Choosing a Pad Printing Machine

Pad Printing Machine Purchasing Considerations

Trying to decide which pad-printing machine to buy? Start by answering the following questions. These answers wilI help you to identify and understand your printing needs so that you can seIect the equipment most suited to meeting them.

  1. What range of components must the machine be able to print? Size of items? Size of prints?
  2. Are the items flat, cylindrical, curved, or contoured?
  3. What is the finest line that has to be printed?
  4. How big is the largest area of solid colour?
  5. Surface finish of the items?
  6. Position of print?
  7. Positional tolerances?
  8. Material specifications, additives, filters, etc.?
  9. Colour(s) of material?
  10. Single or multicolour print?
  11. Colour(s) to be printed e.g., Pantoned, B.S., DIN, etc.?
  12. Are the items clean prior to printing?
  13. Do they need pretreating? If so, which process is most suitable?
  14. Do they need post-treating? If so, which process is most suitable?
  15. Packaging to and from print station?
  16. How soon after printing must the items be handfed?
  17. Dimensional tolerances of item?
  18. Application of item?
  19. Test requirements?
  20. Environmental conditions?
  21. Size of print batches?
  22. Frequency of batches?
  23. Total annual quality?
  24. Print rate needed?
  25. Manual loading/unloading?
  26. Automatic loading/unloading?
  27. What are the quality requirements (viewing distance, colour matching, etc.)?
  28. Visuaf inspection system?
  29. What is the wastage allowance?
  30. Are samples of the item to be printed available?
  31. If not, are models available?
  32. Are final drawings available?
  33. When will preproduction samples of the product to be printed be available?
  34. When will the accepted items be available?
  35. Capital allocated for equipment purchases?
  36. Budget cost per print?
  37. Is production space available, and is it clean? Does it have stable ambient conditions? Is it well lit?
  38. What services are avaiable?
  39. Have storage and disposal of inks, soivents, and chemicals been considered?
  40. Are employees available to run the equipment, and are they experienced?
  41. What training do we need?
  42. Who will have management responsibility for the printing?
  43. Who will be involved in the purchasing desicion? (Ownership of the process is critical)
  44. What is the delivery schedule for the equipment?
  45. When is the first production batch required by the customer?

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.