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Pad Printing Plate Making

Plate Making

We laser engrave steel back pad printing clichés, with straight-walled etch, durable and 100% repeatable.

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Pad Printing Plate Making Services

For those customers who do not want to make pad printing clichés (plates) in house, ICN offers plate making services. All plates are etched using one of our direct-to-plate Cobalt laser systems so the quality is excellent, turnaround is quick and there are no film positive charges. Both small and large orders are completed very quickly – within 2-3 business days from aproval of artwork.

Types of Pad Printing Clichés that We Make

  • Cobalt Steel Back Plates
  • Laser Orange
  • Laser Red
  • Acculaze Plates
  • Thick steel plates for long runs (over 1,000,000 impressions)
We etch pad printing plates using our Cobalt 1000 laser engraver. Laser engraved pad printing plates are first generation (computer to plate laser etching does not require the use of positives) so they are higher quality than photopolymer ones. Read more about the benefits of laser plate making. These and other laser plate materials are available for sale so you can make plates in house - using a Cobalt laser engraver or any CO2 or YAG laser system with advanced software, small spot size and quality power control.

How to Place a Plate Making Order

Please fill out the form below and email it, together with your artwork, to your local salesperson or directly to our Etched Plates Deparment at etchedplates@inkcups.com. You can also fax it to 1-(978)-646-8981.

Plate Making Order Form

To fill out this form you will need to know the following:
  1. Plate size.
  2. Whether the plate needs to be punched and if yes, for what pad printing machine.
  3. Set back from the edge of the plate to the center of the artwork.
  4. Depth of etching. It can be between .008” and .012”. If you are not sure about the needed depth and don’t specify it, we’ll set it to 0.01” or to the depth we recommend for Tagless applications. If after you test the plate, it proves too deep or shallow, we will make adjustments.
  5. Actual size of the image (unless image size is properly adjusted in your graphic file).
    Attention: artwork size is limited by the size of your ink cup! Here are recommended and maximum sizes for the 90mm and 150mm cups:
    Artwork sizing for 90mm ink cup
    Artwork sizing for 150mm ink cup


We will place your artwork into one of our Approval Templates and send the file to you for approval. Please review your Approvals carefully. Note that Inkcups Now will not be reponsible for Approvals that contain errors.
Sample Approval Templates:
Artwork approval template for 100 x 224 plate
Artwork approval template for 100 x 250 plate
Artwork approval template for 160 x 360 plate

Artwork Guidelines:

  • Artwork should be very high quality: with clean edges, preferably 1000 or more dpi
    (the quality of the graphics that you provide translates into the quality of the etched image).
  • Artwork should preferably be in Adobe Illustrator format (.ai) or, for 4-color graphics, Adobe Photoshop format (.psd).

How to Submit Large-Size Artwork:

If your graphic file is smaller than 10 MB, you can email it to etchedplates@inkcups.com.
If the file is bigger than 10 MB, use www.yousendit.com. All you need is create a free account on this website, then send the file through it.

If you have problems with the submission, please call Etched Plate Department at 978-646-8980, extension 670, and ask about submitting artwork through:
  • Remote computer-to-computer connection
  • FTP server
  • CD, mailed or submitted in person

In Case You Are Curious: How We Prepare Artwork for Plate-Making

After you submit graphics for a plate making order, we prepare the image for transfer onto plates. The process consists of separating colors (for multicolor images), setting etch depth and positioning the image on the plate. When the image is not very high quality, it adds 2 other steps:
  • enhancing the image using Silhouette tool (a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator)
  • bolding the artwork for best prints
  • sending the image back to the customer for approval
Please note that even with the enhancement, the quality of etching can not significantly exceed the quality of the image you provide. So give us the best you have!

Team Inkcups Local Sales & Tech Support
We have direct sales people in the US (MA, NY, CA, IA, GA), Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras. We also have respresentatives in Colombia and Dominican Republic.

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