Things You May Not Know About Printing On Plastic

July 27, 2018 9:47 am Published by

Platex prints on plastic as it is an excellent base to use for printed material, especially packaging. Plastic is durable and it gives the printed product a sophisticated and contemporary look. One of the main benefits of printing on plastic is that these items can be placed almost anywhere because they work well in environments with limited lighting and high humidity. This means more opportunities to get your brand out there and be front-of-mind with customers.

While there are many benefits and opportunities when it comes to printing on plastic, attention also needs to be paid to some unique issues. We highly recommend that you speak to us before you start your project to make sure that your products carry the best environmental attributes and look great!

Here are some points you may not know about printing on plastic:

The Purpose of Your Print Determines How It Should Be Printed

This is extremely important when it comes to printing on plastic. You have selected plastic because of its durability and its tolerance of different environmental conditions such as high heat, cold temperatures or wet environments. With this in mind, be sure to consider the function required from the printed material and where you are intending to display it, as this will help you to determine the most appropriate materials that should be used for the project to get the best results.

All Plastic Runs Are Unique and Use Custom Sizes and Inks

Have you ever noticed that restaurants use printed menus as a necessary part of their business operations, but that there is no standard industry size, material or design that is used? This goes for products printed on plastic too because not all plastics are the same and they do not all provide the same results. Your printed plastics supplier should inform you that each run is customised and bespoke to your product and that it will take extra time for your project to be completed because the printer will need to order the right materials to run the print. It could take 4-8 weeks to produce your print projects, depending on the level of complication of the design, so be sure to consider the time it will take to produce your final print material when you are planning your project.

Treatments are Used to Allow You to Write on Plastic

Have you ever tried to use a marker pen to write on plastic and it just globulises, never dries and is easily smudged or wipe off? So how do commercial printers print successfully on the same plastic? Maybe you thought it was special ink? Well it’s not. The printers treat the surface of the plastic to increase the adhesion of the ink. Platex uses a system called corona treatment to modify the surface of the plastic thus allowing the inks to stick to the surface and not globulise or run. We then dry the ink with a heating system before we roll it up at the end of the machine. This all happens at high speed on the printing machine, allowing rolls and rolls of plastic to be printed in a relatively short space of time.

How We Do It

Platex uses the flexographic method of printing on plastic as it is high speed, has high definition and allows very complex images to be successfully printed on the plastic surface. The ‘flex’ is derived from the flat, flexible printing plates we use which are made of photopolymer. The platemaker creates the required image on the plate and this plate is then mounted on a cylinder in the Platex printing machine. The roll of plastic is unwound and then fed over the rotating printing plate which is now covered with ink. In this way, a continuously-repeating image is printed onto the plastic, which is then wound up at the end of the machine.

There are two types of flexographic printing presses, and Platex uses both types depending on the print design. The simpler type is a line printer that uses single colours to print words or images on the plastic. Tone printing on the other hand allows the entire palette of colours to be printed in any form in an almost photographic image. The quality and realism of this type of printing is dependent on the original image design, the technology of the plate and the printing machine, and of course the skill of the Printer Operator.

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This post was written by @dmin2018

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