Pad printing is a traditional printing method which transfers a 2D image onto a 3D object. This process has become popularized to decorate products that are otherwise difficult to print on. This includes oddly shaped items with concave and rigid surfaces. The pad printing process has remained relatively the same over the years, yet the pad printing equipment itself had been innovated by specialty printing companies such as Inkcups to produce higher quality results in a shorter amount of time. If you are looking to begin pad printing operations at your company, there are 6 main pad printing consumables that you will need:
The most important pad printing consumable is ink. After all, there is no print without the ink. The type of pad printing ink that is best for your application depends on the substrate you are printing on. At Inkcups, we offer pad printing inks for decorating materials such as glass, ceramics, wood, metals, plastics, silicone, and more. The main concerns for customers buying pad printing ink is whether or not the adhesion will be strong enough to the substrate and whether or not the ink color will match the exact shades of a company’s branding. Luckily, Inkcups will provide adhesion testing on your product samples and exact color matching – for free! We want to address your concerns before you even buy our product so we can focus on creating loyal long term relationships centered on customer satisfaction.
Browse: Inkcups’ Pad Printing Inks
Learn More: All about pad printing ink
Find the Right Ink: Ink application chart
All of Inkcups’ pad printing inks are designed to be mixed with specially formulated solvents directly before the time of application. Solvents assist the transfer of pad printing ink from the pad to the substrate. Each solvent is designed to be used with certain ink series. For instance, SB-M Solvent should be used with only the SB series ink, while the Medium Solvent can be used with the BA, BT, CG, J3, MB, SB or PN series ink. These solvents vary by evaporation rate and are chosen based upon environment, substrate, and print speed. Our ink experts at Inkcups will test and recommend the solvent best suited for your application and production environment.
Browse: Pad Printing Solvents
Learn more: Pad Printing Ink Overview
Hardeners can be added to pad printing ink to increase abrasion resistance and enhance durability once the ink is cured. Unlike solvents, hardeners are not required for every pad printing process. Like solvents, hardeners are recommended based upon the environment, substrate, and production speed. Also, hardeners are designed to be used with specific ink series just like solvents. The ideal hardener to ink ratio will be tested and recommended by the ink experts at Inkcups.
Browse: Pad Printing Hardener
Learn More: Pad Printing Ink Mixing Tips
Once you have the perfect ink – with the exact color match, and complete adhesion testing to assure the best ink series and ratios of solvnet and hardener, you’re going to need a pad printing plate. These plates are engraved with the desired artwork by either photopolymer or laser plate-making methods. Inkcups offers a wide variety of colors and types of plates, each with unique properties specifically designed to accommodate varying applications and production environments. Depending on the type and material, our pad printing plates can withstand anywhere between 10,000 and 1 million impressions. The number of impressions may vary based upon care, storage, and production environment. We offer in-house plate making services at Inkcups. For those who want to have complete control over plate production, we offer top of the line computer-to-plate laser plate makers. Etch your own plate in under 2 minutes straight from your computer. We offer both fiber and CO2 lasers to meet your plate making needs – without positives or chemicals.
Browse: Pad Printing Plates
Services: Laser Plate Making Technical Support
As the name pad printing suggests, pads are vital to the pad printing process. Pads are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, durometers, and materials. The type of pad you choose depends on the substrate you are printing on, the shape and hardness of the object you are printing on, and the size of the artwork you wish to print. Inkcups offers a greater variety of silicone printing pads than any other pad printing companies in the industry. The combination of the correct pad printing ink, pad printing plate, and pad printing pad leads to crisp, high-resolution images with superior abrasion resistance. The experts at Inkcups will help you determine exactly which pad shape, size and durometer is best for your application.
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Inkcups has changed the ink cup market with their breakthrough invention of The VersaCup® (patent 2003). Before the VersaCup®, ink cups and rings had to be specifically designed for each different pad printing machine. Now, the VersaCup® offers universal ability which can be used on almost every sealed cup pad printing machines, regardless of manufacturer or model. The two sided ceramic rings are durable and long lasting (since they can be flipped for double the life of single rings), which substantially reduces the price of consumables. The ink cups themselves magnetically attach to the pad printing machine and are made with an ink resistant material. These features reduce ink waste and contribute to lowering the cost of pad printing consumables.
Browse: Pad Printing Ink Cups and Rings
Learn More: Ink Cups for Pad Printing Machines Overview
Inkcups is the only true turn-key provider of pad printing consumables including ink, fixtures, and more. We offer top of the line pad printing inks, solvents, hardeners, plates, pads, ink cups and rings. Our goal is to simplify the purchasing process for consumers by providing a one-stop shop for all their pad printing needs. In addition to our extensive line of products, we also offer global technical support. Our pad printing experts offer onsite training and technical support because we understand the importance of machine up-time. We will sample print on your parts, suggest efficient production layouts, set up equipment, train employees, and deliver all supplies. We are confident Inkcups’ can help you produce higher quality products at reduced prices. Our team will even present the ROI to your shareholders. Inkcups is proud to offer all of the supplies, technical support, and additional services and supplies that have led us to maintain a leading position in the specialty printing market.
Pad printing is the perfect solution for apparel label printing as well. Not sure what tagless printing is? Learn more about our neck label printing options.
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