What is the difference between pad printing and screen printing?

Pad printing and screen printing both offer great solutions for printing on face masks, tagless garments, silicone, promotional products and other goods. They both utilize a solvent based ink to achieve 1- to 6-color graphics on these products. 

Screen Printing

Screen printing is advantageous when it comes to printing brighter graphics on dark apparel and face masks. While this advantage is a win for many, the process for achieving this is a downside for others. First, making a single screen for screen printing tagless labels can take up to an hour per color. This process is great for those who are constantly printing the same graphics but is a downside to those who are looking to mix up their product line to appeal to more customers. Second, the overall footprint needed in screen printing is much larger. Screen printing face masks and apparel is a messy process and ink will get everywhere. Ensuring you have a large enough room to maintain this area is necessary. Additionally, there are many consumables needed that are wasted in large quantities at the end of the day. Screen printing is not considered a sustainable process. Finally, once the product has been screen printed, drying is necessary. What many do not realize is that each piece (including tagless labels) that are printed need to be dried, which adds more time to the overall process. 

Listen to our Global Tagless Director discuss Sustainability in the Printing Industry

Pad Printing

Pad printing is the complete solution for labeling and printing on apparel, face masks, silicone and other hard goods. Many believe pad printing does not achieve a bright white on dark fabrics, which is a downside for tagless label printing. However, Inkcups has recently develop the Brite Care Labeling printing Machine for Dark Fabrics, which achieves that bright color many desire. With pad printing, a plate or cliche is developed to hold the artwork. It can take as little as 2 minutes to etch a plate using a laser plate-maker for each graphic. This saves value time and produces an overall quicker-to-market production workflow. The pad printing ink is mixing and put into a non-stick ink cup which contains the mixture for an overall better process and less mess. This helps to achieve a more sustainable process that our world desperately needs. 

Download our Tagless Pad Printing Guide to easily get started

While our line-up of pad printing inks are great for tagless label printing, printing on face masks, silicone printing, promotional products printing and more, our inks are also made for screen printing. Whichever process you choose, it must make sense to your production as well as your overall business goals. 

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