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Industrial Pad Printing in the 21st Century

(December 2008) posted on Mon Dec 08, 2008

This article examines the latest advances in pad-printing technology and highlights several applications and innovations that will keep pad printing a fixture in the future of industrial printing.

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By Annette Sharon

Flamed and printed all around A hard-hat manufacturer knew there was a better way to mark its safety apparel than have workers put stickers on the two sides, front and back. Not only did it seem to take a long time, but there also was a lot of waste label backing left over at the end of the day. After testing the material the hard hats were made of, it was determined that in order to get the best ink adhesion they would have to undergo flame pretreatment to lower the surface tension. A 360° fixture solved the problem of flaming and printing, and it allowed the manufacturer to put the workers to better use and reduce its trash bill.

Pad printing with personality A specialty food manufacturer wanted to use an animal-shaped container for its liquid food product, but found most printing technologies too costly, rigid, wasteful, or time-consuming to provide the decorative enhancements desired. A standard five-color, independent-pad, programmable pad printer was customized with a rotary fixture that moved the part to the different pad locations where 10 images were etched onto five cliches, allowing multiple print locations to be decorated on the packaging. The decorative enhancements set the food product apart from its competitors on store shelves and costed-out quite competitively compared to other marking options.

Have your pad printing, and eat it too Another specialty food manufacturer wanted to print multicolor images on its baked goods. Most decorating technologies the company had investigated were highly time and labor intensive. However, off-the-shelf edible printing inks, a basic holding fixture, and a simple process-color pad printer outfitted with a very soft silicone pad solved the baker’s dilemma, allowing its product to stand out from the crowd.

Internet-compatible, PC-based, programmable pad printers The new generation of industrial pad printers come equipped with Internet connectivity, allowing for troubleshooting, programming downloads, and test routines to be performed from any location on the planet with telephone or satellite access. This saves customers from having a technician make an on-site service call when a remote diagnostic test could answer the question instead.


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