Tag Archive: clean pads

  1. Tech Tip Tuesday: Tools Required To Operate Pad Printing Machines

    Leave a Comment

    [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In the traditional sense there are very few tools required to operate pad printing machines.  In most cases you will find that a single M4 Allen key will be all that you put to the machine in order to get it setup and functioning.

    However there are a few tools outside of formed metal that come in much more handy.  Common sense, diligence and a little elbow grease.  If the former two attributes are employed, from day one, the latter decreases exponentially as do the issues that impose themselves when allowing the process and machine to get a bit messy.

    For instance, one of the leading causes of premature wear of Printing Plates is dried ink between the mount surface of the cliché and the cliché support.  Simply wiping both surfaces prior to setup contributes greatly to maximizing the production life of the cliché.  When ink infiltrates the surface between the two mating parts, the inkcup tends to work at what becomes a raised portion of the cliché.  You will find that a divot will develop as the inkcup shaves away, ever so slightly, the material.  The next time the cliché is used, the divot that has developed will catch ink.  If near on in the image area the cliché will be rendered useless.

    Tip number one imparted during all training sessions is to keep the process and equipment as clean as is feasible.  Excess ink will seep into places that may seem innocuous at the time but down the road, after the ink has had a chance to dry and cure, it will act as an adhesive and beget many a cuss word as screws are stripped and adjustments made impossible due to parts sticking together.

    Cleanliness makes for a happy process![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row gap=”10″ equal_height=”yes” content_placement=”top”][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1558615514458{border-top-width: 1px !important;border-right-width: 1px !important;border-bottom-width: 1px !important;border-left-width: 1px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0.2) !important;*background-color: rgb(0,0,0) !important;border-left-color: #000000 !important;border-left-style: solid !important;border-right-color: #000000 !important;border-right-style: solid !important;border-top-color: #000000 !important;border-top-style: solid !important;border-bottom-color: #000000 !important;border-bottom-style: solid !important;border-radius: 5px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Want to learn more about pad printing?  Contact our Sales Team:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1558615558893{border-top-width: 1px !important;border-right-width: 1px !important;border-bottom-width: 1px !important;border-left-width: 1px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0.2) !important;*background-color: rgb(0,0,0) !important;border-left-color: #000000 !important;border-left-style: solid !important;border-right-color: #000000 !important;border-right-style: solid !important;border-top-color: #000000 !important;border-top-style: solid !important;border-bottom-color: #000000 !important;border-bottom-style: solid !important;border-radius: 5px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Got a Tech Support question?  Contact our Team:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

  2. Tech Tip Tuesdays: Frequently Asked Pad Printing Pad Questions?

    Leave a Comment

    How long should my pad printing pad last?
    Depending on how “rugged” a surface you’re printing on, a pad should last between 50,000 and 100,000 impressions. Improper use, careless machine operation or stray grit however, can decrease the pad’s life.

    What should i watch for when I’m pad printing?
    Make sure your substrate is free of sharp particles and debris. Avoid printing on sharp edges, which can puncture the pad. Use as little pad pressure (downstroke) as you can to pick up and deposit your image. (Tip: Too light an image could be an improperly etched cliche’)

    What causes the most damage to pads?
    Overly aggressive solvents, mechanical damage, poor storage practices, dirt/dust/debris and careless use are the most common causes of damage to pads. Additionally, some inks have aggressive solvents as part of their mix that will be absorbed by the pad and cause the image to “spread” on the pad. This isn’t permanent, as the solvent will evaporate if warmed or left to stand.

    How should I clean my pad?
    The best way to remove ink and debris from your pad surface is with regular packing tape. You may also use a mild solvent, such as alcohol. Always clean your pad before starting a printing job and never use a sharp object on your pad.

    What is the best way to store my pad?
    If a pad arrives in a protective shell or with a protective cover, remove it and do not reuse. It could trap grit and debris that can damage the pad. Never store a pad on top of or compressed against another pad. Handle and store your pads carefully.

    What’s the nest way to extend my pad’s life?
    We sell 8 oz. bottles of Pad Rejuvenator (Ask for Part Number PAD OIL when you call our customer service department.) The other way we recommend extending a pad’s life is to have two pads that you alternate one shift on, one shift off, to “rest” the pad and let it restore to its uncompressed state.

    How do I prevent pad wear?
    Correct design and tooling of fixtures will help eliminate pad wear … a major cause of image distortion.

     

  3. Ink Adhesion Part 3: Ink Mixing, Contamination, Blooming and Mold Release Agents

    2 Comments

    Before printing on any parts there are several factors which are of vital importance: ink mixing, product cleanliness and substrate additives. Regardless of proper ink preparation and chemistry, surface contamination, blooming and mold release agents may all interfere with your ability to achieve satisfactory adhesion.

    The two most important factors that must be addressed when dealing with ink mixing are: How are you mixing the ink? What components are you using? Inks are formulated to be mixed at specific ratios, and any deviation may result in adhesion failure. You must choose the correct ink and mix it to the exact manufacturer specifications. It is a common misconception that adding hardener over manufacturing specifications will allow for better adhesion.

    Surface contamination is a huge factor in whether or not the ink will adhere to any given object. The first reason contamination may occur is because people are not handling the object correctly. Oils on the handler’s hands can be transferred onto the objects. Contamination can also occur as a result of secondary processes being performed on the parts. For instance, if you choose to wash the objects with a detergent, this may leave a residue behind on the object and the ink may not adhere properly. Here at EPS we use alcohol. This is a standard solution which readily flashes off and is used to wipe the parts of any dust, oils or any contaminants before printing. With proper handling, cleaning the parts may be unnecessary, but wiping with alcohol does assure that there will be a clean surface to print on.

    Blooming is a term used in the plastic industry and it denotes a plasticizer or other additive coming to the surface of a part over time. The difficulty with this contamination is that you can wipe the surface of the part free of contaminates but over time the part will re-bloom and the contaminants will interfere with the bond between the ink and the parts.

    Mold release agents (also known as de-molding agent, form oil, parting agent or release) are substances used in molding and casting that aid in the separation of a mold from the material being molded and reduce imperfections in the surface. While these additives make the plastic manufacturing process simpler, they can wreak havoc on attempts to achieve adhesion.

    In the end, experience is the best weapon in attaining adhesion. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Technical Service.  For more information about Engineered Printing Solutions’ custom solutions, standard pad printers, industrial digital ink jet, consumables and other auxiliary equipment, email sales@epsvt.com or call 1-800-272-7764.

  4. Ink Adhesion Part 1: General Education

    Leave a Comment

    Have you ever looked down at a water bottle and wondered how the logo got there? Personally I know I have. Before the colors and image can get put together on the object the first question that needs to be answered is how to choose the right ink for the job. Simply put, ink adhesion is ink that sticks to any given product to a known specification. One of the most common tasks our Technical Service team are charged with is to “find me an ink that sticks to the surface of my product.” It wouldn’t be realistic if I told you that our Technical Service team has magic powers and can automatically determine the perfect ink for the material being printed on. Even though inks are produced to stick to a particular substrate; the question is which ink is best suited to adhere to your particular substrate based on your requirements?

    There are many different substrates and even more sub-sets within each . Not all polypropylene’s (PP), for example, are created equal. An ink that may exhibit flawless adhesion to one PP product may not adhere at all to another. We therefore need to match the ink series with the particular substrate being presented. However if you supply our Technical Service team with the parts you wish to print on, they will be able to begin working their “magic”. They will be able to first make an educated guess as to which ink will meet the customers’ expectations based on experience, then begin testing the inks and provide samples for the individual customer’s review.

    For information about Pad Print Machinery of Vermont’s custom solutions, standard pad printers, industrial digital ink jet, consumables and other auxiliary equipment, visit Engineered Printing Solutions, email sales@www.epsvt.com or call 1-800-272-7764.

  5. The Barcode Scanner

    Leave a Comment

    The days of looking up the parameters on a job set up sheet and entering them by hand are no more!

    In the world of engineering anything is feasible when you really think about it. Engineered Printing Solutions has taken the standard hand held barcode scanner and integrated it into our machines, creating new generation of custom pad printers.

    When the barcode scanner option is installed in the printing system, the risk of improper parameters being loaded when changing from one print job to the next is virtually eliminated. All the operator and setup individual has to do in order to load the correct printing parameters is to plug in the hand held barcode scanner and scan the barcode for the product. The system then automatically loads the print parameters for that product.

    While this option has been popular with our customers in the medical industry due to stringent process validation requirements; we feel many other industries would benefit from this feature as it requires much less operator and setup involvement in the configuration of the system for the new print job. There by reducing the time required and virtually eliminating parameter errors, thus reducing misprinted parts. If however the operator chooses to manually enter the code they are still able to hook up a keyboard and enter the program information.

    Our engineers at Pad Print Machinery of Vermont can install this option into almost any of our machines that are custom built in our Facility. The bar code scanner option can be configured to be compatible with almost all barcodes. At the moment Pad Print of Machinery is using 1st and 2nd barcodes. But our engineers are able to adhere to whatever barcode needs to be read by the product at hand.

    For information about Engineered Printing Solutions custom solutions, standard pad printers, industrial digital ink jet, consumables and other auxiliary equipment, visit Ink Adhesion Part 3: Ink Mixing, Contamination, Blooming and Mold Release Agents, email sales@www.epsvt.com or call 1-800-272-7764.

  6. The Future of Pad Printing

    Leave a Comment

    For the past three years Engineered Printing Solutions has been utilizing robotics to increase production, lower operator costs and improve the overall decorating process of various parts. The use of robotics has evolved from (a) pick and place systems to (b) SCARA robots loading tooling to (c) 6 axis robots with vision orienting and loading tooling. SCARA robots were then utilized as the actual printing arm with the capability of changing pad styles during the print process. A robot being used as a printing arm has been proven to be the most effective way to print on various three dimensional products that require multiple prints in different locations.  In prior designs an elaborate fixture would be designed to rotate the part to different print positions so the 4 axis SCARA robot could print down on the specific location.  The development of the smaller 6 axis articulating robots with increased power has led to advancement in our current robotic pad printer designs replacing the SCARA robot with a 6 axis Robot.  The part fixture now remains stationary because the 6 axis robot allows you to print at any angle. This eliminates the need for an elaborate multi axis servo driven fixture. The pad printing cycle is also shortened because the robot is no longer waiting for part rotations.

    Features of the six axis robot printer:

    • End of arm tool to hold print pad
    • Automatic tape cleaner
    • 2 sets of independent clichés to allow set up of next part to run without stopping the current print process
    • Clichés can hold multiple artworks
    • Touch screen HMI controller display on strong arm
    • Camera vision system to detect orientation of part
    • Up to six color printing
    • Automatic pad changer with use of up to six different pads
    • In feed & out feed conveyers

    Currently the Engineered Printing Solutions team includes many highly motivated individuals with full engineering, software development and tech support. Our #1 goal is Customer Satisfaction. Our company is constantly pushing the envelope, discovering more and more ways to seamlessly incorporate pad and ink jet printing into customers’ manufacturing environments.

    For information about Engineered Printing Solutions custom solutions, standard pad printers, industrial digital ink jet, consumables and other auxiliary equipment, visit Ink Adhesion Part 3: Ink Mixing, Contamination, Blooming and Mold Release Agents, e-mail sales@www.epsvt.com or call 1-800-272-7764

  7. Pad Printing in Multiples

    Leave a Comment

    Compared to the world of manual pad printing, the world of automation is virtually unlimited, within reason. Here at Engineered Printing Solutions we have taken a standard KP05 bench mounted printer and stripped it of the software and hardware. We then completely customized it to be able to produce 8,000 pieces per hour, all the while requiring minimal operator involvement.  How do you decide if automation is right for you? Well you need to ask yourself 3 questions: How many pieces per hour do you need to print? How many colors on the image? Finally what is the size of the image? With this machine, it all starts with the Bowl Feeder which aligns the parts all the same direction and feeds them down a track to the printer, printing the parts and finishing with the items going out under an infrared heater, ensuring that the images are dry enough to continue down the production line to other operations or to packaging. However with every innovation there are obstacles which we must work through.

    Some of the technical problems that can arise are:

    • Being able to efficiently feed the parts to keep up with the printer.
    • Printing multiple images in one pad stroke can create some undesirable results. This may require custom pads.
    • Being able to efficiently process parts through the system without damaging even the most delicate part.
    • Ensuring that the printed image is dry enough to withstand downstream operations as soon as it leaves the system.

    In this case we are printing 8 pieces at a time so our engineers need to make sure that the images are being placed correctly on each of the 8 parts every time.

    For information about Engineered Printing Solutions custom solutions, standard pad printers, industrial digital ink jet, consumables and other auxiliary equipment, visit Ink Adhesion Part 3: Ink Mixing, Contamination, Blooming and Mold Release Agents, email sales@www.epsvt.com or call 1-800-272-7764

  8. Print Pad Durometer or Hardness – Same Thing

    Leave a Comment

    Albert F. Shore developed the measurement device called a durometer in the 1920s to measure material hardness. As a result of the Shore ratings, the terms hardness and durometer became interchangeable. Many pad print pad manufacturers color code the standard durometers by adding pigment to the silicone itself or by coloring the pad base. The following chart shows the durometer range for each silcone material (color) we typically recommend:

    Color                             Hardness
    Blue                                  10 – 60
    White                               20 – 65
    Red                                   30 – 75

    The harder the pad, the higher the Shore durometer rating. Three basic pad durometers are standard in the industry and cover most applications. Custom pad durometers are also available through most pad suppliers. We suggest you invest in a durometer gauge, valuable for all pad printers for determining pad hardness and quality control of pads in rotation. This simple tool is available through silicone-rubber suppliers and many general-service dealers in the screen printing and pad printing industries.

    Choosing the proper pad hardness for a job is often a combination of experimentation and experience. As a general rule, the harder the pad, the better the performance, the longer the pad life. But hard pads may be impractical in some applications. Here are some guidelines for durometer selection and maintenance:

    • Use softer pads when printing on heavily contoured surfaces or on fragile items.
    • Use a softer pad if the power of your machine can’t compress the pad sufficiently to achieve a satisfactory rolling action.
    • Use hard pads for textured surfaces, or printing an image in a recessed area where the pad must roll over a “step”.
    • Use hard pads in a pad “nest” where a number of pads are spaced with small gaps (for example, printing computer keyboards).
    • Consider a special pad for printing on abrasive substrates and textured finishes. Example applications include automobile control arms like turn-signals and windshield-wipers, when the pad must resist the abrasive nature of the substrate.
    • Avoid using pads of different durometers on the same application. The thickness of the ink deposit will vary on the substrate.

    Custom Pads – Custom Service
    Confused about durometer? Need help selecting pad durometer for a custom job? We have a full pad department to help and we don’t charge for phone calls! Click Cylindrical Printing Padsor call 800-272-7764 for our undivided attention. We are here to help you!

  9. A Long and Happy Print Pad Life

    Leave a Comment

    Our pad department asked me to investigate why a long-time customer had stopped buying our pads. The idea crossed my mind that our pad department was questioning the quality of our pads compared to an unknown competitor’s. So, since I had been planning a trip that included this particular customer, I confirmed a meeting with them.

    After our initial welcome, we sat down to talk. I asked them bluntly why they had started using another supplier for their pads without discussing their issues with us first. The customer became defensive, insisting they had not stopped ordering from us. They then brought me on a tour of the production area, where I saw the rows of machines we had supplied some years earlier, all working beautifully – with our pads.

    The real shocker was their final disclosure: they were getting about 250,000 cycles plus per pad because they had adopted our recommended method of pad rotation. Based upon the number of machines in operation, we calculated they had saved about $12,000 per year over the past 2 years because of the way in which they cared for their pads.

    I thought that I was going into this meeting to battle for this customer’s pad business. I had prepared a strategy of careful analysis and special pricing. I walked away feeling a bit silly when I realized they could have paid a lot more for our pads than we were charging and still remained a loyal customer. But I was happy that we were saving our customer money by selling a superior product and giving away solid, money-saving advice for free. We were heroes.

    This true fairy tale ends with “and they all lived happily ever after,” because this particular customer was smart enough to listen to and implement our suggestions. Please understand that these same pads can also wear out after 50,000 imprints, and pad life is very dependent on ink type, substrate and maintenance. 

    For additional information, see our previous blog Pad 101. If you’re not getting individualized attention from your supplier, call us. We even customize our service!

  10. Pad 101: Getting The Most Out Of Your Pad Printing Pad

    Leave a Comment

    The pad printing pad is one of the most important elements in the pad printing process. Image quality and ink coverage, are affected by your pad print pad. Here are some tips to help you get the best from your print pads and extend their life in the process.

    • What’s my substrate? Your substrate is your blank canvas waiting for printing. Be sure your substrate is free of oils and debris, especially sharp particles that could shorten the life of your pads
    • Why do my pads wear out and/or split? Never use excess pad pressure during printing. Adjust your down-stroke and let the ink do the work. Also, have your machine settings checked regularly. Over-compression and printing on sharp edges result in split pads. Do differentiate between normal wear & tear and damage due to problems.
    • How often do I need to clean my pad? Remove solid debris, dried ink and dust from your pads after each printing. Always use adhesive tape to remove debris, especially when the pad is dry from aggressive thinners. Never scrub, scratch or brush your pads
    • What can I use to clean pads? Try to use tape only, sticky side onto the dirtied surface. This will usually remove most dust and dirt. Only use alcohol-based pad cleaning fluid, the smallest amount required to do the job. Avoid strong solvents. Use them only for initial removal of silicone oil on the surface. After cleaning, apply rejuvenating oil to the surface before resting for at least 24 hours. This will prolong pad life.
    • How many pads do I need? Rest the pad for 24 hours in a cabinet after printing. Have an extra pad to swap out during the rest period.
    • What’s a safe environment? Always protect the pad’s print surface; store uncovered in a clean dry environment.
    • How long should a pad last? Pads should usually handle 50,000 impressions or more. With proper care, we have seen pads last longer than 100,000+ cycles.

    Next discussion: Pad shape and durometer – is it right for the job?

    Remember: Pads are costly to replace. The better you treat the pad – the longer it will last.

    Join the Conversation!  How many impressions/per pad was your record? Have you used Engineered Printing Solutions Pad Finder Wizard? Are there other tools that could help simplify your orders?  This is your forum. Teach us!