon, D.G.; Hamblyn, S.M.; Davies, G.R.; Gethin, D.T.; Claypole, T.C. A Study of the Abrasion of Squeegees Used in Screen Printing and Its Effect on Performance with Application in Printed Electronics. Coatings 2014, 4, 356-379.

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