Pad Printing is the best method for applying logos on round, concave or unevenly shaped products. This allows for printing very fine lines and detailed shapes which otherwise would be impossible to do, for example, with silk screen printing.
To transfer the image to the product, silicone pads are used – hence the name „pad printing“. Depending on the shape of the product, the logo and the printing ink, pads with different shapes and elasticity are used. Different inks are used for printing on different materials – same ink can’t be used for printing on plastic, metal and ceramics.
Maximum printing area depends on the shape of the object to be printed on and the area of the printing plate. Maximum area for printing on flat objects is 70 x 70 mm. In the case of cylindrical shaped products the printing area is determined by the products diameter – as a rule of thumb, the maximum printing area is half diameter of the product.
To put your logo on a product, following steps must be completed:
- Every printing order starts with a design. If the client has provided the design file that meets the requirements and that shows the logo to be printed, the logo’s location and its colours, then the order can be processed immediately. If the client doesn’t have the design file, we will make it ourselves. Together with the client, we’ll choose the product, determine the position and the size of the logo and send the design file back to the client for the final confirmation.
- The image or logo to be printed receives a colour separation – every colour in the image is printed on a separate film as every colour needs a separate film and printing plate. We are able to do up to 3 spot-colour prints at once, it’s not possible to print gradients in pad printing.
- The film will be placed on the printing plate covered with emulsion and exposed on UV light table. Light-exposed part of the emulsion will bind while the area under the film’s black image is developed and etched in. This way the logo is set on the printing plate, positioned a bit deeper than the surface of the plate.
- Produced plate is set on a printing machine and aligned precisely. As the colours are printed sequentially, every colour with its own printing plate and pad, it’s important that colours end up at the exact specific location on the product.
- For every product, a special jig is manufactured which holds the product during printing. The jig is required to keep the product in place during the printing and also to make sure that all products are placed in the same exact spot in the machine, which guarantees that the logo will be placed on exact position on each product. This is the reason why it’s impossible to print several colours on products that have uneven surfaces or can’t be fixed securely, because the exact printing alignment of the colours is not guaranteed in that case.
- Printing itself resembles using a seal stamp. A cup, filled with ink, moves over the printing plate and fills the impression etched on the plate’s surface with ink. The pad picks up the paint from the printing plate and with the next push, transfers the ink over onto the product.
- Different inks made for different materials require different temperature for drying so the final drying takes place either in room temperature or in the tunnel dryer.
Which products are suitable for pad printing?
Pad printing can be used for a wide variety of products and materials. We mainly use pad printing for hard-surfaced products: writing instruments, keychains, thermoses, mugs, vases, folders, memory sticks, etc, but it’s also possible to print on textiles (washing instructions, product labels, etc).
The final result depends largely on the product itself. For a smoother surfaced product, the print will be more detailed and uniform. Take a look at our catalogue for suitable products.
What are the requirements for the design files?
To transfer the logos to the products with pad printing, we need the designs in a vector graphics file format. Suitable file formats are: .pdf, .cdr, .ai, .eps. Texts should be changed into curves (into vector images) and colours assigned according to Pantone (PMS) colour space.
If you don’t have a suitable file, we can also help with a design service. Feel free to contact us – we can convert your logo to a vector or produce an entirely original design according to the client’s wishes.
How to place an order for pad printing?
Send us your design. We will review it, offer the best solution to fulfill the pad print order and put together a price estimate.
To calculate the price, we will need the following:
- The quantity of printable products
- The shape and the material of the products
- The number of colours which we receive from the design you send
- Additional information on any extra work – packaging etc.