Business

Deconstructing various printing techniques

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Packaging is a pivotal part of the operational process, right from small grassroots projects to bigger organizations. They are several printing techniques that are suited for various purposes. Let’s get into them:

Silkscreen

It is a technology that employs the use of mesh to transfer ink to the underlying layer. Some areas are impervious to the ink by the use of a blocking stencil. It is suitable for small-scale jobs as the procedure is rather lengthy and arduous. It can be used on a variety of material like glass, wood, metal, and fabric. It is best adapted for material with less volume, owing to slow production.

They are mostly used in bottles like perfumes, shampoos, lotions, body wash, drinks, etc. It gives the bottle a sleek and classy look.

Lithography

The ink is smeared onto an aluminium printing plate with your design, which is then transferred to a rubber blanket and finally to the respective packaging. This technique is versatile in the sense that it can be used on a variety of materials like cardboard, plastic and paper. It is useful in imparting colour, provided the surface is flat like labels and foldable cartons.

Since it involves the use of high-tech, lithography is quite expensive.

Flexography

This is another modern technique of letterpress printing. It uses a flexible relief plate with fast-drying inks. It traverses through a cylinder and an ultraviolet light machine. The cylinder helps in creating high volume prints at a fast rate.

In comparison to lithography, flexography is more reasonably priced. It can be used for printing on cellophane and plastic. The packaging doesn’t necessarily have to be flat but the quality of print is relatively poor. It can also give rise to colour banding which is nothing but inaccurate presentation of colours. It is used for custom food packaging like candy and yoghurt. It can also be used for printing juice and milk cartons.

Digital

It’s the most common form of printing that can be done from the comfort of your own home. It’s less complicated but expensive in large volumes.

Rotogravure

This is good for printing elaborate designs in large volumes. The design is engraved into metallic cylinders and then onto the packaging. It is effective for printing high definition photos but heavy on the pocket.

Rotogravure works excellently well on thin materials like polyester and is frequently used for food packaging, particularly those which are laminated.

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