Information print techniques
The majority of the business gifts and promotional products in our range are printed in our own print shop within our head office in the Netherlands. Here there are more than 80 advanced printing machines, operated by our expert printing team. Each material type requires a different printing method. How does this method work and how will your item be printed? Below you will find the diverse printing methods, used for various materials, with a brief explanation.
Pad printing is an indirect way of printing in which the ink is transferred by means of a silicon pad (tampon). The great advantage of this printing technique is that the pad is flexible and adjusts itself to the object on which you wish to print. This means that it is possible to print on round, hollow and other curved objects, for example. Set-up costs are charged for pad printing because the machine must be set-up/adjusted and because a flat plate with layers must be created (cliché). These layers are filled with ink that is absorbed by the pad. The top layer, which will have dried a little, becomes a bit sticky which makes the ink stick to the pad. Then while the pad moves towards the product, the wetter side also dries and becomes sticky. Ultimately, the ink is applied to the item because the silicone pad has ink-resistant qualities.
Screen-printing is a printing technique used for graphics as well as for industrial purposes. Textile can be printed with this technique, but also print plates and solar cells. For screen-printing a fine piece of mesh is stretched over a frame provided with a layer of photo-emulsion. The logos that you want to print are laid on the frame during exposure so that the dark surfaces can be washed out after exposure. These washed surfaces are permeable areas on the screening frame through which the ink is pushed. When the ink has been applied to the frame it is brushed over the fine mesh with a squeegee. The ink goes through the mesh in the washed areas and is pushed onto the item.
Laser engraving is a popular technique for providing promotional products or corporate gifts with a logo or even an individual’s name (personalisation). The laser engraving machine is controlled by a computer on which the logo or text must be programmed. This computer-controlled laser is very precise so that laser engraving of relatively small and fine designs is also possible. The advantage of laser engraving your commercial item is that the engraving is scratch-resistant and has a chic look. Laser engraving cannot be done in colour. The colour depends on the material and the under-layer of the material because the laser removes the upper layer making the under-layer visible.
CO² Laser engraving
Laser engraving is a popular technique for providing promotional products or corporate gifts with a logo or even an individual’s name (personalisation). The laser engraving machine is controlled by a computer on which the logo or text must be programmed. This computer-controlled laser is very precise so that laser engraving of relatively small and fine designs is also possible. The advantage of laser engraving your commercial item is that the engraving is scratch-resistant and has a chic look. With the CO² laser technology, different materials can be highly detailed engraved. Examples are to include engraving on stone, glass, plastics, ceramics, leather and woods.Laser engraving cannot be done in colour. The colour depends on the material and the under-layer of the material because the laser removes the upper layer making the under-layer visible.
Sublimation printing is a printing technique in which a digitally printed image is gass ified into the material by means of a heat press. The special sublimation dyes have a special quality that turns them from a solid state to a gas at a certain temperature without going through a liquid state. Sublimation printing is only possible with polyester, which opens up at a certain temperature so that the dye can be absorbed into the material. When cooling down the material seals the dye making the print extremely wash-proof. The image is not on the surface, but rather part of the surface.
Stickers are digitally printed in CMYK. PMS colours are approximated as closely as possible. The logo, text or image is digitally printed on self-adhesive vinyl and then the stickers are cut into the desired shape. The stickers can be equipped with a laminated layer. This layer provides additional protection from fading and scratching. The stickers can be supplied loose or sheets.
With digital printing it is possible to print a full-colour logo straight onto an item. Printing gradient fills and colour transitions are no problem at all. The digital printing technique is already fully incorporated in conventional offset printing work. The technique is also becoming increasing popular for printing corporate gifts. With digital printing, the colours of the digital file are transformed into CMYK colour values. The advantage of digital printing is that you can print relatively fast in full colour, even when printing small quantities. However, it is not always possible to print exact PMS colours such as is possible with pad and screen-printing. Colours composed from CMYK can deviate marginally from the PMS values in your colour palette.
Foil printing is a printing technique that uses no ink, that is why it's also known as dry stamping. With pressure there is a blind relief provided in the material. By the use of foil the blind relief gets a nice glossy finish which gives the product a chic look.
Blind embossing is a printing technique that doesn’t use ink, which is why it is also called embossed stamping. Blind embossing creates a relief in the material, which gives the item a chic look.
Digital transfer imprint
Transfer printing is a printing technique that is extremely suitable for multi coloured detailed prints. With a colour printer the print is applied in CMYK on a substrate (Flex). This substrate is provided with an adhesive layer with which the print will be applied on , for example, a shirt or bag (referred to as transfer). With a press and under high temperatures the product and print will be pressed against each other. Because of the heat the ink releases of the transfer paper and adheres to the product. In digital transfers we use a digital logo (CMYK). The disadvantage is that PMS colours can only be approximated. The advantage is that, no matter out how many colours your logo of file is built and even pictures, can be printed at the product in a very good quality. Another advantage is that there is no need to make films. This makes the technique suitable for smaller orders.
Ceramic transfer pressure
A special form of transfer printing is the ceramic transfer. Transfer sheets are provided with a silk screen printing, with special ceramic inks. In this screen printing transfer the imprint will be transfered to the transfer paper colour by colour. The printed transfer sheets are manually cut to the right size and manually disposed on porcelain, pottery and various glassware. Then the products go into the oven and the logo is burned at a temperature between 500 to 1300 °C. The result? A dishwasher-proof imprint.
Domed stickers are vinyl stickers with a full-colour print on which a layer of artificial resin is poured. This creates a spherical sticker that is scratch-resistant and has a fancy look. The domed stickers can be produced in nearly any shape and size and—thanks to an extensive variety of foils and printing techniques—almost any effect is possible. The domed stickers are waterproof, colour-proof, UV-proof, self-adhesive and durable.
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact us at:
+31 (0)492 530 230 (opening hours 8.30 - 5.00)