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The Difficulties of Pad Printing on Plastic

By: Adam T Chubak   
Date Added : July 28, 2011 Views : 353

Pad Printing is a process, which entails image transfer to three-dimensional material objects. The objects may be made of glass, rubber, wood, plastic or metal. The process is regarded as wet because it encompasses use of ink-filled etched images, which are on a printing plate. The process is applied by use of a silicone pad. The silicone pad wraps around the object assuming the shape of the object. This enables the images to be perfectly transferred on the object. There are complexities when carrying through the process of Pad Printing on various materials.

This is because; with the various kinds of Pad Printing needs, there may be tiny multicolor application and very fine details that need to be printed in the most sharp image and text presentation possible. For instance, there may be difficulties when carrying through Plastic Pad Printing. Due to the nature of the printing, there may be some inconsistencies in the printing process such as light spots on the prints. Such spots are caused by plate scooping and it’s recommended that the lower line screen be used.

Whether you are doing Pad Printing on Metal or on other materials such as Pad Printing on wood, these problems may be experienced due to many factors. Some other shortcomings you may get when carrying out this type of print on plastics is a series of small holes. These are also regarded as pinholes and will appear as patterns of small holes on the print. The small holes are caused by air trapped in etch of the pad because the pad is too soft or flat. This problem may be caused by a deep silicone plate. Therefore, it’s imperative to use a pointier and harder pad that does not let air bubbles remain on the object when printing.

Another problem, which may be noted in the process, for example Pad Printing on Bottles, is that you may get a faint image. This means that there is no full release of the image. This problem is caused by ink that is too dry or too wet (light concentration). It can also be caused by an old pad. If you touch the ink immediately after the print and find out that it doesn’t transfer to your finger, then it’s too dry. If it transfers to your hand, then it has a light concentration. This problem can be rectified by checking the ink concentration or formulation as well as the pad. The pad might have dried out and therefore even after the ink formulation, it does not produce any impressive results. You need to replace it.

These kinds of problems will be witnessed in different surfaces including Pad Printing on Glass. Moreover, another shortcoming which may be witnessed is an image that is not opaque enough. Such an image appears unclear and lacks the sharpness that is needed for a better appearance. This may be caused by a pad that is over compressing. It may also be caused by a plate which is shallow. Similarly, the ink may be too thin. This can be avoided by ensuring the silicon pad is not over compressing and that the plate is not too shallow. Ink formulation may help fix the problem too.

Jim Gerberich is the author of this article on Pad Printing. Find more information on Screen and Pad Printing here.

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