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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.


By Annette Sharon

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The manufacturer could also change the pad printer’s programming when new models were added to the appliance line, thereby reducing downtime normally associated with machine retrofits. Additionally, integrating the product marking with additional manufacturing processes allowed for substantial savings in transportation and labor, reducing the plant’s overhead. The previous decoration process used four operators to load/unload and inspect the quality of each part being printed on two different production lines. Now only one operator is required to operate two machines side by side, adding a substantial labor savings. The investment, while costly at first glance, paid off and allowed the appliance maker to keep jobs in the US and stay competitive with imports.

 

Case study 2: global, standardized production

One US-based garment manufacturer was expanding its production into developing countries to meet global market demands and reduce shipping costs of finished items to a worldwide customer base. During the change, the company examined its entire manufacturing process, down to the cost of weaving and sewing in size and care labels.

The solution resulted in the advent of tagless labels. However, before that could happen, it required an extended R&D venture to determine which ink would be appropriate and work well in multiple temperature/climate conditions around the world. The ink also needed to pass wash-cycle requirements for the wide variety of fabrics the company used to make garments. The research also needed to identify a standardized silicone pad that would work under these varying circumstances. Likewise, cliche-etch depths and artwork parameters had to be developed for proper print quality for all variables (Figure 3).

These consumables, combined with a specialized two-color automated pad-printer and a custom-made garment-printing fixture, created a turnkey solution for this global garment manufacturer. Now, whenever they open a new facility, or transfer operations from one location to another, the solution is in place for a simple startup. Additionally, re-inventing its process allowed this garment company to lead the industry in the tagless-label movement, saving time, resources, and consumers’ itchy necks.

 

Case study 3: pad printing plus precision

A medical-product manufacturer needed to increase the quality and speed of the process it used to print plastic ID tags. The challenge was that the company also wanted to verify the quality of the final product.


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