With its manufacturing and corporate headquarters based in Brooklyn, New York, the Ulano Corporation
is recognized as a world-class leader in the screen printing and graphics arts industry.
Ulano specializes in the manufacture of stencil-making products and chemicals for screen process printing. We also supply masking films, inkjet media, automated coating equipment, exposure test positives, and stencil evaluation tools. Our administrative and manufacturing headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, where we also have research and development laboratories, applications laboratories, and a technical training center. Ulano has an Asian regional office in Singapore and a branch office in Shanghai, China.
How it all started
The founder of the company, Joseph Ulano, was a Russian immigrant to New York. In the 1920s, he found work in the screen printing industry and set about to make improvements, especially in stencil making. In 1929, just before the Great Depression, Joe Ulano invented the film stencil. He formed a film coating company in 1931. Over the years, Ulano has grown from a small company into the world’s largest completely integrated manufacturer of screen printing stencil systems.
Ulano’s more than 80 years of growth have always been technologically driven. We have a proud history of innovation. In addition to the film stencil, Ulano. . .
Invented masking films (under the Rubylith® and Amberlith® brand names).
Formulated the first reclaimable, 100% solvent and water resistant emulsions.
Developed the first fast-exposing diazo resins.
Was the first manufacturer to eliminate bichromates and, later, di-butyl phthalate from all our photographic products.
Introduced capillary film to the world market.
Manufactures the widest range of indirect system photographic films in the industry.
Offered the first comprehensive, industry-specific line of screen chemicals.
Ulano’s new product introductions continue, and include EZ-FILM textile capillary film, new screen chemicals, Pulsar no-developer stencil film, QLT ultra-fast SBQ textile emulsion, QT-DISCHARGE emulsion for water-based and discharge inks, and Quasar R 100, a red indirect system photographic film.
In 1999, Ulano was acquired by a German-Swiss holding company that also owns Kissel + Wolf GmbH (KIWO), a manufacturer of screen printing consumables, adhesives, automatic coating machines, and computer-to-screen equipment. The Kissel + Wolf GmbH Group have offices and manufacturing facilities in Germany, Texas, Singapore, Australia, and India. The new owners have made important investments in Ulano’s facilities and staff, reinforcing the company’s traditional strengths in innovation, technical education, technical service, and market leadership, domestically and internationally.
As before, Ulano’s future growth will be based on technological innovation, but by careful, logical extensions of research and development skills and manufacturing capabilities, rather than by dramatic leaps into unfamiliar territory. In this way, we will protect and strengthen the Ulano brand name, one of the best known in the entire graphic arts industry.
Ulano will continue to utilize our domestic and international channels of distribution, nurtured for over two generations, to promote the Ulano brand. As an inter-national company, we must meet the environmental, technical, manufacturing, and commercial demands of worldwide competitiveness. We embrace these challenges and are strengthened by them!
Direct emulsions have been used for screen-printing for nearly 50 years and have become increasingly sophisticated because of advancements in the chemical industry, especially polymer chemistry and light-sensitive systems.
What started as bi-chromate sensitized, water-based adhesives (glues) and gelatin based indirect system stencil films, have evolved into specialized, high performance, coatings that are used in the screen-printing of LCD screens, flexible circuits, solar panels and other high precision manufactured items. In the mid 1960s, Ulano released indirect system, gelatin-based films that did not require bi-chromate sensitization. They were ‘pre-sensitized,’ utilizing iron salts and requiring an oxidation-reduction developing step using hydrogen peroxide. In the mid 1970s, led by Ulano, environmentally conscious companies replaced bi-chromates (discovered to be carcinogenic) in direct
emulsions with the light-sensitive dye that became known in the industry as diazo. Far safer to handle than bi-chromates, diazo offered the additional advantages of extended storage, pot and shelf life, and in some cases greater exposure latitude. With the introduction of diazo, emulsions become more specialized, with two distinct categories becoming available – those that had high water resistance and those that had high solvent resistance. Two Ulano products became staples of the industry – 569 offered total solvent resistance and reclaimability while TZ (later superseded by 925WR) became a work-horse product for printing water-based inks, and was also reclaimable.
BREAKTHROUGHS IN THE EIGHTIES
The 1980s saw two major breakthroughs in emulsion technology. The first was associated with development of stilbazolium quarternary (SBQ) salt, an innovative, very efficient sensitizer for use with direct emulsion polymers. SBQ provided extremely fast exposure times, allowing the successful utilization of low intensity, non-industry specific light sources by smaller shops, and the increasing use of projection cameras for large format graphics. SBQ-based pre-sensitised emulsions lacked water resistance and offered limited solvent resistance as well. Nevertheless, SBQ quickly became the stencil technology for plastisol printing. Ulano’s QTX consequently become the product of choice for many textile printers worldwide. Ulano continues to develop emulsions in this category, further enhancing the performance of SBQ-based emulsions. CTS-FAST was introduced in early 2010. Like QTX, CTS-FAST became a product of choice for scanning, low intensity computer-to-screen light sources. Innovative anti-halation technology, developed at Ulano, brought further advantages to the SBQ-based product category; with ORANGE textile emulsion becoming Ulano’s best-selling product within two years of its introduction in 2012. The second break-through in the eighties came with the commercial availability of light sensitive acrylic resins. The incorporation of acrylates allowed the creation of so called ‘dual-cure’ emulsions, in which the acrylate resin phase of the emulsion is already pre-sensitized. Added at the point of use, diazo is still responsible for sensitizing the water-soluble phase of the emulsion. Dual-cure, or diazo-photopolymer, emulsion technology allowed the development of more universal,higher resolving, more durable, better imaging products that often afford equal resistance to water-based and solvent-based inks. RLX was one of Ulano’s first dual-cure products and within three years of introduction, its production reached 182 metric tons (400,000 pounds) a year. Subsequently, more specialized Ulano dual-cures – high solvent resistance Proclaim and LX-660 with its matte surface and high humidity resistance – became well-known and commercially successful products.
NO HARDENER REQUIRED
For a decade, the choice still had to be made between limited resistance, fast SBQ-based products, or the better copying, more versatile dual-cure products that required sensitizing at the point of use. The exceptional water resistance of dual-cure emulsions allow them to be used without a hardener, yet offer excellent reclaiming properties, along with good resistance to water-based and discharge inks. Dual-cure emulsions also have superb mechanical durability and resist very acidic media.
SBQ-DUAL CURES: HYBRID EMULSION
The next breakthrough in the labs came in the late 1990s and early 2000s when advances by Ulano R&D made it possible to combine both SBQ and dual-cure photochemistry in ‘hybrid’ technology, introduced by Ulano in its QX-1 emulsion. Hybrid emulsions are dual cure emulsions that use SBQ instead of diazo. The longer pot life of SBQ allows the hybrids to be pre-mixed; they are pre-sensitized and ready-to-use. The introduction of hybrid technologies alleviated many of the limitations of SBQ technology. Though slower to expose than SBQs, hybrids offer solvent resistance suitable for the graphic arts market. Exposure speed still remains fairly fast, so that hybrid Being introduced by Ulano is its DP-800 stencil emulsions can be used in textile printing shops with low-intensity light sources or the need for rapid stencil throughput. Hybrid emulsions at Ulano have proliferated over the years, now including the very versatile QX-5 series, which has an excellent track record with new UV-LED light scanning units. The newly introduced fast-exposing Platinum emulsion for the textile market offers very short exposure (generally not characteristic of the hybrids), with the excellent durability of hybrids, and also features easy decoating.
A NEW PRODUCT SERIES : EC-CURE EMULSION
Advancements in the photochemical technology of pre-sensitizing emulsion allowed Ulano to introduce another group of screen-printing products – the ‘EC’ or EPICCure emulsions. These EPIC-Cure emulsions, utilising RD-sensitizing technology, resemble dual-cure performance, with solvent and humidity resistance comparable to that of universal dual-cures. EC products, which are pre-sensitized, do not require sensitizing at the point of use and offer most of the favorable properties of dual-cure emulsions. EPIC-Cure (EC) emulsions have a light sensitivity similar to SBQ-sensitized products; however, their response to light is much more precisely controlled, facilitating much better cross-linking density, copying, and resistance properties than those normally associated with SBQ-sensitized emulsions. Ulano has introduced to the market the first product of this series, Proclaim-EC, and is in the process of introducing another (now called DP-800). Ulano has received very positive responses from the first users of EC products, commenting on how easy the process is for the stencil maker by eliminating sensitizing and degassing time, and simplifying the product and process for the stencil maker. Moreover, with EC-technology, the usual problems of SBQ sensitized products – often fuzzy edges due to their very small exposure window, lower cross-linking density and associated limited resistance – are gone as well. RD-sensitizing technology has, once again, allowed Ulano to create easier-to-use and better performing products.
Our primary objective is to offer outstanding service to our customers!
We accomplish this by:
Understanding and exceeding customers’ needs and expectations.
Striving for 100% satisfaction.
Delivering on-time, technologically suitable and beneficial products of the highest quality standards in our industry.
Maintaining a friendly and courteous attitude.
Training our customers on how best to use our products and understand the benefits that they offer.
Making every effort to assist in finding solutions to challenges.