Flexography, as the name suggests, is a flexible printing method, which can be used on just about any substrate from paper to plastic and fabrics to metals. It is a rotary in-line printing method, and was initially used for rubber stamp printing. The inks used in these printing processes dry quickly and are viscous. These inks can be used on absorbent, as well as non-absorbent surfaces. This method is suitable for rapid printing of stickers and labels for your commercial products. It enables plenty of customization, and is also cost-effective. This post discusses the details of flexographic printing and its benefits.
More about Flexographic Printing
This method is not new, but it has evolved with the advancements in technology and hence grown. Today, it is difficult to imagine any packaged product sitting atop a retail shelf without flexographic printing. This method uses a flexible printing plate made of photopolymer, which allows usage on any flexible surface or substrate such as a fabric. This method has two stages- prepress and printing.
This stage typically includes arrangements done before printing such as plate making. The design is made and transferred onto the plate or stamp. Companies may have in-house facilities for making plates or they may outsource this task to traders. Many plates are made for one design, one for each color. The plates are overlaid on each other to mix various shades and that is how the designing task is completed.
In this stage, the actual printing takes place. The decision is made on the number of colors to be used and accordingly the number of printing stations with their corresponding colors are set up. The substrate goes through all of these printing stations, wherein the colors are overlaid to form various shades.
Benefits of Flexographic Printing
There are several benefits of flexographic printing. Here are some of them:
- Fast speed of production:
Printing by this method can be done at a rapid rate. You may have to spend some time on the setup; however, it compensates for the speed of printing. Also, with further technical advancements, this time is reducing as well.
This printing process is not only applicable to a wide variety of substrates but it also uses several types of inks such as water-based, solvent-based, and so on. It is flexible to the point that the permeability of the material does not matter; it can be porous or non-porous.
The fast speed and low maintenance costs help save money in the long run. Also, packaging materials and flexographic inks are pretty affordable, and hence, overall this printing process is cost-effective.
- Low on maintenance:
The machines and equipment used for flexographic printing are robust, affordable, and low on maintenance.
- Color pallet:
You can have a wide color pallet ranging up to even 10 colors. It commonly includes four colors— magenta, black, yellow, and cyan. But you always increase the number to accommodate more colors, and this makes the process commercially viable.
Like every other field, this process can be partially or fully automated. The setting up process, which includes sheeting and laminating can be integrated till the end and carried out in one pass. This also helps increase the speed further.
- Environmental safety:
This printing method is environmentally friendly as the plates are washable and recyclable, as well as water-based inks are used. There may be minimal toxins used in the production process, which do not impact the environment to a large extent.
Application Areas of Flexographic Printing
There are several application areas where this method is used. Some of them are:
- Gift wrapping papers
- Foldable cartons
- Packaged food
- Double-sided printed labels
For high-quality stickers or any kind of labels with flexographic printing, ensure you source them from a reliable manufacturer and supplier. Performance Label Company (PLC) specializes in providing a variety of flexographic printed pressure-sensitive labels, flexible packets, and stickers for efficient and stylish packaging of your products.