Choosing a Pad Printing Machine

Pad Printing Machines with Reciprocating Cliches

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. This type of machine results in less vibration of the pad and faster machine cycling

Sometimes, machine manufacturers will opt to keep the pad on the same vertical plane rather than have it move back and forth from cliche to substrate in the conventional manner. For this to happen, the cliche has to move out of the way.

Manufacturers accomplish this by using reciprocating cliches (Figure. 5) that work much like reciprocating-table screen-printing presses. This press design is available with either closed cups or open ink troughs.

The single-p!ane pad movement in this press provides a cost saving for the machine manufacturer because there is one less actuation on the machine. From the user's point of view, since the pad only has to move in the vertical plane, it vibrates less, and the machine can cycle faster. Automatic loading can take advantage of thls rapid cycling.

One application for this system is high-speed coding machines, which some manufacturers claim, run at up to 10,000 cycles/hr. Here, a small cliche is used with a sealed ink cup. Larger machines with cliche areas of 8 x 18 in. (20.3 x 45.7 cm) have been produced using this method, but they need very substantial bearings to support the cliche in the pickup position because the loading pressure exerted by a large pad is considerable. Depending on the press, the ink trough may be shrouded at rest or for half the cycle during operation, helping to maintain the solvent balance.

Manufacturers claim that since the pad strokes below the base of the machine, it has a larger work area. The downside to this is that the machine must be well guarded because the forward movement of the cliche can potentially be a severe trapping hazard.

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.