Flexography printing is the advanced version of letterpress printing. As the name suggests, it uses flexible relief plates for printing. During this process, volatile and quick drying semi-liquid ink is used to print on packaging materials and non-absorbent substrates like polyethylene, plastic, metal, laminates etc. In this era of digital printing, flexographic printing has carved a distinction for itself. Read this post to learn more about flexography printing working components and its applications in diverse industries.
Working Components of Flexographic Printing
The various components involved in the flexographic printing process are:
- Plate Cylinder: The cylinder has a nylon and a polymer plate wrapped around the unit for printing from relief plates.
- Impression Cylinder: This cylinder applies the pressure required to transfer the plate cylinder to the substrate.
- Ink Fountain: This is used to store highly volatile and liquid ink used for printing.
- Anilox Roller: It is a unique component involved in flexographic printing, which predetermines the ink that is to be transferred. There are engraved cells in the roller to store certain inks. These inks are only visible through the microscope. These rollers transfer the inks to the flexible printing plates that are mounted on the plate cylinder.
- Fountain Roller: This roller is found inside the ink fountain, and is used to metering ink to the anilox roller. The anilox roller transfers ink to the printing plate.
Applications of flexographic printing
Flexographic printing finds usage in many industrial applications including paper, polymers, foils and other non-absorbent materials. It is prominently used in packaging industries for printing-shopping bags, tetra packs, pouches etc. The printing is also done on multiwall sacks, corrugated containers, paper sacks, plastic bags, beverage cartons, containers, labels, adhesive tapes, envelopes, newspapers, and candy wrappers etc. Some of the common and important applications of flexographic printing are explained below:
- Food and Medical Packaging: One of the versatile qualities of flexographic printing is quick drying. The ink used is non-toxic and dries off quickly. This allows the printing to be done on the food containers, disposable cups, beverage containers, milk cartons, etc. Also, the ink can be used on medical bags, foils wrappers, cardboard wrapping in diverse medical units.
- Self-adhesive Labels: Almost every other retail product needs labels to be applied manually or by the machine. Self-adhesive labels also find usage in corporate settings. Since the ink dries quickly and allows quick printing on the medium or large adhesive labels, flexographic printing becomes an excellent choice for many manufacturers.
- Newspaper and Print Media: Even though e-books are gaining popularity, the demand for magazines, books, and newspapers are still high. Flexographic printing can be employed for the production of posters, flyers, and newspapers due to their ability to perform voluminous printing.
Also, flexographic printing is used for printing envelopes, containers, posters and various newsletters.
Flexography has gained popularity due to versatile design capabilities. Do you want to try this printing for your promotional stickers or custom labels? You should approach an industry expert like PLCTX. The company excels in various printing techniques.