To print on plastic, companies can either choose from a variety of printing techniques. In this case, we will talk about pad printing on plastic and UV inkjet printing on plastic.
Pad printing on plastic:
Pad printing on plastic is accomplished by using a specialized pad printing ink, pad printing machine, pad printing pad, ink cup/ring, pad printing cliche and other materials. A pad printing machine is almost like an automated stamp. Once the pad printer is setup properly, the ink cup (which contains the ink) doctors the plate (cliche), sliding back and removing excess ink from the etch (artwork). While the ink cup is sliding back, the pad printing pad is sliding back as well. Once over the etch, the pad printing pad will press down, pick up the ink in the shape of the artwork and then move forward. After it has moved forward, the printing pad will compress down onto the product, leaving the print behind. This process is repeated as many times as needed.
This process is for 1-to 6-color logos and graphics.
UV inkjet printing on plastic:
UV inkjet printing on plastic requires a UV printer. UV printers come in different styles depending on your application. For example, if you are printing on drinkware, a cylindrical inkjet printer is the best option. For anything flat or slightly curved, a UV flatbed printer or a conveyorized UV inkjet printer is the best option. With a UV inkjet printer, you are using a UV/LED ink in a CMYKW arrangement to print full-color images and graphics. Cyan, magenta, yellow, black and white are arranged in a particular pattern to recreate digital images. Once the product is printed, a UV light cures the ink and it is ready to be delivered.
To learn more about printing on plastic, read the article: What do you need to print on plastic?