Tag Archive: Engineering

  1. Tech Tip Tuesday: What Is The Difference Between A Polymer Plate And A Thin Steel Plate?

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    [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There are two major differences between a polymer plate and a thin steel plate:

    1. Etching method.
      1. Printing Plates are etched by means of a UV exposure unit whereby a series of steps are taken to burn the image to the surface of the plate while exposing the surrounding area.  Depending on the type of polymer (alcohol or water wash) the unhardened material will be washed away to leave a positive impression of the image.
      2. The Printing Plates process is similar however to get to the end result the steel must see an acid bath for the etching process.
    2. Production life.
      1. There are many different types of polymer plate materials and associated estimated production lives.  This speaks to the importance of selection of a material that is cost-effective for the anticipated production run.  There are plate materials that are rated anywhere from 10k – 15k impressions with higher end materials can provide an estimated 60k – 70k impressions.
      2. The thin steel plate material has been estimated in the 500k+ impression range for durability.

    The above factors have bearing on the cost of the material.  As you might imagine, the photosensitive polymers tend to be much cheaper, in particular on the lower end of the durability scale, while the thin steel plate’s durability tends to be a bit higher.

    Thick steel plates are another option.  Thick steel plates are usually about 10mm thick and rated for a production life of close to one million cycles.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Want to learn more about printing plates?  Drop us a line![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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

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    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. Tech Tip Tuesday: Symptoms of Having Chosen the Incorrect Pad Printing Pad

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    The pad is one of the most important elements in the pad printing process. The correct choice is essential in obtaining good final print results.

    Symptoms of having chosen the incorrect pad printing pad:

    1. Pin holing (pad too soft or too shallow),
    2. Image distortion,
    3. Incomplete transfer (in particular near the peak of the pad),
    4. Inability to pickup entire image (pad too small),
    5. Will not fit on equipment,
    6. Equipment incapable of compressing pad sufficiently for pickup, transfer or both.

    Choosing the correct pad requires some familiarity with the pad print process.  General rule of thumb:

    1. Choose as hard a pad as the process will allow.
    2. Keep the image size to no more than 80% of the print area of a given pad.
    3. When odd form printing … use a large a pad (within reason) as is possible.

    Our customer service team will help you choose the proper pad for your printing application. Some of the questions we will ask (in addition to print area, shape and surface texture) are:

    1. Thickness of the base (1/2″, 3/4″, etc.);
    2. Type of base needed (wooden is standard, or specify flat aluminum or extruded aluminum dovetail);
    3. Machining or drilling needed on base (size and location of tap holes);
    4. Overall maximum pad height, including the base;
    5. Whether the pad needs to be hollow of with a helicoil insert;
    6. How hard or soft the item is being printed (to determine pad durometer);
    7. The size “T” nut needed to attach pad to machine (if needed).
  4. Tech Tip Tuesday: What Happens If Your Plate Is Not Etched Properly?

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    Although a fairly straightforward process, there are a number of things that can affect the pad print process if your plate is not etched properly.

    Common complaints range from edge definition to ink transfer issues.  Improperly etched clichés can allow for inconsistent image opacity or even missing portions of the images in certain circumstances.

    Some keys to properly etching a cliché (but not limited to), 1. Size of the components of the image, eg. are there bold areas and small copy in a given image, 2. Orientation of image on the cliché, 3. Type of material you are etching, 4. Substrate to be printed.

  5. Unique Ink-Saver Ring

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    Have you ever run into the problem of producing a printed image with weak coverage on solid areas despite using the right amount of ink?  If you have then we have the solution for you.

    Engineered Printing Solutions’ unique Ink-Saver Ring agitates the ink as the cup slides across the cliché, allowing the ink to evenly flow and mix over the print area. The patented Fan Blade design scoops and mixes the pigment as it passes through each chamber allowing the ink to spread evenly throughout the ink cup, providing even coverage over the entire image.

    Ink Saver-Ring Figure 1 shows what normally happens to a printed image when the ink does not disperse evenly and tends to leave the sides unprinted. Solid areas can also be affected with weak print opacity.

    ­On the other hand, Figure 2 shows the difference when using the Ink-Saver Ring. The image prints evenly while using the same volume of ink – 25 grams in the cup.

    Another issue for most decorators is the waste associated with bi-component inks.  When using the Ink-Saver Ring, less ink can be mixed and more ink can be used, resulting in less ink waste at the end of the day. Over time, this adds up to significant cost savings for any print shop.

    The Ink-Saver Ring is available for all Engineered Printing Solutions’ cup sizes, as well as for other vendor’s closed cup systems.

    For information about Engineered Printing Solutions’ standard pad printers, industrial ink jet, custom solutions, consumables and other auxiliary equipment, visit www.epsvt.com, email info@epsvt.com or call 1-800-272-7764.