Pad printing is also called as Tampography or Tampo Printing. It is an indirect printing method where the Pad (Tampo) is used for transferring the 2D image from the cliche onto the 3D product.
Although while reading or physically seeing a machine, the process may look very simple and easy Pad Printing does have it’s on technicalities that ones need to understand. I am not saying that it is a difficult process or either a very simple one but understanding the process will give you an insight of pad printing and it’s known around. One of the best ways to do this is working with your supplier’s hand in hand and achieve great print results in pad printing.The key is to understand the process and it’s technicalities while choosing a suitable pad printing machine and achieve the best of results.
The key is to understand the process and it’s technicalities while choosing a suitable pad printing machine and achieve the best of results.
While you understand the process of Pad printing, it is also very critical to know and discuss with your supplier the production and output you require.
Since pad printing is the only process that can print on any surface, shape, and size imaginable, it also has its own limitation in output required. A simple product like a plastic bottle cap can be printed in huge volumes on pad printing whereas a product like MCB’s where the printing is on three sides of the product will not give you as much volume.
There may be various suggestions from the supplier on a suitable machine but you need to do your research and planning to make a decision what suits you and your company best.
Here’s a very simple explanation:
Your production capacity may be higher than the output of the printing machine and you may require the need to print 1200 pieces in an hour. The machine that may best suit you in your budget and working wise gives you an output of only 900 pieces per hour. What do you do? The supplier may recommend you to buy two machines because it will give you enough production for you to be on a safer side. At the same time if working an extra 2 to 3 hours will just get your job done for the daily production requirement.
Think whether you want to increase your investment by buying two machines which at the end it’s everything of two i.e. two machines, double the space, twice the electricity bill and twice the workforce.
When I say Print area, I mean the area or the size of the printing matter that you want to print on your product. This is very important while choosing the right size of pad printing machine. Let me explain below on how the Print Area and Size of the machine is relative in both Closed up And Open Inkwell Pad printing machine.
When you do choose closed cup type of pad printing machine, remember the doctoring ring is round in shape whereas the shape of the artwork can be any.
Let’s take an example and say you have a product that needs printing and the Print area is 50mm x 70mm. Remember we are working on a closed up machine and doctoring ring is round hence we need to work on the longest length of the artwork i.e. the diagonal length in the rectangle. When we use Pythagoras Theorem, the diagonal length is approximately 86.02mm. The recommended size of the cup to the artwork should at least be 15mm in diameter. Which leaves us to the cup size of 100mm or anything close to above 100mm that your supplier has.
Similarly, if you are choosing an open inkwell machine and if we take the same print area as above i.e. 50mm x 70mm the size of the cliche should atleast by 20mm plus on each side. Hence the size of the cliche should be atleast 90mm x 110mm or anything close to this size that your supplier has.
As we now know how important it is to know the print area while selecting a machine, it is equally important to know the product area as so called size of the product. One of the cricital aspects is to see the product fits in and out comfortably in the fixtures while running the production.
Even though every pad printing machine has a provision to adjust the cliche, pad and the product to get perfect registration, it is important to see the position of the pad in alignment with the print area. Sometimes in an automated machines it is not possible to adjust the position of the product, instead the machine position is adjustable to suit the printing area.
It is important for you to know the size of the machine. My recommendation is whatever be the size of the machine, there should always be enough space for a person to walk around comfortably.
Working area also plays an important part when you are planning for your production line at its best. Always maintain a clean environment and a pleasant atmosphere to avoid any printing complications.
As a production manager or a quality Office or even be an owner of the company it is very important that your quality of the Print is at its best and long lasting. It is always recommended to know and test your results of pad printing.
When you send an inquiry to your supplier for a pad printing machine don’t hesitate to talk to him and send him your samples. Ask your suppliers to print it for you so that you can conduct the testing according to your standard. Know the standard procedures of testing pad printing inks. Also if your company requires you to conduct certain tests which are non standard to pad printing, inform your supplier.
While you understand the process of pad printing, it might as well be a demo and an experience for you to pad print on your product.
While speaking to your supplier and making sure you understand the process of pad printing it is also essential to know your facts:
1) Get a formal quotation
2) Know what includes and what does not include along with the pad printing machine.
3) Get the right consumables
Suitable Printing pad on your product
Suitable size of cliche
Suitable inks to Print on your product
4) Ask your supplier for guidelines that you need to prepare or have that you may need to purchase somewhere else before the machine is delivered.
5) Get your training. Know your way around on the machine. Each manufacturer has its own way of designing machines and working.
6) Read your operating manuals.