Pad Printing

Pad Printing Services & Suppliers | Nordell

What is Pad Printing?


Pad printing (also called tampography) is a printing process that can transfer a 2-D image onto a 3-D object. This is achieved using an indirect offset (gravure) printing process that involves an image being transferred from the cliché via a silicone pad onto a substrate. Pad printing is used for printing on otherwise difficult to print on products in many industries including medical, automotive, promotional, apparel, and electronic objects, as well as appliances, sports equipment, and toys. It can also be used to deposit functional materials such as conductive inks, adhesives, dyes, and lubricants.


How do we pad print?


Pad printing is done in 6 steps:


  • A sealed ink cup sits above the etched artwork area of the pad printing plate, this covers the image and fills it with ink. This is referred to as the home position
  • The sealed ink cup is moved away, removing any extra ink and leaving the engraved image exposed which will have been filled with ink. This ink will become almost like blu tack, this is how it adheres to the transfer pad and eventually the product.
  • The transfer pad presses onto the printing plate for a short moment, as the pad is compressed it will push air outward. This causes the ink to lift from the artwork area and onto the pad.
  • As that is then lifted away, the ink film in the artwork area is picked up on the pad, a small amount of this ink will remain on the plate.
  • As the transfer pad moves to the product, step 1 is repeated
  • The transfer pad compressed down onto the product, moving the ink layer from the pad to the surface of the product. It will then return to the home position after lifting off the substrate, this completes a single "print cycle"


Transferring functionality


Ink isn't the only thing that is capable of being transferred using pad printing. It may be the most common use of pad printing but there are a number of other materials that can be used in this process that have more functionality compared to cosmetic ink.


Adhesives - many ways of applying adhesive to a product are difficult, its either time consuming and labour-intensive process or requires too much waste to be created, this means that adhesive application methods are well sought after. Pad printings transfer methods of precise liquid application are an ideal solution to this issue, the sealed ink cup is capable of avoiding dry adhesive, and the pad printing plate is capable of being engraved to the desired depth and line thickness required.


Flavours, additives, and dyes - Nordell is primarily an injection moulding company and as such doesn't work with food however pad printing is a very versatile solution to a lot of problems, it can even be used to apply flavours, additives, and even dyes to foodstuffs such as cookies, gumballs that require harder pads or even pills/tablets that would require a more delicate touch.


Lubricants - Not every material is going to flow perfectly, this is where a lubricant can come in, precision is key in applying this material, and much like with adhesive it can often require a more delicate, precise touch which is labour and cost-intensive; pad printing fixes this by being precise, mechanical and way more cost-effective. Risking catastrophic failure is a thing of the past when pad printing is capable of doing it without an issue.


What Nordell can do


Being a leading UK injection moulding company, we understand the intricacies of the manufacturing process, Nordell will work with you to get your product from the design stage to completion, this means going through as much of the manufacturing process as possible. As part of this Nordell is a bespoke pad printing supplier, we provide printed and varnished products for both low and high-volume requirements with both open and closed ink options.


If you're looking for a Pad Printing Company or Pad Printing Supplier, Nordell is ready to work with you to fulfill your production needs.

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