Plastic Molding Services >> Pad Printing

Pad Printing Services

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Pad printing is an indirect offset printing, or “photogravure”, process that is used to transfer a 2-D image onto a 3-D object via a silicone pad (hence the name). A popular and effective alternative to hot stamping and screen printing, the pad printing process makes it possible to add single- or multi-color graphics, lettering, etc. to a wide range of substrates.

Advantages of the Pad Printing Process

The key advantage of pad printing is that it can be used on products that are otherwise difficult to print on via other printing or stamping methods. Benefits of the pad printing process include:

  • Can be used on irregular shapes and surfaces
  • Can print on complicated or challenging substrate materials with good speed
  • Ideal for transferring finely-detailed images, such as instructional graphics
  • Highly versatile—nearly all materials can be pad printed
  • High overall print quality

Pad Printing Applications

As noted above, pad printing can be used on nearly any substrate material. The most common applications are typically pad printing on plastic and on metal. The versatility of the pad printing process, and its ability to recreate fine details, makes it popular for:

  • Components in consumer electronics: cables, connectors, etc.
  • Household appliances: TV housings, coffee pots, etc.
  • Buttons and keys on computer keyboards, calculators, etc.
  • Toys, baby bottles, pacifiers, etc.
  • Sporting goods: golf balls, footballs, etc.
  • and much, much more

How Does the Pad Printing Process Work?

All pad printing services operate somewhat differently, depending on the equipment used, the material being printed on, and other factors. However, the following is a good general overview of the pad printing process.

  1. A sealed ink cup is positioned over the etched artwork area on the printing plate; the etched image is filled with ink.
  2. The ink cup is shuttled away, taking any excess ink with it and exposing the ink-filled image. Upon exposure to air, the top layer of the ink becomes tacky—this helps the ink adhere to the transfer pad and then to the substrate.
  3. The transfer pad quickly presses down on the printing plate, pushing air outward. This causes the ink to lift (or transfer) out of the etched artwork area and onto the transfer pad.
  4. The transfer pad then shuttles to the waiting substrate and compresses down on its surface. This transfers the ink that picked up from the printing plate to the substrate’s surface.

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Custom Pad Printing Services from Stack Plastics

Stack Plastics specializes in pad printing on plastic parts. Our pad printing services can add your company logo, lettering, numbering, instructional graphics, or any other design you may need to the surface of your plastic injection molded parts. We utilize 2-color pad printing technology, with fully automated controls, to print your design(s) on your parts quickly, efficiently, and with perfect repeatability.

The true technological excellence in our pad printing processes comes from our specialized inks. The quick-drying formula of our pad printing ink is designed to adhere perfectly to most any plastic substrate to which it is applied, without smearing, running, or dripping. The quality of our pad printing is second to none.

Contact Us for Pad Printing on Plastic Parts

Our custom pad printing services are a fast, effective way to add another level of value to your plastic injection molded parts. Request a quote on 1- or 2-color pad printing for your next project, or contact Stack Plastics to learn more about this or any of our outstanding plastic molding and secondary services.