If you’re a business owner offering printing services, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered some request for custom printing on plastic at some point. After all, plastic is durable, versatile, and easy to print on. It is an ideal material for marketing materials like business cards and signs. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you print on plastic.
Factors to Consider
First, it’s important to choose the right type of plastic. There are many different types of plastics available, and each one has its own unique properties. You’ll need to consider the durability of the plastic, thickness, and printability before you make your final decision.
Once you’ve chosen the right type of plastic, you’ll need to prepare it for printing. This usually involves cleaning the surface and making sure it’s free of any dirt or debris. Once the surface is prepared, you can begin printing.
When printing on plastic, it’s important to use a high-quality printer and inks. This will help ensure that your prints are sharp and vibrant. Finally, once your prints are complete, you’ll need to protect them from UV light and moisture. These simple tips will help you get the best results when printing on plastic.
Materials for Plastic Printing
There are various plastics that you can use. PVC (polyvinyl chloride), polycarbonate, and PETG are all popular choices. Each of these materials has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right one for your project.
PVC is tough and durable, making it ideal for applications where the print will be subject to wear and tear. However, it can be difficult to work with and doesn’t always produce the highest quality prints.
Polycarbonate is more expensive than PVC. It’s easier to work with and produces better results. This material is also more resistant to heat, making it a good choice for projects that require high temperatures.
PETG is similar to polycarbonate in terms of price and quality, but it’s more flexible, making it ideal for applications where flexibility is required.
Examples of these materials
- plastic containers
- Plastic bag
- Plastic sheets
Methods for Plastic Printing
One of the great things about plastic is that it can be printed on using a variety of methods. Whether you’re looking to add a bit of branding to your product or simply want to create some custom packaging, there’s a printing method that will suit your needs. There are a few different methods that can be used for printing on plastic.
Digital printing on plastic is a process that uses inkjet technology to print high-quality images onto plastic surfaces. It is a relatively new technology that has only become widely available in the last few years.
Unlike traditional printing methods, digital printing does not require the use of a printing plate. This allows for shorter turnaround times and lower costs. In addition, digital printing offers a higher degree of flexibility, as it can be used to produce short runs of custom-printed products.
As the name implies, digital printing on plastic relies on digital files to create the desired images. These files are typically created using graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Once the file is created, it is sent to the printer via a USB cable or other means.
The printer then creates the image by firing tiny droplets of ink onto the plastic surface. The ink used in digital printing on plastic is specially formulated to adhere to non-porous surfaces. As a result, it can be used to create high-resolution prints that are resistant to fading and smudging.
Another option is laser printing, which uses a high-powered laser to etch the design onto the plastic. This method is often used for more intricate designs, as it allows for more precision than inkjet printing.
This method involves using a stencil to apply the ink onto the surface of the plastic. Screen printing is often used for larger designs, as it is not as time-consuming as other methods.
UV Litho Printing
This uses ultraviolet light to cure inks and coatings. This printing method is typically used for high-quality printing applications such as packaging, labels, and product graphics.
UV litho printing offers several benefits over traditional printing methods, including higher print quality, greater durability, and faster production times. In addition, this method is more eco-friendly than traditional methods. It does not use solvents or other hazardous materials.
This allows for the transfer of a 2-D image onto a 3-D object. It is often used for promotional golf balls, rulers, and bottles. The process begins with the creation of a negative image on a photopolymer plate.
This negative image is then transferred to a silicone printing pad, which picks up the ink from the plate and transfers it to the object. The advantage of pad printing is that it can print on objects of almost any shape or size.
The process results in a durable print that can resist fading, making them perfect for long-term use.
This uses a flexible relief plate to transfer an image onto a substrate. It is commonly used for packaging applications such as bags, labels, and wrappers. Flexographic printing has several advantages over other printing methods.
These advantages include high speeds, low costs, and the ability to print on a variety of substrates. In addition, flexographic printing plates can be easily changed. This flexibility makes it an ideal choice for businesses that need to frequently update their packaging.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to print finished plastic bags, hot stamping is the way to go. Hot stamping uses heat and pressure to transfer ink from a foil onto the surface of a substrate.
It’s a great choice for printing plastic bags because it’s fast, efficient, and produces high-quality results. To hot stamp, simply pass them through a hot stamp machine. The machine will do the rest, imprinting your design onto the surface of the bag in a matter of seconds.
Best of all, hot stamping is an affordable printing method, so you can get the professional results you want without breaking the bank.
Machines for Printing on Plastic
There are a few different machines that can do this job.
- Rotogravure printer uses an engraved metal cylinder to transfer ink onto the plastic surface. It is ideal for large-scale production runs due to its precision and high speeds.
- A Flexographic printer uses a flexible rubber plate to transfer ink onto the plastic for medium-size production runs due to its good balance of speed and quality.
- Thermal transfer printers use heat to transfer ink onto the plastic surface for small-scale production runs due to their good print quality.
- A laser printer is typically very fast and can print at high resolutions, making them ideal for high-quality prints but quite expensive to purchase and maintain. A standard office laser printer can print on plastic to some extent.
- Inkjet printers are generally more affordable than laser printers, but may not always produce as high-quality a print.
How to Choose the Right Machine for Plastic Printing
Although there are many different types of machines that can be used for plastic printing, not all of them are created equal. When choosing a machine for your business, it is important to consider its speed, precision, and durability.
Additionally, you will need to determine what type of printing process you will be using. The most common types of plastic printing processes are thermoforming, injection molding, and extrusion.
Each of these processes has its own unique set of requirements, so it is important to select a machine that is specifically designed for the type of printing you will be doing. With so many factors to consider, selecting the best machine for your business can be a daunting task.
However, by taking the time to do your research, you can be sure to find a machine that will meet your specific needs and help your business to run smoothly.
Common Challenges for Plastic Printing
One of the most common challenges associated with plastic printing is that they often have a very smooth surface. This can make it difficult for proper ink adhesion, resulting in smudging or smearing.
In addition, some plastics are more absorbent than others. The ink can soak into the material and can cause fading. Plastic material can sometimes be uneven, making it difficult to get a consistent print.
Finally, some plastics may be sensitive to heat, meaning that they can warp or melt when exposed to high temperatures during the printing process. These challenges can be tricky to overcome. But, with careful planning and execution, you can produce high-quality prints on a variety of plastic materials.
Designs Possible with Printing on Plastic
The possibilities are endless when printing on plastic. In terms of graphics, you can pretty much print anything you want – from simple text to complex images. In terms of design, you can go for a more traditional look or something more modern and eye-catching.
If you’re looking for something truly unique, you can even have your design custom-made. Printing on plastic is a great way to add personality to your products and make them stand out from the competition. So if you’re looking for a way to give your products a boost, consider printing on plastic.
If you’re looking for a versatile printing material that is both durable and easy to work with, plastic may be the perfect option for you. Keep in mind, however, that there are a few specific points that you should know before you offer this service to your clients.
Our team of experts can help you navigate these waters and ensure that your business offers the best possible printing services on plastic and marking machines perfect for such service.
Finally some information on printing on plastic. Thank you. I see a potential marketdue to request I cant accommodate , ie NAMES AND LOGOS on various plastic items : Baby bottles, school lunch boxes , water bottels , spice bottles. pens etc. Small items but a large untapped market. I am a small business in a small town. Can you give me advice on a printer and the cost involved.
Thanks for your message! My colleague Poppy will contact you soon!