Flexography is one of the conventional printing techniques used for printing logos, images, and contact information onto plastic films, corrugated boards, and fabrics. You may ask how this printing process is different from other conventional printing techniques, and what are its benefits? Read the post to find the answers.
What is Flexography?
Flexography, often referred as flexographic printing or flexo printing, uses a flexible relief plate made from soft plastic, rubber, and UV polymer. These plates feature a raised image of the design to be printed. These flexible plates are wrapped around a cylinder coated with ink. Each plate has a different colored ink: magenta, yellow, black, or cyan. During the process of printing, the relief comes in contact with the ink, and produces print on the desired surface. This method is one of the most preferred techniques due to sharp detailing that it imparts to designs.
What are the Processes Involved in Flexography?
The flexographic printing process involves the following:
- Platemaking: The plate making is done in any of the following ways:
- A film negative is placed on the plate coated with a light-sensitive polymer and then exposed to UV light. The polymer solidifies when the light touches the film. The process slightly differs based on the type of the photo-polymer used – solid sheets, or liquid photo-polymer.
- A computer-guided laser is used to etch a design on the printing plate.
- A metal plate is produced from the negative, and is molded to produce a printing plate.
- Printing: A print is created by producing a positive mirrored master as a 3D design in the polymer or rubber. Flexographic prints are also produced by digital or analog plate making.
Benefits of Flexographic Printing
The flexographic printing has been around since 1890, but what makes it one of the most popular printing process? The following benefits will answer you why.
- Ideal for Printing a Variety of Materials: Flexographic printing is ideal for printing a wide range of materials including plastic, acetate films, foils, brown paper, etc.
- Uses Wide Range of Inks: Flexography uses a wide range of inks – water based to oil based.
- Elaborate Detailing: Flexographic design plates can produce precise small prints, fine artwork, and amazing color quality.
- Rich Color Tones: The process of flexography is finalized through the four-color printing or CMYK.
- Ideal for Voluminous Printing: Flexo printing machines are capable of meeting volume printing requirements. In fact, this printing technique is recommended for printing runs above 1000.