Tag Archive: PPMOVT

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

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    [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!

    Want to learn more about pad printing?  Contact our Sales Team:

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  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.

  6. All Fired Up: Pad Printing Glassware

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    Most glassware has some kind of discernible shape. Logically, pad printing emerges as a natural choice in glass decorating and printing. The more complex the shape, the more suitable pad printing becomes as a decorating process.

    With the right tooling, multicolor prints, special-effects inks, and even 360 degree wrap-of-image-around-circumference are possible. Automated parts-handling options can further speed production rates.

    There are two primary inks used in pad printing glassware: frit inks and acrylic inks.

    Acrylic inks
    Acrylic inks are mixed with a catalyst hardener as well as with a solvent thinner, which allows the ‘tack-up’ and transfer from cliché to pad to part. A post-print bake is usually recommended (3-5 minutes at about 200 degrees F) to improve the durability of the print. The bi-component ink mixture typically has a ‘pot life’ of 6-8 hours, after which time the ink hardens on its own, rendering it unusable for any further printing.

    Acrylic inks are fairly durable, providing at least 50 wash cycles in your average home dishwasher.

    Frit inks
    For greater durability, a frit ink is the way to go.

    Frit inks contains:

    1. Finely ground glass particles in the ink mixture (very small, only a few microns in size)
    2. A pigment (the colorant)
    3. A binder, which is a carrier used to keep the ingredients in suspension
    4. A thinner, the solvent which facilitates the silicone pad transfer process.

    Different frit suppliers recommend different combinations of the above four components. There are no pot life issues to consider when using frit inks.

    After printing with the frit ink, the printed ware is fired in a kiln, typically at about 1100 degrees F on average for up to 30 minutes. The ground-glass particles come very close to their melt point; the organic ingredients in the print burn off, and a physical bond is created between the print and the product. Frit inks are generally considered the most durable of all glassware prints, capable of lasting a lifetime and providing tremendous abrasion resistance.

    Have you had glassware decorating challenges? Feel free to contact us for advice on the best options for all types of pad printing on glassware.

  7. Print Pad Durometer or Hardness – Same Thing

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    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!

  8. A Long and Happy Print Pad Life

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    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!

  9. The Different Pad Shapes

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    Choosing the right print pad for a pad printing job is not an easy decision. Five key pad characteristics (shape, durometer, size, surface finish and material) affect the quality of the printed image. But shape is the most important variable in selecting a pad, so let’s discuss why in today’s blog.

    The Different Pad Shapes
    Pad suppliers offer many pad shapes in their standard inventory, but most are based on three basic shapes:

    • Cylindrical
    • Rectangular
    • Linear

    Although hundreds of pad shapes are available, most are based on these three shapes.

    Each of these shapes could have either curved or flat printing surfaces, depending on the part to be printed. But regardless of what shape the pad has, it must “roll” onto both the cliché and substrate for good printing results. If at all possible, avoid flat-bottomed pads that have a tendency to trap air as it contacts the cliché.

    Air trapped between the pad and the cliché, or between the pad and the substrate, can cause print distortion and pin-holes, a result of uneven ink pickup or imprint. To produce a quality print image, the pad surface must roll onto the cliché picking up the ink, and use the same rolling action depositing the ink onto the image area. The better the roll, the more ink that is transferred. The shape of the pad largely determines how well the pad will roll. This is what makes shape the most important variable in selecting a pad.

    Ordering Custom Pads
    For very unusual parts and imaging needs, sometimes custom pads are a good choice, combining two different profiles on one pad. They are expensive and must be carefully designed and tested to avoid print distortion. For more information, Cylindrical Printing Padshere or call 800-272-7764 to discuss if this is a viable choice for you.

  10. Pad Printing Tips: Production Speed

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    You’re not ready to invest in faster equipment yet. Still, you wish you could increase your number of imprints by end of day. A simple way for pad printers to increase their production speed, which in turn increases print volume, is to change your operating speed.

    Here’s one way  how:

    Maximizing Speed Means Minimizing Strokes

    1. Minimize your stroke by increasing the base height of the pad so the pickup stroke on the cliché starts from about 10mm or less above the cliché.

    2. Then bring the part fixture as close to the pad surface as possible to minimize the print stroke as well.

    3. Make sure that the end-of-cylinder stroke dampeners are open enough to do some cushion work, but not so much that they slow down the stroke of the cylinder.

    This concept applies to all pad printers. The closer the pad begins from the surface of the substrate, the faster they will connect and move on.

    Keep Your Part-Loading Area Clear

    Try to design your tooling so that the part being printed is slid into a cavity, thus preventing the pad on the print side from causing a loading obstruction. PPMOVT has machines where this is not an issue. The clichés move back and forth and the pad, in its stopped position, is back away from the print surface.

    Follow these tips and you’ll find your business with extra product by day’s end.