What is pad printing ?
Pad printing follows the same printing principle as an office inking pad. This technique is quite old and consists of etching a pad matching the file to be printed, then filling it with ink to mark the intended object. The current procedure involves transferring colour with a silicon pad, which is made from either wood or stone, covered with ink and transferred on to the substrate.
There are limitations to this technique, as it is very slow and the pad needs to be changed for every new file. That demands time for adjustments and preparation that is not necessary with digital printing, for example. In addition, multi-colour pad printing is very complicated and can only be done by a specialist. All of this adds extra costs to your printing.
Pad printing also has drawbacks compared to hot stamping, for example, such as unwanted shine or the thickness of the ink layer printed on substrates. The print only offers average durability, especially on metal, glass or ceramics.
In what areas is it used ?
Pad printing is used in various sectors, including automotive, manufacturing, electronics, housing, advertising or medical. Automatic pad printing machines can expedite the process but requires trained technicians to change the pads, manage the colours and adjust the settings.
What are the benefits of pad printing ?
Pad printing is a technique that can adapt to the substrate or object to be printed on. It is possible to print on non-flat or circular surfaces. The design of the pad depends on the shape of the object.
Pad printing or digital printing: which to choose ?
Pad printing, unlike digital printing, makes it possible to print on surfaces with very different shapes. But that carries some drawbacks: a new pad has to be moulded for each need, managing colours is laborious and teams have to be trained up to use automatic pad printing machines.
Digital printing, on the other hand, is extremely fast and relatively inexpensive. It is easy, so your teams only need a few hours to learn how to use the digital printing machine. It produces nice results, with the printing dired immediately thanks to LED lamps, and marking is longlasting.