The Truth Exposed: M&R Vs Cheap from afar
Choose your destiny
A wide choice of equipment is a major advantage for us UK screen printers – we’re close to the EU mainland and have strong shipping connections around the globe, the world is our oyster.
The modern screen printer has a lot of choice when it comes to equipment; an M&R Sportsman, an Adelco dryer and a Natgraph exposure unit can all work harmoniously together in a printshop.
Buyer beware, it’s not difficult to be marketed to unethically, eBay cowboys can flog dodgy units from unknown brands and get away with it without much repercussion. It’s not a story we’re unfamiliar with unfortunately, the lack of accountability (and traceability) of these units and their vendors make specification almost as accurate as throwing a dart at a board.
What to look for
An informed choice is going to feed your passion more; it’s a chance to flex your expertise and avoid being ripped off in the process – here are some of the things we look for in a quality Exposure Unit.
A good light-source is number one. Moving on leaps and bounds from halogen technology of yesteryear and the fad of metal halide lamps, high-output UV LEDs are without a doubt where the industry is headed; they’re cheaper, last longer and expose screens faster than ever.
The Starlight will be able to expose photopolymer emulsions in as little as 3-5 seconds, how can it do this?
This M&R Starlight 2331, and its eBay counterpart, boasts UV LED bulbs – a big box ticked, but are all LEDs created equal?
These bulbs will determine more than you might think; exposure time, electricity used, quality of exposure. The secret is in the dense matrix of LED bulbs inside the Starlight, eBay counterparts will typically have around 100-200 bulbs, the Starlight has 1200
Here you can see just how many high-output UV LEDs are packed into the Starlight, this intense grid ensures a thorough, even exposure through your design. Cheaper matrixes will have large variations in intensity of light which produce a ‘wavy’ pattern of unexposed emulsion, or may not expose at all!
There are countless benefits to using a premium, branded machine over a chancing shipment from Shenzhen are innumerable – this unit in particular is capable of exposing around 100 screens an hour, each exposure as perfect as the last.
It’s here the value of an even intensity is tested – and where eBay tatt crumbles!