Reclaiming screens is not a fun process. Carding off ink, removing ink, removing emulsion, dehazing, and degreasing can be arduous. If you’ve noticed your shop is falling behind because of the reclaim process, it might be time to consider a dip tank. Dip tanks can make your reclaim process more efficient, cleaner, and cheaper than a manual process.
By using a dip tank, you can combine the ink & emulsion removing processes into one hands-free process. You will begin by removing tape and carding off as much ink as possible, and then placing your screen in the dip tank. After letting the screen sit in the dip tank for 3-5 minutes, you’ll remove the screen and wash it out just like you normally would in your manual process. After this, you’ll dehaze and degrease your screen.
Of course, nothing is ever that simple. First, you are going to want to use a combination ink degradant and emulsion remover. CCI Dip ‘n’ Strip
is mixed at 10:1 water to chemical ratio. Depending on your mesh count, emulsion type, and emulsion thickness, and chemical’s age, the amount of time your screen needs to sit in the dip tank will change. When you put the screen in the dip tank, you don’t want the ink and emulsion to fall off the screen. All you’re looking to do is loosen the emulsion and ink enough for it to be blasted away by your pressure washer.
Eventually your chemical will become less effective – buildup of ink and emulsion will speed up that process. Usually all you need to do is top off your dip tank with another quart of Dip ‘n’ Strip and you’ll be good to go. If you notice no change when you add chemical to your dip tank, it’s time to dump it out, clean it up, and start over fresh!
Be sure that the dip tank you get is going to keep up with your screen capacity, and make sure it’s made out of a material that won’t degrade through constant exposure to moisture and chemicals. CCI makes two plastic dip tanks, the DST-1
, which holds 6 screens up to 23″x31″, and the DST-2, which holds 6 screens up to 25″x36″. They also manufacture a stainless steel version, the SS DST-1, which holds 6 screens up to 23″x31″. With a drain spout near the bottom, these units are easy to clean.
If you find yourself falling behind because your reclaim process is too slow, it might be time to upgrade to a dip tank reclaim process. By making ink and emulsion removal a one-step, hands-free process, the reclaim bottleneck will be removed.