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Pad Printing - FAQs

If you are thinking of Pad Printing for your promotional work, then do talk to  the Caprice Team. They and APPA have provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

What products or surfaces work best for pad printing?

Most substrates are good for pad printing such as wood, plastic, metals and paper; different inks are available for the varied substrates in the pad printing industry.

What products or surfaces aren’t recommended or cannot be pad printed?

Textiles are generally not suitable for pad printing as the amount of ink transferred during pad printing is insufficient to show up.  Some plastics such as Delrin are designed to be impervious to ink.

What kind of life expectancy does pad printing have?

This can depend on the substrate in question. Pad printing is not recommended for metal key rings as the initial print is fine and appears to be well attached but the abrasive effect of keys knocking on the print eventually to fractures and breaks off the print. Most plastics will provide a stable substrate for the life of the product.

What is an advantage of pad printing?

The ability to print curved or unusual surfaces is the biggest advantage for pad printing.

What is a disadvantage of pad printing?

The amount of ink that is transferred meaning that textile printing is not practical.

What is the average set-up time and run length (in units) for a job?

The average set-up time is about 30 minutes.  A really difficult set-up might take 3-4 hours especially if it is a 4 or 5 colour job.
Each part of the process is approved: the print quality, the position and the colours.

Are repeat set-ups a simple task?

Repeat set-ups are just as time consuming as the original set-up.  The only advantage is that the plate is already made.

Is there a rejection rate in pad printing?

Not usually.  Most items can be cleaned and reprinted; however, there are a few products that once printed cannot be cleaned.  A stress ball is difficult to clean once printed.

What does pre-treatment mean?

Pre-treatment takes a couple of forms.  Many products end up with a film on their surface often caused during the manufacturing process.  This might be a waxy or oily film that must be removed before printing.  Often metal items with moving parts will have this because the lubricants used for these parts migrate over the product’s entire surface.  The other common pre-treatment is for polypropylene and polyethylene which must be flamed prior to printing. This is because the surface tension is lower than the tension of most adhesives so in order to get adhesion the surface tension needs to be raised.  This is done by passing a flame quickly over the product’s print area.

What is the best artwork file to supply for padprinting?

Vector files, preferably Adobe Illustrator or EPS files.

Can you print halftones and special effects?

Halftones can print very well.  Images with up to eight different half tones on the one image can be pad printed. If the base colour is the same then it is just a 1 colour effect.  Other special effects like duo tones and gradients are very achievable with pad printing.

Is unpacking and re-packing an issue with pad printing?

Unpacking and re-packing is a very important part of the process. Over the years packaging has become a strong factor in presentation of promotional products.  It is therefore important that the product after printing reaches your client looking the same as it did when it left the supplier.

Out of all the various promotional products available what is the most common product?

Pens are very popular and are a product that is perfectly suited to the pad printing process. Other popular items are thermal drink wear and IT accessories.

Are PMS colours reproduced easily and do you quote your PMS colour reproduction in Coated or Uncoated colours?

Because pad printing inks tend to be glossy, PMS colours are specified in coated.  Sometimes uncoated may be specified but it is important to realise there is often quite a difference in the colour between coated and uncoated swatches.  Because pad printing inks are very opaque Pantone PMS formulas are used as a guide but the final decision is by visual matching.

What is the best advantage of pad printing?

Pad printing is a great method for printing unusual shapes and various substrates in single or multi coloured prints with great clarity.  It is also a relatively low cost solution to decorating promotional products due to the reasonably high speed production process.

Give us a call to find your corporate solution!

Phone: 08 8352 1436

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