Pad printing is a unique method, where 2 dimensional images are transferred onto a 3 dimensional object, most commonly used to overcome issues with rigid, textured or concave surfaces. First invented in the 1940s, the method is now a well-established standard in the industry, and the technique is used on everything from medicine to watches, cosmetics and electronics. The technique is also sometimes referred to as tampography. It uses a printing process known as gravure, with inks applied via a silicone pad onto the substrate. This technique is also used for functional materials such as adhesives, lubricants, dyes and special conductive inks.
The Process Of Pad Printing
The transfer of the image takes place using a special silicone pad. The product is first secured in the machine, then pressed mechanically into an ink plate, and is then ready to be stamped by the bad. Pad printing is often used for three dimensional parts and things like sports equipment because the silicone pad can wrap around the item fully while printing. This means that it adapts easily to complex shapes and profiles without the image becoming distorted. It’s a unique way of transferring images because it can achieve fine detail and multiple colour imprints easily.
Why Pad Printing Is So Useful
Before the invention of the pad printing process, there would have been many objects which were simply deemed unsuitable to print. Anything cylindrical, concave, convex, uneven or textured could not have been printed with any degree of accuracy. Using the silicone pad method means that these awkward shapes are covered easily without any loss of quality in the print. It can also be used to print more fragile objects, where other printing methods may cause damage or breakage. Pad printing allows very fine detail to be applied to non-linear surfaces and works well for logos, important instructions and barcodes. Paired with the correct type of ink, the method can also use used for products that need a high resistance – such as those which are likely to suffer abrasions or exposure to chemicals. It can also be used where multi-coloured print is required without needing to be dried straight away.
Pad Printing For Success
This method is very versatile but it does require a little bit of expertise to get the best results. Each object which requires printing will need to be matched to the right size and shape of pad for the perfect finish. This can be a tricky process, so it’s an area where experience and familiarity with the product can pay dividends. Choosing the correct pad for your project is an area which definitely requires a good working knowledge of the process. Pad printing inks also need to be selected to match the material of the object that they are being applied to. There are separate ink lines formulated for materials such as acrylic or nylon, metal, polycarbonate or ABS that will be matched to your project. The process can also be used on harder to work materials like polypropylene or Urea, but these would require additional post or pre-treatment procedures to ensure that the ink adheres correctly. Inks are either solvents, which cure over time or using heat or instant cure using a UV light source. With a little specialist knowledge, you can achieve an amazing finish.