Rubber top aluminum screen printing platens have been an addition that some screen printers are adding to their businesses. In general the aluminum platens tend to last longer than the wood platens and the aluminum is easier to clean. Every flash cure increases the temperature of the wood or aluminum platens. While this causes the wood to change shape over time, the aluminum will retain the heat, but maintain it’s shape. This added heat on the aluminum platen can cause the ink to prematurely cure. However, the rubber tops can be added to help dissipate the heat faster. The rubber tops also give the print a softer finish, making the plastisol ink feel more like a waterbase ink screen print.
While the aluminum platens are more efficient, the rubber tops over time will need to be replaced. Make sure to buy replacement rubber tops and when glueing the new rubber tops onto the platen use a high quality glue and try to get the rubber as seamless as possible.
If you’ve already made the switch to aluminum platens then it could be beneficial to try printing with rubber tops. If you are happy using wood platens, then by all means, stick with what works for you.
- 1/4″ Solid Aluminum & 1/8″ Soft Top Rubber is an industry standard on major automatics.