Pad printing is an indirect gravure process that transfers ink from the printing form cells via a conical or cylindrical silicone pad to surfaces of any shape. The range of possible applications is wider than ever – everything from tube and bottle closures, balls, toys, buttons, computer mice, domestic appliances, fittings, pens, and lighters to all kinds of promotional articles.
Polymer plates are now often used, but photoresist-coated steel plates are another option. This makes it easy to use one and the same CTP system – the Lüscher MultiDX! – which can image non-rectangular printing plates, too. There are also rotary pad printing plates that allow direct structuring on Digilas systems from Schepers.
Dry offset printing is ideal for decorating containers such as metal drink and aerosol cans or polymer cups and tubes. Indirect ink transfer from a flexo or letterpress form via a blanket to the container surface is necessary in order to be able to apply all process inks with register accuracy in a single processing step.
Lüscher’s MultiDX! hybrid flatbed CTP system can be equipped with laser sources for imaging metal-back plates with mask ablation or direct UV imaging. It can image both very stiff and thick printing plates and non-rectangular plate designs. As in flexo printing, one alternative to polymers is the new generation of elastomers, which have a lower tendency to swell and last longer. Elastomer dry offset plates also come as metal-back products that can be applied to a vacuum drum. Along with flexo printing, this is another cost-efficient and – thanks to the undercut – high-quality application for direct laser engraving with the HELL PremiumSetter.