What is pad printing?

Posted March 30, 2011

Pad printing is an effective method for transferring an image or text onto three-dimensional surfaces, and thus is preferred for imprinting on stress balls, toys, mugs, and other promotional items with curved imprint areas.  We employ what is known as a sealed ink cup system, in which a recessed plate is covered with solvent-based ink. When the plate is wiped clean, the ink remains in the recessed area. A silicone pad then presses against the plate, pulls the ink out of the recesses, and is pressed directly against the product. The ink is then exposed to a drying agent, usually a flash of UV light, which causes the ink to dry and adhere to the product.

Different surface materials, or substrates, require different formulae of ink to insure proper adhesion, and climate sometimes affects the drying process. This may create delays in rush orders as it is vital that all pad-imprinted items be completely dry before they are packed and shipped.

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