Ever wondered how labels and packaging are mass printed? Flexography is a unique style of printing, similar to old fashioned letterpress printing. With this style, a variety of plastics, cardboard, and fabric can be printed on at high speeds. Here is the ultimate guide on flexography and what it is used for.
What Is It?
Flexography is a rotary printing method that can roll on printed patterns at an accelerated pace. Unlike other printing methods, flexography uses a flexible printing plate that allows the ink to be printed on almost any type of flexible surface. It was originally a rubber stamp printing method, but the technology today has made this process extremely fast and effective.
One of the coolest parts of using flexo printing is that everything can be done in one operation. This includes printing, laminating, and die-cutting. If you’re looking for a way to print and seal thousands at a time, flexography is the printing process for you.
How Does It Work?
This type of printing uses four types of rollers. The most important roller is called the anilox roller, which is a hard cylinder specifically designed to transfer ink evenly onto a plate cylinder, which then transfers it to the substrate. A flexible photopolymer plate is wrapped around this, and the letters or graphics that are printed are slightly raised.
A special ink is used and must be removed by specially designed anilox cleaners once printing is completed. The most common inks are water-based or energy-curable, so they dry quickly during the printing process.
What Is Flexography Used For?
Most of the printed packaging industry use flexo printing to print packaging materials such as plastic or cardboard. Grocery bags, packaging for food and drinks and gift-wrapping paper all benefit from flexography, due to the rollers’ ability to print on flimsy material. Newspapers, envelopes, and labels are also widely printed using flexography methods.
Benefits Of Flexography
For large orders, this type of printing is ideal. Although it takes several hours to set up a printing job, the process can print, varnish, and laminate thousands in a small amount of time. It can be used to accurately print all types of materials and requires little maintenance over time. The initial cost is high, but it can be used for millions of printings.
Technological advancements have made it possible for millions of labels and other printed items to be printed in a day. Thank flexography for the customized print jobs you see on envelops, grocery bags, and wrapping paper.