There are a number of tricks companies can use to lower stencil roll and wipe prices. You think you’re getting a better deal, but really you’re getting ripped off because you pay for cheap rolls with higher consumables costs, extra rework, impaired throughput and reduced yields. Some tricks are obvious, some are pretty subtle. Be sure you get what you think you are buying.
Watch out for the following tricks and gimmicks:
This opens a number of questions about reliability. For the best results, only high-quality, hydroentanged fabric from reputable manufacturers should be used, such as the Sontara™ papers from DuPont which is highly recommended by the stencil printer manufacturers. MicroCare strongly recommends customers stick to the good quality paper. The MicroWipe™ FP stencil rolls are made with fabric, not paper, for even better results.
Papers Containing Glues
Normal paper consists of cellulose fibers bound together with glue. Some ultra-cheap stencil rolls are made in the same way, with paper made from polyester fibers and glue. This makes for a really cheap roll, but not a quality roll. This is because the solvents used in stencil wiping dissolve the glue, and at the microscopic level residues are left behind and the paper is weakened, increasing linting. As a general rule, stick with hydroentangled papers for the best printing results. The microphotograph, right, of a cheap stencil roll paper shows the internal spaces, between the fibers, filled with glue. This makes the paper cheaper but decreases it’s ability to pick up contamination.
Using Paper “Seconds”
“Seconds” are rolls of paper which did not meet the manufacturer’s quality standards, so they dump the paper at a discount. Of course, you don’t know why the paper failed the QC test, so it’s a hard to know exactly what the paper will do once it’s on the stencil printer.
MicroCare has documented instances of rolls priced substantially less than MicroCare rolls, only to find there was substantially less paper on the roll. Caveat emptor, we say. (By the way, there is some natural variation in the thickness of the paper, so the exact length of each roll will vary slightly. The most critical parameter actually is not length, but the outer diameter of the roll.)
Only MicroCare offers our unconditional guarantee of quality on every roll we sell because our unique MicroWipe™ FP paper will lower your stencil printing costs. Our prices are competitive; but not cheap. Buy cheap and who knows what you will get.