since 1986

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Pad Printing

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Frequently asked questions

How long does it take for the inks to dry once the product is printed?  

Almost instant. These are fast drying inks and the product is "Touch dry" almost immediately once printed. However, a further 24 hours of air drying may be required for the inks to cure properly.

Is it necessary to invest in a curing oven?

No. If required, you may use a hair dryer, heat gun or a normal domestic oven.


How long does one have to wait to print the second colour using your two colour systems?

You can print the second colour almost instantly. In pad printing, you can print 'wet on wet" without smudging as the inks are very fast drying.


Can I use ink "neat" straight out of a ink pot?

No. Ink has to be mixed with Retarder to obtain the correct viscosity.   Inks generally have to be thinned down to the same sort of viscosity at motor oil. Once the ink is flowing freely onto the cliche and scraping away cleanly with the doctor blade/ceramic ring, you are more likely to get a good quality print.                             

Can I reuse any left over ink again at some other time?  

Yes, providing you have not mixed "Hardener" into the ink. In such circumstances, the shelf life of ink is around 72 hours only. If no hardener is mixed with the ink, then ink may be kept and reused many weeks later.


Can I achieve Pantone colours?

Yes, you can - by correctly mixing the right amount of inks. You can also mix standard ink colour to achieve other shades (e.g mix red and white ink to get pink)             

Can I achieve a " Sparkling effect" using Pad Printing inks?  

Yes, by mixing sparkling silver ink with any standard colour of ink.                                      

Can I print onto all types of plastics?  

The answer is generally, Yes. However, some plastics require "Corona" or "Flame" treatment before ink will adhere to the product. An example of such plastic is "Polypropylene". However, most plastics used in the promotional printing industry are very easy to print onto and do not require any pre-treatment.


Will the print scratch off once the product is printed?

Generally, No. However, when printing onto Glass, Metal, Ceramics and some other products, you will need to add "Hardener" to the ink to stop the print from scratching off.


How long do Pads last?

If you have taken care in their use, they can last for many years.       

If I damage a Pad, can it be repaired?  

Generally, Yes. However, if it is in the "Image area", then, No.   

Can I use one Pad to print onto a number of different objects?  

Generally, Yes. However, depending on the shape and print area of a product, you may need to select the correct size and shape of pad for the job in hand. If you are looking to print onto promotional products generally, then you will not need to stock up on too many pads as a few carefully selected pads will suffice. We can give you expert guidance on this matter.


Can I print all the way around an object?   

No, not with Pad Printing. However you can print around partial curved surfaces.


Can I achieve very fine work with your Pad Station Machines?

Yes, providing your artwork and Cliché are of good quality. Furthermore, correct viscosity of ink is important in achieving a good quality print. If all these factors are perfect, then you will not have any problem in producing fine text and/or logos.


How long does a Doctor Blade last?  

The ceramic ring on the closed cup systems also are very durable, however, great care must be taken not to damage them in anyway. If they are damaged, they will need to be replaced.


Does your machines have a "Pressure adjustment stop"?  

Yes - our machines have all necessary stops to take out the guesswork in their operation.        

Are Clichés clamped down on your machines?

On the closed cup systems, the cliches are clamped down and on the open ink systems they are held by magnets.


Are we able to adjust the Pads in "XYZ" coordinates on your machines?                

Yes, you can - on all of our machines.


What is the maximum size of object that can be placed on the "Print bed"?  

With its very unique design, our range of Pad Station machines will enable you to print a product of virtually and width. Traditional vertical systems on the other hand often limit the width of a product to 4" .

Are Pad Station machines faster than others?

Yes, they are. The number of steps on our Pad Station Machines have been reduced from 3 to 2 (ie. Inking, Doctoring and Printing). Further, our machines only require one hand operation rather than two.


How good does my artwork have to be to make a Cliché?  

Your artwork must be very solid so as not to allow any UV light to pass through to the Cliché. Your artwork should be produced using a good quality laser printer with a minimum of 1200 dpi. REMEMBER: Poor artwork = Poor Cliché = Poor Printing.

Do I produce artwork onto normal paper?

No. You would need to use either "Acetate" or transparent artwork sheets for output.   

Do I simply print out my artwork on acetate or transparent sheet as normal?  

No. You would need to print your artwork out in "Mirror image". Most DTP programmes these days will have this under "Options" when you go to your "Print page" The side on which the toner is applied is known as "Emulsion side".

Can I reuse the same artwork for making a same Cliché?

 Yes, you can.


Do I need a Cliché for every job - no matter how simple?

Yes, without any exception. Depending on the size of your artwork, it is sometimes possible to incorporate several jobs onto one Cliché. This would save you time and money.

How long will a Polymer Cliché last?

Generally, it is estimated that around 5000 impressions can be achieved from each Cliché.           

Are there any chemicals needed to make Polymer Clichés using your systems?  

No, none at all. Our Clichés are water washable and no chemicals are used in the process.   

My print is not clear, is the machine faulty?

The answer is almost 100% No.  Manual  pad printing machines are a simple mechanical device  and as long as that device is moving freely, the machine is considered as working. The same goes for the semi-automatic machine; as long as it’s mechanisms are moving as they should (i.e. moving pad up and down and back and forth etc.), the machine is considered to be working as it should be.

With pad printing, the print quality depends on a numbers of factors which are not in our control and are thus in control of the operator/user - e.g  using good quality artwork, making a  good quality plate, mixing inks correctly, ambient conditions etc etc. With your purchase, you will be given a troubleshooting guide which would give you some indication where you might be going wrong if your desired print quality is not as expected. Most people are able to rectify such issues by following our troubleshooting guide.

On top of this, we are of course always available to offer you further assistance by e-mail or phone, totally free of charge.

Can I start printing immediately?

If you have purchased our package, then you should be able to start printing immediately. However, please note, if you have never done pad printing before, then there is a learning curve involved and it will take time some time to perfect. Therefore, please do not expect to get instant results or work to impossible deadlines without first having perfected the pad printing process.