In the photograph above the B150 large image pad printing machine is equipped with a custom-made notebook fixture to ensure easy load, unload, and perfect registration with every print.
The typical pad printer consists of a few very important parts: the pad, the laser plate, the ink cup, and the fixture. The fixture’s primary purpose is to create a surface for optimal alignment during the printing process. Fixtures can vary greatly in size, material and shape depending on the application, but overall the function is the same.
Not only does a pad printing fixture help for proper alignment for registration and loading but it also helps provide the correct support to the printed area. Whether you plan to pad print on shirt collars, promotional products, or anything in between, a fixture, (sometimes referred to as tooling) is necessary for achieving the best possible print.
Often pad printing is sought after for its unparalleled ability to print on otherwise difficult surfaces. This ability is in part because pad printing tooling can be so customizable. More times than not the optimal area to print on is in an odd place. With proper tooling, the part can be held firm in the right angle to withstand the pressure of the pad upon impact. The best pad printing fixtures allow for easy load and unload to ensure that the printing process remains quick and efficient.
Pad printing is used in a wide variety of industries; for industrial, promotional, automotive, and apparel printing needs. With that wide of a range of products to print on, creating custom tooling is a necessity. Tagless applications often have a recognizable tooling fixture to create an easy guide for the printing operator to align the t-shirt or other garment for printing. Generally a flat surface, tagless tooling can range in width dependent on the side of the ink cup and respective printing size. Other than printing on apparel, pad printing fixtures can vary greatly. Tooling for pad printing can be made from a wide variety of materials including nylon, plastic, and metals.
Depending on the pad printer, the fixture may need the ability to support the product through a multi-color print. For this, the custom fixture may need to rotate or require additional security to move from the first color to the second and so on. For example, the ICN-2200LS 2-color linear conveyor pad printing machine features tooling to ensure that one or two color parts print with perfect registration.
Let’s explore two different other examples:
Pad printers specifically for tagless applications come equipped with a tagless tooling fixture. These can either be with clips or without clips depending on the preference of the printing operator. Clips create an additional guide for proper alignment.
Tooling for promotional products such as golf tees, USB sticks, tooth brushes and more can be specially made to prevent any given part from moving. Do you have an interesting application that is particularly troublesome to hold firm when printing? Contact us to create a custom fixture for you.
There are so many different and untapped products just waiting to be pad printed on. Today, we only touched upon two very popular tooling fixtures for pad printing, but the list goes on and on. With proper tooling, the printing process can be a breeze. Connect with your local sales representative to get started on your next endeavor.Back to Blog Home