Pad Printing Pads
To produce high-quality pad printed graphics, it is vital to select pad printing pads that are the best for your printing job. Understanding pad printing pads, knowing how to keep pads in the best working condition and how to restore them can have a major impact on the quality of a print job as well as decrease the overall cost of printing supplies. Selecting the right printing pad is crucial for image quality. Pad printing pad characteristics that affect imprint are shape, size, hardness, surface finish, and material.
Pad Printing Process
Pad printing pads play a crucial role in the pad printing process. Pad printing pads are responsible for picking up the image from the etched plate and transferring it over to the item that is being printed. Without general regard for shape, size, and durometer, the printing process can produce incomplete logos, skewed text and even loss in adhesion.
Check out this infographic outlining the pad printing process
Pad Printing Pad Shape
The pad printing pad shape is the most important factor. It is mostly the shape that determines how well the pad printing pad achieves its rolling action.
There are many different pad printing pad shapes for the purpose of imprinted items.
Pad Printing Pad Size
In general, the larger the pad printing pad, the less image distortion. The pad should be at least 20-30% larger than the desired image size. For the best quality, use the largest pad size that is practical for the item to be printed. For larger items, the maximum pad size will be dictated by the printing machine’s parameters, namely by the distance between the image and machine’s body and its ability to compress large, hard pad printing pads.
Pad Printing Pad Durometer
Durometer (hardness) of the pad mostly depends on the amount of silicone oil that is used for pad molding. Pad durometer is measured by shore durometer tool; the same term refers to the measurement. “Shore 00” is a commonly used scale. The table below shows typical shore durometers that suit most of pad printing applications.
In general, the hardest (highest durometer), sharpest angle, printing pad will provide the best quality printed image. Exceptions to this rule relate to printing machine pad compression capability, pad height restriction and substrate characteristics including shape, surface texture and the ability to resist pressure. The optimum size of the printing pad should be a minimum of 20% larger than the desired image size.
While most pad printing pads are made of silicone, the conditioning of the pad may be slightly oily or dry depending on the application. For example, Inkcups manufactures 7 different types of pad printing materials in-house.
The different pad materials Inkcups carries are:
This pad was developed for promotional products. It promotes high resistance to solvents and overall wear and tear
This durable silicone has excellent ink transfer qualities and is extremely resistant to abrasion and tears. It has no break in time, provides exceptional fine line detail and has excellent resistance to “image burn-in” and “memory.” This high-tensile strength silicone has exceptional life and works with all ink types.
This silicone is somewhat oily and has very good abrasion, chemical and cut resistance. Its ink release qualities are superior, and the silicone generally works well with two-components inks. The life of the pad is excellent; however, this silicone has been found to be susceptible to static related printing problems.
This silicone pad is a general-purpose pad. It can be used with many different types of inks.
This popular silicone is a relatively “dry” and is known for its instant break in time and its ability to get full ink release in high quality prints. This pad has very good life with average cut resistance.
This silicone features time release conditioning agent that keeps the pad durometer consistent for the life of the pad. Of all ICN pad materials, CrystalFlex has the highest density molecular structure so it does not absorb solvents that end up drying the pad. The semitransparent material allows the pad print operator to instantly see and remove ink leftovers (if any) from the pad, facilitating clean crisp prints. CrystalFlex perfectly suits printing on textured items, such as golf balls.
This specialty silicone is slightly oily and has very good ink release characteristics. It is a very long-life silicone, especially when used with two-component ink.
When to change a pad printing pad
All pad printing pads have a certain life, but this can be extended by properly caring for your pads. Pad printing pads should be cleaned between use and ink should never be left on a pad overnight. Although
Learn more about when to change a pad printing pad
Pad Printing Pads by Inkcups
Inkcups is a major producer of pad printing pads for all types of pad printing machines. We carry the broadest range of pad printing pad silicone in the industry, accompanied by highly competitive pricing as well as the service and support you have come to expect from the best.
All silicone pad printing pad formulations are designed to deliver crisp, high-resolution images with superior wear characteristics. Inkcups specializes in providing pad printing pads that break-in rapidly, delivers the highest quality images and exhibit long-lasting durability. Hundreds of standard shapes are available; specialty shape pads are produced on a regular basis.
Accessory Products for Printing Pads
The Nu-Life print pad cleaner provides superior cleaning of pad surfaces. It contains proprietary components and is available only from Inkcups. Simply the best cleaner on the market!
The Nu-Pad conditioner and restorer replenishes printing pad oils lost due to abrasion and solvent influences. This unique product significantly extends print pad life and facilitates crisp image transfer.