Pad printing has gained popularity over other types of printing such as screen-printing and hot stamping owing to its capacity to print in areas where other methods are inadequate. This type of printing dates back over two centuries, with the first hand transfer printing being done using a soft gelatin matter in transferring the image. The transfer plates were crafted from copper and engraved by hand. These plates were used in transferring images on plates and other dinnerware. The first real industrial application was not until fifty years later when the tool was used to imprint watch faces. The old plate was to change over time giving way to photo chemically printing plates etched on hardened steel. This was later to be developed by a German firm, which gave us the first multi colour printer. It has continued to undergo transformation, with each step aiming to be a tool that gives the desired results efficiently and effectively.
Despite having been in place for more than two hundred years, pad printing is still not well known but it is widely used in printing items that are used on a daily basis. It is found on electronic components such as connectors, relays, chips, and cables among others. It is widely used in printing computers, calculators, telephones buttons and keys. Pad printing can be found in household appliances such television sets, and iron boxes. Large industrial appliances, toys, and sporting goods such as balls and advertising specialties are some of the items where pad printing comes in handy.
Pad printing is a preferred method as it offers unique possibilities especially when it comes to printing on irregular surfaces and shapes. These are areas where other types of printing are limited. Screen-printing is mainly used on flat and round surfaces, when it comes to oddly shaped surfaces, the method is limited.
This method of printing offers the user the same versatility as would be obtained with both screen printing and hot stamping, this is more so when taking into consideration the variety of substrates that need to be decorated. Almost all the known materials can be printed using this method and get the desired results.
When it comes to printing fine subjects, pad printing performs far better than others, it gives a better resolution than the screen printing.
It offers high resistance, however, this depends in the type of ink that is used, and on some surfaces, and it offers protection against chemical and mechanical abrasion.
It is easy to work on, especially when it comes to surfaces that need multi-color printing; pad printing can apply multiple prints without requiring intermediate drying. This makes the process quick, leading to shorter tooling times.
Perhaps what makes pad printing popular over other methods is its relatively cheaper cost. It does not require high set up cost; plates can be readily produced in-house. The low space requirement when compared to machines used in other types of printing makes it preferred, especially in industries, which are trying to maximize space. The method also performs pretty well when it comes to integration with other complex systems such as inline production. There is a great success record when it comes to combination of the system with assembly lines and molding equipment.
Pad printing is all over the world as we know it; we are surrounded by items and equipment which have been finished using this technique. Right from our computers, to smartphones, Television sets and sportswear, these are just some of the items where you can find this type of printing.