AWT’s American AM-180: Reliability and Versatility in 3D Printing

Edited by Erin La Row, editor, Plastics Decorating

Manufacturers looking for a printer that produces razor-sharp image printing on cups, bottles, pens and other three-dimensional shapes may find a worthy partner with the American AM-180 – a semi-automatic screen printer hailed as compact and easy to use.

“Screen printers around the world have told us how important it is for them to be able to compete in constantly-evolving promotional products markets,” said Michael Green, president of The AWT World Trade Group. “The AM-180 gives them the ability to do so.”

An extensive selection of standard and optional tooling allows the AM-180 to be set up for printing on cylindrical, spherical, elliptical, conical and tubular items. Synchronization of the rotation of the object with the movement of the screen and the squeegee results in a consistently sharp image with precise registration. The AM-180’s carriage-locking mechanism and close-tolerance linear bearings ensure accurate printing results, and optional roller attachments turn cylindrical objects.

Standard features include an all-mechanical print head, vertical screen life, solid-state controls, modified harmonic cam movement, variable speed control and squeegee adjustment. The screen printer has more than 25 optional attachments for a range of printing applications and works on flat surfaces as well. Up-front pressure gauges can be added to show both air and inflation pressures; an upgrade is available for the squeegee floodbar chopper assembly; and there are a variety of mandrel, oval and conical attachments. In addition, the following are possible options and accessories: steel or laser visual registration pointer, universal roller wareholder with steel or nylon rollers, lowering brackets, and double- and triple-stroke adaptors.

The machine essentially does the work of multiple presses and is easily adaptable for new jobs.

“A huge plus is the superior color pigmentation and ink adhesion of screen printing over other printing methods,” Green said.

The AM-180 has a reputation for reliability. Its all-mechanical print head provides the stability required for printing accurately on three-dimensional objects and the machine includes foot-pedal control for operator convenience. That includes remote diagnostics to significantly reduce downtime and a heavy-duty base and frame for less vibration and a longer press life. An optional touchscreen with interactive controls allows users to set, adjust, monitor and control important process parameters with precision and ease.

For customers facing specific printing challenges, the company routinely designs custom attachments and tooling, and often performs extensive factory testing using challenging multi-dimensional substrates provided by the customer. Other popular options include an automatic registration device for accurate multi-color production and the capability to inflate and stabilize soft-sided containers for printing.

Technical Specifications

The AM-180 screen printer has a standard 12″ print stroke and can print at a speed of 200 to 1,500 iph. Equipment dimensions are 25 x 45 x 57 (64 x 114 x 145 cm).