The printing industry has invented multiple methods of applying images and colors to surfaces. Depending on the circulation, materials, and purposes, different printing techniques are chosen for this or that order. The correct choice of an appropriate method can highlight the strong sides of goods, while the wrong choice of technology can lead to the deficiency of product use.
This is why businesses should approach the issue of proper printing technology selection responsibly and seriously. Or, it is better to consult professionals who know all the subtleties of applying any kind of color to different surfaces and help pick the best solution for your case. Uniflex offers best solutions for packaging: from digital printing to flexoprinting and other innovative technologies.
TOP Printing Techniques
Below, let’s consider the most popular types of printing methods, point out their pros and cons, and consider in what spheres they are applied.
Flexo printing is a kind of direct rotary letterpress technology using elastic relief plates mounted on cylinders with the application of low-viscosity flexographic inks.
Advantages of the Flexo Technique:
- high print quality, accurate color matching, and detailed reproduction of small elements (in the case of using high-quality equipment and materials);
- low print cost (in particular, due to low ink consumption because the applied ink layer is very thin);
- perfect for applying colors on uneven surfaces;
- high print speeds on high-performance flexo presses;
- a wide range of materials.
One of the most important trumps of flexo technology is that it has virtually no restrictions on the type of printed material. Flexo technique is applicable when it is necessary to transfer an image to polyethylene, polypropylene, lavsan, foil, paper, cardboard (including corrugated cardboard), and some other materials. Thus, the flexo technique is most often used in the manufacture of such products as plastic bags, rolled paper and polymer packaging and labels and various boxes.
- Digital Printing
This is a modern technology of applying digital images to physical surfaces. The method deals with a great diversity of techniques, including laser and inkjet ones. In this case, images are sent to printers in PDF format. Thus, this method does not require the use of plates for transferring images to materials.
This technique is frequently applied to the manufacturing of signage, banners, posters, menus, labels and letters. The method is suitable for both large circulations and small runs. Its digital nature allows for quick customization to the needed volumes. Despite that the method is pretty expensive for mid and large scales.
- Offset Lithography
This technology implies the use of aluminum plates produced according to the draft of the picture to be printed. Later, these plates are put on printing machinery and applied to media. Technology is mostly used for large-scale runs.
This technology is popular for materials with rough surfaces. Thus, this solution is ideal for application on wood, cloth, canvas, and other rough-surfaced materials. It can be used for books, notepads, and stationery.
- Large Format
As becomes clear from its name, technology is used for applying large-scale images on materials with the maximum width. In comparison with the digital technique that deals with individual sheets, a large format helps applying all sorts of visual images to rolls of prints that produce one single sheet.
This solution is ideal for banners, posters, billboards, and building wrappers. Those companies that want to influence consumers, draw more attention, and improve brand recognition, frequently stick to this option.
Other spheres of application of large format include lamination, floor graphics, murals, and wallpapers.
- Screen Printing
This technique implies using a stencil or mesh to apply images to surfaces. A stencil is created according to the draft and put on a surface, and then, colors are applied.
The method is popular for applying logos, images, or signatures on clothes or fabric. Since it requires setting, it is usually preferred for large circulations where lots of images of the same type are to be printed. But, technology is not cost-effective for individual orders.
- 3D Printing
This is a distinctive technology that allows producing voluminous things. Its main difference from previous techniques is that 3D technology creates physical things, while other methods deal with flat drawing on various surfaces.
A 3D printer is a specialized piece of equipment that is managed by computer utilities. A 3D draft is created in a specialized program, like CAD. A user gives the command to start printing. The device starts creating a 3D object. A special plastic compound serves as the material for creating new things. It is supplied, heated, and applied by layers.
It is possible to print toys, cases, statuettes, souvenirs, spare parts for machinery, cars or motorcycles, etc.
- LED UV
This is the youngest method that has gain incredible popularity due to its features. The main peculiarity of technology is that under the influence of LED UV light, inks dry immediately. There is no need to wait until images dry, which significantly saves time on production. The quality of the image is perfect; colors are bright and saturated.
The technique is eco-friendly since less energy is consumed to power LED UV machinery. Moreover, such equipment has no restrictions in terms of materials.
Due to the speed of printing, the method is used for large circulations and printing newsletters, catalogs, magazines, brochures, leaflets, stationery, etc.
Each technology is perfect for particular tasks, volumes, and materials. Thus, the existence of different printing methods is justified and gives lots of opportunities for businesses to distinguish their products in the competitive market.