What is Pad Printing?

Short answer:
Pad Printing is a printing method that uses a silicone print pad to pick up ink from an etched cliche (plate), and transfer it to a part. Unlike with Screen Printing or Heat Transfer, Pad Printing lays down a very thin layer of ink, which makes the print soft on touch and cuts down per-label cost.

The Physics of Pad Printing
The transfer of ink relies on the evaporation of solvent, which is contained in the ink mixture. The side of the ink that is exposed to air gets tackier than the other side. Hence the ink first sticks to the print pad and is released from the plate, and then sticks to the part and is released from the pad.

The flexibility of the print pad allows printing an image – without any distortion – onto a variety of surfaces: porous, grooved, rounded or irregular-shaped.

History
Pad Printing was invented at the beginning of the 20th century and has been widely used since for printing promotional products, automotive and industrial parts, medical equipment, sporting goods, and toys. Since 2008, Pad Printing is becoming the gold standard for Tagless garments and footwear production.

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