Choosing a Pad Printing Machine

Carousel Style Pad Printing System

This multicolour pad-printing system uses a cambination of two rotary tables and a rotating pad carousel.

Substrates are mounted on one table while cliches are mounted on the other. Above the cliches are sealed ink cups that ink the cliche by passing over the image area. After picking up the image, the pads and the clicAe tables rotate so that the pads are positioned over the substrates. The pads then transfer the image to Fhe substrates.

This novel machine (Figure 8) is a multicolour pad-printing system designed around rotary tables. It uses a combination of two rotating tables and rotating pad carousel. Substrates are mounted on one table, white cliches can be adjusted in X, Y, and rotary axes, allowing accurate positioning of the image.

Above the cliches is a system of sealed ink cups that ink the plate by passing over the image area and returning to the rest position. Cliches are inked just prior to pad wetting. After the pad picks up the image, the pad carousel and the clichecarrying table then rotates so that the pad carrying the image is over the substrate while another pad is positioned over the freshly inked second plate. The imaged pad then descends and prints the part. Simultaneously, the second pad descends and picks up the image from the second plate. This sequence continues until the multicolour image has been printed, then the rotary table is indexed. The printed piece is removed and replaced with an unprinted part.

The cam-operated system is fully mechanical, enabling up to 750 cycles/hr. Printing 250 four-colour designs an hour is achievable. This makes the machine ideal for short and medium-length runs. The press is designed in such a way that setup is easy and quick, and different pad shapes can be accommodated on the carousel to suit the design. Photopolymer chches can be used, but as with conventional machines, steel plates give a longer life.

The carousel printer is a very useful tool, particularly for subcontract printers who are offen faced with shorter runs of multicolour images. For longer runs, conventional linear, rotary, and oval systems are more economical because of their higher output.

Choosing a Pad Printing Machine - Introduction

In the padprinting industry purchasing decisions are often based on asswnptions that are simply nuts - literally.

Manually Operated Pad Printing Presses

Except in cases where pad printing will be done on a very small scale, manual machines are not even entry level anymore. However, some may be useful for testing purposes.

Open Ink Trough Pad Printing Machines

In these original semiautomatic machines, the inking mechanism is mounted above the cliche. Although more modern models ha we better features, contro/lirrg ink condition fluctuations.

Partially Covered Ink Troughs

In these machines, ink is contained in a trough behind the cliche. The ink is pulled forward by a spatula mounted on a horizontal carriage with the doctor-blade assembly.

Sealed Ink Cup Pad Printing Machines

These presses are designed to contain the ink in a cup that is turned upside down and pressed firmly against the cliche, sealing in the ink.

Reciprocating Cliches Pad Printing Machines

In these models, instead of the pad moving back and forth from cliche to substrate, the cliche moves out of the way, while the pad remains stationary.

Rotary Pad Printing Presses

These presses use a rotary drum-type sllicone pad, usually in conjunction with a steel cylinder cllche into which the desfgn is etched.

Total Colour Transfer System

This technique, used almost exclusively in ceramic decoration, combines pad and screen printing.

Carousel Style Pad Printing System

This multicolour pad-printing system uses a cambination of two rotary tables and a rotating pad carousel.

Non-Horizontal Pad Printing

Machines such as this are suited for printing onto surfaces that are vertical or angled.

Computer Numeric Control (CNC)

In presses with computer numeric control (CNC), the substrate is stationary and the pads are programmed to print one image at a time onto the item.

Pad Printing Press Options

Most manufacturers provide a variety of add-ons for their presses.

How to decide what machine to buy

To enable you to judge which press to buy, you will at least need answers to all of the questions shown under Purchasing Considerations.

Pad Printing Machine Purchasing Considerations

Trying to decide which pad-printing machine to buy? Start by answering the following questions.